GI tags for over 17 products from Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal, and J&K

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The traditional Lanjia Saura paintings, the exquisitely embroidered Dongaria Kondh shawl, the delicious Khajuri Guda from Odisha and the Handmade Carpets and Wancho Wooden Craft from Arunachal Pradesh were among the 17 products that bagged the Geographical Indications (GI) tag on Thursday.

The Lanjia Saura paintings are a style of wall mural art. Those paintings also called ekons or the idital, and have a significant spiritual importance for the tribe. The Lanjia Sauras are an indigent society today, and labour in preserving their culture – the iditals being an important part of it.

The traditional knitted shawls of the hill tribe Dongaria Kondh are both unique and ancient. Their culture, tradition, faith, and beliefs, as well as the biodiversity of their forests are reflected in the shawls. Dharanipenu, the much adored goddess of the Dongaria, has a home in every village. The art and drawings made in the Dharanipenu residence are reflected in their shawls. Although the modern world has had significant impact on their traditional apparel, the Dongaria shawl continues to be popular with the tribe.

Odisha’s Khajuri Guda (date palm jaggery) is a natural sweetener produced from the sweet juice of palm called neera. The jaggery is prepared by the tribal populations, including the Lanjia Saura, of Gajapati, Boudh, Angul, and Dhenkanal districts in Odisha.

From Arunachal Pradesh, the Wancho Wooden Craft intimately weaves into the socio-cultural fabric of the skilful Wancho of Longding and Changlong districts. This rare ethnic art has been practiced by these Wancho tribes since many a generation. It is used both to decorate their own drawing rooms and also as a gift to beloved friends. In the past, the Wanchos would make wood carvings to decorate the posts and log drums in the paa or paang (boys‘ dormitory) or to decorate the village chief‘s house.

Apart from this the Geographical Indications Registry in Chennai has also given tags to three products from West Bengal – the Tangail Saree of Bengal, Garad Saree and Korial saree. Odisha’s Dhenkanal Magji, a milk product and Similipal Kai Chutney also got a GI tag. The ‘Kai’ is indigenous to Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar which are found in abundance in the jungles of every block areas of the districts. The Kai Chutney prepared from these Kai is the main source of protection to the health and safety measures of the local tribes. The tribes in the Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar District commonly use the chutney as a delicious food and traditional medicine to treat different aliments in their daily life.

The Nayagarh Kanteimundi Brinjal, a vegetable crop with lots of prickly thorns on the flesh as well as the whole plant grown in whole of Nayagarh district of Odisha also received a tag. The other products that were given a GI tag are West Bengal’s Kalonunia Rice, West Bengal’s Sundarban Honey, Gujarat’s Kachchhi Kharek; Jammu Kashmir’s Ramban Anardana; Koraput Kalajeera Rice and the Arunachal Pradesh Adi Kekir (Ginger).

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