Pongal Special: Here are some amazing gifting options built on the versatile sugarcane!
Sweeter than Sugar: The usage of sugarcane goes way beyond sweet molasses as we discover in this ingenious sugarcane-products shopping special just in time for Pongal
Pongalo Pongal! It’s time for Tamil Nadu’s favourite festival again, and like every year, the preparations are underway in full swing all across the state. Celebrated as Magh/ Bhogali Bihu in Assam; Maghi/Lohri in Punjab; Maghi Saaji in Himachal Pradesh; Maghi Sangrand or Uttarayan in Jammu; Sakraat in Haryana; Sukarat in Central India; Pongal in Tamil Nadu; Uttarayan in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh; Ghughuti in Uttarakhand; Makar Sankranti in Odisha, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa and West Bengal (where it’s also called Poush Sankranti); Maghe Sankranti in Nepal; Songkran in Thailand, Thingyan in Myanmar; and Mohan Songkran in Cambodia — this festival, that involves the worship of the sun god across most of South and Southeast Asia, is definitely a special one, like no other.
Other than the date coinciding however, the one other common feature that connects these related festivals is the presence of something sweet, usually a stick of freshly cut sugarcane. This symbol of sweetness, fertility and — in certain communities in South India — a reminder of a miracle of sorts brings families and communities together across languages and religions. It is said that on a Perum/Surya/Thai Pongal day (January 14), Lord Shiva performed the miracle of feeding sugarcane to a stone image of an elephant in the Madurai Meenakshi Temple. The sugarcane is therefore as intrinsic to Pongal as the overflowing pots of sweet pongal, communally prepared and made with festivity.
But what does the stick of sugarcane mean to us in 2022. Does it go beyond being a mere sweetening agent? Can sugarcane be a product of more sustainable use? In an age where the cash crop is villainised for being a water-intensive indulgence, can we look at sugarcane and what can be done differently with it? We put together seven ingenious ways in which sugarcane has been used recently and with products that you can order to your home in just one click. Here’s our list of how sugarcane can be a part of the best gifting options for the festive season.
This brand offers a wide selection of jeans, jackets, shirts and other sugarcane fabric products and we were absolutely in awe of their denim that is created using woven cotton yarns and sugar cane fibres. The website offers a huge selection to choose from, but their Japanese Selvedge Denim Lone Star Jeans with Vintage Cut (CANE2105) is what caught our attention. INR 44,570 approx. sugarcanejeans.com
Sugarcane fabric being incorporated into saris and woven along with silk is one thing but this colour blocked, A-line midi dress made in organic sugar cane dobby fabric proves that the organic fabric indeed has some dexterity. There’s also an overlapped midi dress and a flared maxi dress available, but it is this one that caught our attention. INR 15,200. gurorganics.com
Formulated for oily hair, this antioxidant-rich shampoo claims to contain a restorative blend of plant-based ingredients that promise to leave your hair naturally soft, shiny, and smooth. This formula was created to fight oiliness by gently removing excess oil from your scalp, and nourishes your strands with maple, sugarcane, and blueberry, alongside natural coconut and soap nut cleansing extracts. The sugarcane in the shampoo, we thought, was wild! INR 506. arata.in
Sweet & Sour
The pure tamarind extract in this sugar and tamarind ayurvedic deep cleansing soap is claimed to be able to cleanse skin deeply, refine pores, heal blemishes and check excessive oiliness without dehydrating the skin while the raw cane sugar extract is supposed to be able to polish the skin and stimulate circulation for renewed cellular growth. We’ve tried this and love it! INR 615. kamaayurveda.com
Real cane sugar crystals made from sugar cane soaked in a blend of citrus oils with pure tamarind pulp are what make this body polisher work. The fragrance of bitter orange and bergamot can leave one feeling highly invigorated, while the raw sugar exfoliates, intensively hydrates and repairs the skin, leaving it gleaming and glossy. The pairing of sugar and tamarind seems to be a popular one. INR 1,850. forestessentialsindia.com
This micro lot of single-origin coffee from the Yemmigoondi estate in Coorg is grown in the company of natural springs and washed with sugarcane juice to create a unique fermentation that leads to strong, rich caramel and dark chocolate notes with flashes of lemon and roasted hazelnuts. Enjoy this dark roast with a magic hint courtesy sugarcane juice, that’s perfect for your next cuppa filter coffee. INR 500. tatacoffeesonnets.com
A special edition chocolate bar duo through a collaboration with fine artisan chocolate makers Paul and Mike, this is a naturally sweetened batch of chocolates using handmade sugarcane jaggery; and cacao beans sourced from organic farmers in Kerala. These chocolates will also be shipped via express shipment in thermally insulated packaging with ice gels to ensure they reach in good condition. Do you really need more convincing? INR 650. twobrothersindiashop.com