Tamil Taste and Sanskrit Taste! (Post No.3060)

b day feast 2

Written by london swaminathan

Date: 14th    August 2016

Post No. 3060

Time uploaded in London :– 9-18 AM

( Thanks for the Pictures)




(for old articles go to tamilandvedas.com OR swamiindology.blogspot.com)


fruit salad

Tastes are different, especially for Tamil speakers and Sanskrit speakers!


For some strange reason Tamil and Sanskrit literature describe tastes in different ways.


In my earlier articles I have written about the way Lord Krishna divides food into three categories Satva, Rajas and Tamasic food in the Bhagavad Gita! Moreover, Krishna advocates great vegetarian food!


Tamils have divided food on the basis of taste. Sanskritists have divided food on the basis of its structure or state or condition.


5 divisions of food in Sanskrit:–

Pancha paksha paramaannam means very good, fulsome and tasty five types of food in Sanskrit. If one is served varieties of dishes then they say, “Oh, I enjoyed the food in his house or in the wedding; it was a five-fold division of food I had today”. If a Tamil go to the same house or the same wedding he would say, “Oh, I had Six Taste food today! I am full”.



Boli, South Indian Dish

So, what are the five divisions in Sanskrit literature?

Bhojyam, Bhakshyam, Soshyam, Peyam and Lehyam.

Bhojyam:-Bojanam is our normal food like rice and Chapatti; the word is very popular in most parts of India. The word stands for meals in general. This is spoiled in 24 or 48 hours because it is cooked food

Bakshyam: Bakshanam is used in most of the languages in India for any snacks. We don’t use it as food, but as snacks in between main meals. Most of the items we keep it for long, because they don’t go off that quickly. It means like sweets, Bombay Mixture, Tamil Murukku etc


Lehyam:- English word lick come from the same root of this Sanskrit word. Anything that is semi solid and semi liquid, mostly used in medicines nowadays is called Lehyam. Honey based items, Panchamritam, Chyavanaprash, medicinal lehiyams etc. fall under this category.


Soshyam: English word suck is cognate with this word. You use a straw to suck the liquid out of the cup. Fruit juices, milk shakes, Rose milk etc. fall under this category.


Peyam: Any drinks like milk or water. Orthodox Hindus wont allow their lips to touch the cup or a tumbler or any vessel containing water or milk or anything holy. Peyam is used there.

alva from tirunelveli

Halwa, Indian Sweet

Six Varieties of Tamil Food

Tamils have divided food into six types on the basis of taste felt in the tongue. They are Sweet, Hot/spicy, Sour, Salty, Bitter and Astringent.

Sweet: it needs no explanation; Eg. Sugar, jaggery, sugarcane, Indian sweets etc.

Spicy: any dish that contains chillies or black pepper

Sour: Dishes made with lemon juice or tamarind; raw vegetables such as green mangoes

Salty: dishes added with salt

Bitter: Dishes made up of bitter gourds, medicinal pastes of neem leaves, medicines like quinine, certain types of greens

Astringent: Tastes like betel nuts, certain baby vegetable like green plantain, green banana

Tamils are very fond of salt; they have a proverb “Unsalted items go into rubbish heap”.

On days like New Year day Hindus make a Pachadi (Liquid item that contains all the six tastes) to illustrate the truth that “Life is full of ups and downs”.


Kalidasa, the greatest poet of India, says “Variety is the spice of life.”


In short, Hindu Food items are classified on the basis Hindu philosophy!

Picture shows Vada/ Vadai, Tamil Foodappam3


Read my earlier articles on Hindu Food:

1.Krishna’s Restaurant in Dwaraka- Hot Satwic Food Sold, posted on 20 November 2011

  1. The Sugarcane Mystery: Indus valley and the Ikshwaku Dynasty, posted on 19 November 2011

3.SCIENCE BEHIND DIWALI-2; 175 SWEET ITEMS, posted on 3 November 2012

4.Unique and Wonderful  Food Items (Prasads) in Hindu Temples, posted on 22 May 2015

  1. Hindu Issues: Questions from Medical Students- Part 2, posted on 6 March 2015

6.What did Vedic Hindus Eat?, posted on 23 April 2015

hare krishna food 2

A typical North Indian Vegetarian meal.