Thirattipaal - The Symbol of Tradition
Thirattipal, a popular traditional dairy product which is believed to have originated from Tamil Nadu. In Tamil language, ‘Thirattu’ means continuous stirring to concentrate the ingredients and ‘pal’ means milk. It is obtained by partial coagulation of milk by addition of one or two spoons of sour curd prior to addition of sugar and completion of desiccation. It is specially used for celebrating occasions like engagement ceremony, wedding function and ‘gruhapravesham’.
There is an interesting story behind this wonderful sweet. Vishnu Sithar (Periyalwar) lived in Srivilliputhur. He worked in the temple making garlands for Lord Vishnu. One day, he found a baby in the garden and decided to adopt her as his daughter. He named her “Kodhai” or “gift of Mother Earth.” Kodhai grew in the holy temple surroundings and was very devoted to Lord Vishnu. She would wear the garlands meant for lord Vishnu and think to herself that she was the bride who would marry lord Vishnu. One day, Periyalwar saw Kodhai adorning the garland made for the lord. He considered this an act of sacrilege and was very angry with Kodhai. He made fresh garland for the lord that day. Vishnu appeared in his dream and said that he wanted the garland worn by Kodhai. In later years, she came to be called as Andal. “இறைவனையே ஆண்டவள் (Andal)” – The girl who ruled the lord. That’s why she got the name Andal. The bride, Andal, was then taken to the Srirangam temple where she entered the sanctum sanctorum and was ushered into the Lord’s presence. Andal is also called as “சூடி கொடுத்த சுடர் கொடி”, meaning the slender lady who wore the garlands first before dedicating it to the lord. This is in practice still today. The garland of Andal from Srivilliputhur Andal Temple is sent to Tirupati during Chitra Pournami and Azhagar Koyil during Garudotsavam. Andal was four years old when she started to compose the hymns of Thiruppavai, Nachayiyar Thirumozhi, and Vaaranam Aayiram. During Andal’s marriage, Periyalwar sent Thiratti Paal and lentils as as “Pirandha veetu seer”, gift from the family. This practice is still followed today in weddings where Thirattupaal is sent as “seer” to the grooms place. Andal is the only lady Alwar. In the month of Margazhi (December-January), Thiruppaavai is recited in Tirupati instead of Suprabhatam. Thirupaavai is written in Tamil by Andal. Thirattipaal is offered to Lord Vishnu in Andal Temple as Prashad. Thirattipal Tiruvizha (festival) is grandly celebrated every year in Sri Jayamkonda Nathar temple near Mannarkudi. This custom has been followed ever since & there’s no better way to celebrate auspicious occasions than indulge into traditional delicacies like Thirattipal.
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