Spiritual salvation aside, here’s why you should tuck into these relatively lesser, yet famed temple treats around South India, besides the holy grail of temple food -  the Tirupathi laddoo  -  whether you’re an atheist, agnostic or a firm believer.   


1. Salt-free Blessings:  


What makes the Oppillapan / Uppiliappan Temple near Kumbakonam unique is that the food offered here is salt-free, and this includes sweet and savoury prasads including rava and the thicker broken wheat kesaris.  Legend has it that Lord Venkatashwara chose to forgo salt in his food because the woman he married was very young and inexperienced in matters of the kitchen and would often fail to add salt in the food she cooked. In a gesture of husbandly compassion, the Lord decided to go salt-free.  


2. Of Milk and Sugar: 

Who would’ve thought a shrewd game of chess, would lead to this delicious payasam in the making? At the famous Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple near Allepey, their signature blessed offering is the paal payasam. Not having it is tantamount to sacrilege. Laden with cashew nuts, and made from rice, milk and sugar, this payasam is, well, divine.  There are two things that set this payasam apart: one, this payasam is always at a premium. You need to pre-order it prior to the temple visit; and two, the water used to cook the rice for this payasam is taken from the temple’s in-house well. Divinity in every bite, wouldn’t you say so?


3. Spherical globes of Goodness:  

Dedicated to the elephant god, Ganesha, The Kottarakkara Sreemahaganapathi Temple, in Kerala serves sweet spherical globes of goodness called unniappam as its prasad. Made from rice, jaggery, and a type of plantain called kadalippazzham, this prasad came to be when a priest felt sorry for Ganesha who was starving and had to resort to stealing from his father – Shiva. So, as a kind gesture, he gave a portion of the unniappam (originally meant for Lord Shiva) by tying it with a coconut leaf blade.


4. Khichdi Calling: 

Savoury and temple food aren’t usually the norm. However, at ISKON, this is more the rule than the exception. Tuck into this lip-smacking Sattvic special khichdi, which is considered as the prasad.


5. Dial ‘D’ for Dosa:   



In Madurai, the Alagar Temple’s version of prasad comes in the form a familiar yet comforting food – the crisp and freshly made dosa.  Worshippers at this temple often donate grains as an offering to Lord Vishnu. In return, the grains are well utilised – in preparation for dosas.


6. Meals:

banana leaf

The temples at Kukke Subramanya, Sringeri Sharadha Mutt are to die for. Wholesome and delicious, the beauty of these meals lies in its simplicity of freshly prepared South Indian fare.