Kanyakumari cloves, Karuppur kalamkari paintings & Kallakurichi wood carvings joins the treasures of Tamil Nadu


With break in rains, this is an off weather post. When you visit these towns, make sure you know where to buy the authentic products and let the heritage of our Tamil Nadu continue without getting lost by buying these products rather than buying the modern ones. This post is an update from the previous version putup in Facebook and Twitter with inclusion of photos and the applicant names.

What is GI?

A geographical indication or GI is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. Such a tag conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to the geographical origin of the product. The owner of the GI tag has exclusive rights over the product and can sue others for trying to duplicate the product.

List of products in Tamil Nadu which has GI tag.

1. Salem Fabric – Yarn dyed fabric designed by using superior grade fabrics and advanced machinery, got in 2005-06. The first product to get GI tag in Tamil Nadu. GI Tag Applicant – Salem Exporters Association.

2. Kancheepuram Silk and Saree – Sarees are characterized by gold dipped silver thread that is woven on the premium quality silk, should have 40 per cent silver and 0.5 per cent gold in zari, got in 2005-06. GI Tag Applicant – Department of Handlooms and Textiles, (Government of Tamil Nadu).

3. Bhavani Jamakkalam – Blanket and Carpet weaved by community of weavers in Bhavani called Jangamars using colored coarse threads called Jamakkalam, got in 2005-06. GI applicant – Department of Handlooms and Textiles, (Government of Tamil Nadu).

4. Madurai Sungudi (Fabric) – Cotton Fabric produced using tie and natural dyes method by the Saurashtrians who migrated to Madurai under the patronage of King Thirumalai Naicker in the 17th century, got in 2005-06. GI applicant – Department of Handlooms and Textiles, (Government of Tamil Nadu).

5. Coimbatore Wet Grinder – Wet grinders manufactured in Coimbatore district, got in 2005-06. GI applicant – Coimbatore Wet Grinders & Accessories Manufacturers Association.

6. Thanjavur Paintings – Panel paintings done on wooden planks distinguished by its famous gold coatings, got in 2007-08. GI Applicant – Thanjavur Oviya Padhukaapu Sangam.

7. Temple Jewellery of Nagercoil – Traditional jewellery made of the finest gold embedded with several precious gems and stones. Peculiar red and green stone called ‘Kuchu kal’ are used for making the jewellery, Authentic ones are mostly used by classical dancers, got in 2007-08. GI Applicant – Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Ministry of Textiles, Government of India.


8. Thanjavur Art Plate – Circular plate made as a gift item consisting of metals such as silver, bronze, and copper embossed with figures of gods at its center, got in 2007-08. GI Applicant – Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Ministry of Textiles, Government of India.

9. EI Leather or East India Leather – Indian vegetable tanned leather produced in Tanneries of Trichy and Dindigul districts, got in 2007-08. GI Applicant – The Trichy Tanners Association Society.

10. Salem Venpattu (White Silk) – Salem’s unique brand of white silk clothing, known as venpattu, got in 2007-08. GI applicant – Department of Handlooms and Textiles, (Government of Tamil Nadu).

11. Kovai Cora Cotton Saree – A superior quality cotton yarn is mixed with traditional silk to produce kora cotton made in Coimbatore district. The sarees have bright colored border designs with occasional use of shining zari, got in 2007-08. GI applicant – Department of Handlooms and Textiles, (Government of Tamil Nadu).

12. Arani Silk Saree – Arni silk saree is traditional sari made in Arani, Thiruvannamalai district and is known for its softness and durability, got in 2007-08. GI applicant – Department of Handlooms and Textiles, (Government of Tamil Nadu).

13. Swamimalai Bronze Icons – Swamimalai Bronze Icons refers to bronze idols and statues manufactured in Swamimalai, near Kumbakonam, got in 2008-09. GI Applicant – Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Ministry of Textiles, Government of India.

14. Eathomozhy Tall Coconut – Only Coconut variety that has a GI tag, it grows in Eathomozhy near Rajakamangalam in Kanayakumari district. Grows to a height of 30 m and lives for a period over 80 to 100 years, got in 2008-09. GI Applicant – Centre for Innovation and Transfer of Technology.

15. Thanjavur Doll – Indian bobblehead or roly-poly handmade toy made of terracotta material, finished with detailed, painted exteriors, got in 2008-09. GI Applicant – Thanjavur Chamber of Commerce.

16. Nilgiri (Orthodox) Tea – Arch Diens tea described as being a dark, intensely aromatic, fragrant and flavoured tea grown in the hills of the Nilgiris district, got in 2008-09. GI Applicant – Tea Board.

17. Virupakshi Hill Banana – Commonly known as Hill banana grown exclusively in the Lower Palani Hills, is one of the elite clones known for its special flavor, taste and keeping quality and considered as the heritage banana of Tamil Nadu, got in 2008-09. GI applicant – Tamil Nadu Hill Banana Growers Federation.

18. Sirumalai Hill Banana – Small to medium-sized bannana grown in Sirumalai hills in Dindigul district, after ripened they are bright yellow in color with a greenish tinge at the end of the stem, and considered as the heritage banana of Tamil Nadu, got in 2008-09. Tamil Nadu Hill Banana Growers Federation.

19. Madurai Malli – Jasmine flower known for its heady fragrance cultivated in the districts of Madurai, Virudhunagar, Theni, Dindigul and Sivaganga. Has deep fragrance, thick petals, lengthiest petiole and delayed opening of buds, ensuring longer shelf-life of the flower, got in 2012-13. GI Applicant – Madurai Malli Farmers Association.









20. Pattamadai Pai (Mat) – Mat is made up of Korai grass, weaving done in Pathamadai,Tirunelveli district, Specially for wedding ceremonies and have bride’s and groom’s names as well as the wedding date woven in it, got in 2012-13. GI Applicant – Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation (Poompuhar).

21. Nachiarkoil Kuthuvilakku (Lamp) – Also called Annam lamp is an ornamental brass lamp made of series of diyas, a handicraft product which is exclusively made by Pather (Kammalar) community in Nachiyar Koil town near Kumbakonam, got in 2012-13. GI Applicant – Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation (Poompuhar).

22. Chettinad Kottan (Basket) – Traditional palmyra leaf baskets of Chettinad region, Sivagangai district, originally used for packaging and as a container for giving gifts and offerings at family functions and rituals, got in 2012-13. GI Applicant – Reviev Kottan (Palm Leafs Knitting) Society.

23. Toda Embroidery – Locally known as “pukhoor”, is an art work done by Toda pastoral people of Nilgiris, made exclusively by their women. The embroidery is made with use of red and black threads with a white cotton cloth background. Men and women adorn themselves with the embroidered cloaks and shawls, got in 2012-13. GI Applicant – Toda Nalavaazhvu Sangam.

24. Thanjavur Veenai – Veenai is considered as the queen of Indian musical instruments, Jackfruit trees are used for making Veenai, which was grown for more than hundred years. The trunk of this tree does not grow big just like other trees.T he making of resonator by chipping away the lump of wood to make a round, smooth surface takes about five days. Making the inside of the foot-high kudam will take another week’s time. It has then covered by a palakai (thin wooden plate), got in 2012-13. GI Applicant – The Thanjavur Musical Instruments Workers Co-operative Cottage Industrial Society Limited.

25. Mahabalipuram Stone Sculpture – Monuments built during the Pallava dynasty in Mamallapuram. Known as the Seven Pagodas in many colonial-era publications. It is also an UNESCO World Heritage Site, GI tag got in 2017-18. GI Applicant – Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation (Poompuhar).

26. Erode Manjal (Turmeric) – Turmeric where both finger and bulb are obtained from the Erode local cultivar. The parameters of the Erode turmeric includes 2.5 to 4.5% of curcumin content, a golden yellow colour and resistance to pests after boiling, got in 2018-19. GI Applicant – Erode Manjal vanigarkal Matrum Kidangu Urimaiyalargal Sangam.

27. Thirubuvanam Silk Sarees – Saree produced with usage of high quality mulberry filature silk yarns in a Thirubhuvam. The silk saree is folded like an Angavastram, and this fan fold is called as “visiri madippu” in Tamil, got in 2018-19. GI Applicant – Thirubuvanam Silk Handloom Weavers Co‐operative Production and Sale Society Limited.

28. Kodaikanal Malai Poondu (Hill Garlic) – Garlic grown in the Kodaikanal Hills, Dindugul district, known for its medicinal properties, increased shelf life with its extrodinary odour and pungent taste. It has higher amount of organosulfur compounds, phenols and flavonoids compared to other garlic varieties, got in 2019-20. GI Applicant – 1. Department of Biotechnology, Mother Teresa Women’s University and 2. Tamil Nadu State Council for Science and Technology.

29. Palani Panchamirtham – Given as ‘prasadam’ at the Palani Murugan temple, The panchamirtham is a combination of five natural substances — banana, jaggery, cow ghee, honey and cardamom. Dates and diamond sugar candies are added for flavour, got in 2019-20. GI Applicant – Arulmigu Dhandayuthapani Swamy Thirukkoil.

30. Dindigul Locks – The quality and durability of the Dindigul locks separate them from the others. started by Sankaralingachari Brothers. Locks are manufactured by skilled locksmiths residing in villages around Dindigul town, the abundance of iron in this region is the reason for the growth of the lock-making industry, got in 2019-20. GI Applicant – The Dindigul Lock, Hardware and Steel Furniture Works Industrial Co-operative Society Ltd, IND.No.150.

31. Kandangi Saree – The cotton sarees are made by the weavers of Devanga Chettiars for women of the Chettiar Community in Karaikudi, Sivaganga district. The sarees are characterised by the large contrast borders, and some of them are known to have borders covering as much as two-thirds of the saree, got in 2019-20. GI Applicant – Department of Handlooms and Textiles (Government of Tamil Nadu).


32. Srivilliputtur Palkova – Sweet made using milk only from cows reared in and around Srivilliputtur, Virudhungar district, the milk is naturally sweet and hence, only a small amount of sugar is added for making the sweet, got in 2019-20. GI Applicant – 1. Srivilliputur Milk Producers Co-Operative Society and 2. Rajapalayam Co-Operative Milk Producers Society.

33. Kovilpatti Kadalai Mittai – Candy made of peanuts held together with glistening syrup, and topped with wisps of grated coconut dyed pink, green and yellow. In Kovilpatti, it is sold as single rectangular chunks, or rather cuboids, sealed in packets. It is made using all natural ingredients such as the traditional and special ‘vellam’ (jaggery) and groundnuts and water from the river Thamirabarani is used in the production, which enhances the taste naturally and has a long shelf life, got in 2019-20. GI Applicant – Sub Collector Office, Kovilpatti, Thoothukudi Districton, Behalf of Kovilpatti Kadalai Mittai Manufactures.

34. Thanjavur Netti Works (Thanjavur Pith Work) – It is made from Netti (pith) from a marshy plant called as Aeschynomene Aspera. This is a traditional art form and has been transferred from one generation to the next. The Netti Works are widely found in the Brihadeeshwara Temple, Hindu Idols, Garlands, door hangings and decorative pieces. “The majority of production is done in the towns of Thanjavur, Kumbakonam and Pudukkottai where most of the artisans hail from. The products made from the Pith are brittle and break easily, unless kept carefully. Hence, most models are preserved inside a glass box. GI obtained in 2020-21. GI Applicant – Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation (Poompuhar).

35. Arumbavur wood carvings – Done by the artisans of Perambalur and are primarily made out of the wooden logs of Mango, Lingam tree, Indian Ash tree, Rosewood, Neem tree and are used for making sculptures. The artisans mainly source the wood from the Pachamalai Hills along the Tiruchy- Perambalur border and the Thanjavur-Kumbakonam belt. Several temple cars with artistic features are even seen at the temples in the districts of Perambalur, Ariyalur, Tiruchy, Salem, Villupuram, Cuddalore, Thanjavur and Madurai which were crafted by the forefathers of Arumbavur Temple car sthapatis (idol makers) One of the uniqueness of the craft is the entire design carved out of a single block of wood given that a single error could damage the entire piece. GI obtained in 2020-21. GI Applicant – Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation (Poompuhar).

36. Kanyakumari Cloves – Known for its rich aromatic oil content, with volatile oil content of 21% (normal 18%) resulting in 86% of eugenol. Of India’s total production of 1,100 tonnes of Clove, Tamil Nadu accounts for 1,000 tonnes with 65% of it coming from Kanyakumari. Hilly regions of Western Ghats rich in Black soil are known for the unique organic nature of the cloves. GI obtained in 2021-22. GI Applicant – Maramalai Planters Association.

37. Karuppur Kalamkari Paintings – Karuppur Kalamkari painting is done on pure cotton cloth. The stroking is done with pens and brushes which are made out of bamboo stick, palm stem, date tree and coconut tree. These natural brushes or ‘kalams’ are of various sizes and shapes used in accordance with the requirement of painting. The technique of painting/ brushing with natural ‘kalams’ or brushes are the uniqueness of this art form which requires high level of craftsmanship. It is dyed/ printed with natural colors extracted from plants roots, bark, leaf and stems. Traditionally only three colours are used i.e. black, red and yellow. But lately usage of ‘pale blue’ has also started which is again characteristic to the Karuppur Kalamkari paintings. Artisans from Sikkalnaikkanpettai near Kumbakonam have retained the traditional art form for many generations. The art form is practiced at Karuppur in Udayarpalayam taluk of Ariyalur district and also in villages in and around Sikkalnaikkapettai and Tiruppanandal in Thanjavur district.  GI obtained in 2021-22. GI Applicant – Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation.

38. Kallakurichi Wood CarvingThe ‘Kallakurichi Wood Carving’ is a unique form of wood carving where the craftsmen are specialized in carving temple related products and furniture; this entails the application of ornamentation and designs derived from traditional styles. The Wood used by these Artisans are usually imported from Panruti, Pattampakam, Thanjavur, Samayapuram. The wood used by the artisans involved in wood carving is largely obtained from Country Wood, Vaagai Wood, Maavulinga, Atthi, Illupai and Mango Tree’s Wood, Rose wood & Teak, the artisans prefer to use the wood obtained from these trees only because, when the products are given finishing touch, their texture and external appearance is usually soft, smooth and resembles to that of Teak wood. Hence these artisans use wood obtained only from the above mentioned particular trees. The wood obtained from Atthi tree is mostly used for Pooja and its related activities. Since the wood obtained from ILLUPAI tree is hard, it is used by the artisans in making Ratham / Chariot for fairs and festivals celebrated.  GI obtained in 2021-22. GI Applicant – Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation.

Source, quotes and Photos are taken from different websites. Courtesy and copyrights to the rightful owners of the Photos.

Applied for GI tags and are in processing stage
1. Ramnathapuram Mundu Chilli
2. Authoor Betel Leaf (Authoor Vetrilai)
3. Salem Sago (Javvarisi)
4. Jaderi Namakatti
5. Udangudi Panangkarupatti
6. Kanyakumari Matti Banana
7. Seeraga Samba Rice
8. Ooty Varkey
9. Manapparai Murukku
10. Thoothukudi Macaroon
11. Narasinghapettai Nagaswaram
12. Kanyakumari Stone Carving
13. Thammampatti Wood Carvings
14. Salem Mango
15. Thaikkal Rattan Furniture
16. Manamadurai Ghatam
Applied for GI tags and are rejected
1. Rajapalayam Lock
2. Thanjavur Marakudrai
3. Thiruvaiyaru Asoka Halwa
Applied and then Withdrawn
1. Panruti Palapazham
2. Hosur Rose
3. Kodali Karuppur Saree
4. Thanjavur Cut Glass Work
5. Nagercoil Temple Car
6. Namakkal Makkal Stone Works
7. Thanjavur Rice Maalai
8. Madras Checks
9. Khadi

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