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Ayurvedic wines?

Rajiv Kaushik, son of an Ayurvedic doctor, has taken to winemaking as a career. When the debate is hot about differences between Old-world and New-world wines, we notice that Ayurvedic wines, such as in Arishtha and Asava prepartaions have been around for over five millenia! They have recorded health benefits and are still used as patent medicine.

Son of an Ayurvedic doctor, he uses Vedas as the back ground for the history and formulation of wine. 'I had been studying various processes to make a wine that would go well with spicy Indian food and did research for 4 years.'
Ayurvedic Wines are an Indian entity. Have always been so. There alcohol content is restricted to about four percent, and they are all highly potent medicines, says Ayurvedic practitioner Dr Sharath Kumar.

Ayurvedic wines for good health

Why is it that while the Indian wine industry is busy bringing in French and Italian technology, winemakers and grape varietals to India, the treasure of Ayurvedic wines is quite lost to them?

Rajiv Koushik may be a one off case, but the big names such as Chateau Indage, Grovers, United Breweries, and even the upcoming names such as Vintage Wines, Indus Wines, Chateau D'Ori and others in the industry have yet to explore the potential of Ayurvedic wines for true health benefits, and showcase India's ancient wisdom to wine enthusiasts.

The Indian Paan bazaar, Old Delhi

From Banarsi to Maghai to Awadhi, all kinds of betel leaf preparation as in the Indian paan are enjoyed for equally varied reasons. Like wine connoisseurs know their wines, paan connoisseurs know what their favourite paan is all about.

Paan preparation

Paan bazaar, an alley market in Sadar Bazaar, offers a glimpse of Indian culture in Old Delhi. In India, paan has been playing an important role in the social life and customs of people for hundreds of years. In the court of the Mughal kings and others rulers, the betel leaf or paan was offered as a part of hospitality, friendship and love. This bazaar is well known for paan and its products that attract a large number of customers from across the city.

The bazaar has more than 100 paan shops. There are at least 50 varieties of paan available at paan bazaar from rupees two to rupees 400 per doli. A doli contains 200-250 paan. You can get a Golta Madrasi paan, Bangal paan, Banarasi paan, Jagatnathi Desi paan, Dholak Pakistani paan, Hydrabadi paan or Afsana paan on the spot. The best betel leaf is the ’Magahi’ variety (from the Magadha region) grown near Patna, in Bihar.

Every paan-lover in India has personal favourites. Maghai pan being the most famous among them. Amitabh Bacchan's rendition of Khai ke paan banaras wala, khul jaye band akal ka tala, is exactly how paan-lovers praise their favourite chew. It refreshes the mind, they say.

Paan is such a hot favourite, and cultivation of betel leaves such a tedious affair that one needs to watch out for quality. Paan, however is available all over India, in all its regional avatars.

For authentic and mouth-watering taste, they use sachi paan leaves, chuna, gulkand, clove, cherry, flavoured saunf, masala cherry, sugar, artificial sweetener, menthol, date, saffron, condiments, sada bahar, dilkush, white gold, Tan Sen, pistachio, rose katri, anis, raisin, coconut, chaman bahar, coriander powder, jaggery, permitted food colours, cardamom and different flavours in different proportion and in different varieties as ingredients.

A visit to any region in India is incomplete without a taste of the local paan-beera. And top of the list is Paan Bazaar in Old Delhi. Must visit! Read More

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