The Siddhivinayak Temple Trust proposes to patent the mahaprasad laddus that it sells to devotees, who visit the city’s most popular shrine to Lord Ganesh.
The laddus are specially prepared by the temple kitchen and offered to the diety, after which they are made available as a sacred food item to devotees. The mahaprasad is sold at Rs10 for two laddus in a box that is labelled “Siddhivinayak Mahaprasad”.
“We are looking to get the patent rights under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999,” said Mangesh Shinde, chief executive officer of the temple trust.
“We have already appointed a consultant for this purpose and we expect to complete the registration within six months.”
The geographical indications or GI tag ensures that none other than those registered as authorised users (those residing within the geographical territory) are allowed to use the product name.
The prasad is sold to the tens of thousands of devotees who throng the Siddhivinayak Temple in Prabhadevi, central Mumbai, daily. While an estimated 40,000 people visit the shrine daily, the crowd swells to between one lakh and 1.5 lakh on Tuesdays the weekly auspicious day. On Tuesdays during the festival season, the number of devotees visiting the temple can climb to even two lakh.
The huge demand for the laddus has spawned a thriving retail market, with several sweetmeat makers selling similar laddus.
On festival occasions, the spurt in demand can result in blackmarketing. However, once the temple trust secures the registration, local sweetmeat makers and outlets will not be allowed to sell laddus with the “Siddhivinayak Mahaprasad” label.
The temple kitchen has a staff of 36 trained people who makes about 40,000 laddus daily and this can go up to 65,000 on Tuesdays, the weekly auspicious day. The laddus are made from chana dal, ghee, sugar, groundnut and cardamom. The temple trust says that the ingredients are pure and tested by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Besides, the guarantee of purity, the temple laddus are blessed, which is not the case with the laddus that are also passed of as prasad by the shops in the temple area. “Laddus available in the shops are simply laddus, but the ones from the temple are prasad. That is a big difference,” said Shinde.
On “angarki”, which is observed twice in the year, crowds estimated at between 15 lakh and 30 lakh visit the temple.
Several politicians and even celebrities like Amtabh Bachchan and Sachin Tendulkar have made visits to the temple.