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2/7/2005 01:10pm
Are edible silver leaves vegetarian?

Dear Madam,

Trust all is well at your end. Same here.

I am a vegeterian food eater. Last week during a dinner party when we were about to eat the sweet coated with Chandi Varak (edible silver leaf), someone told us that it is a non-vegeterian product.

Will you please tell me what is the method of making Chandi Varak? We are confused as we have seen even people eating the same thing who follow the Jainism.


Ravi Bakhtiani

2/7/2005 01:11pm
Sliver leaves vegetarian?

Hi Ravi

I am sure someone is pulling your leg! Chandi varak is only beaten silver sheets. Even strictest vegetarians eat it.

Best wishes


2/7/2005 01:22pm
Silver leaves edible?

Dear Mamta,

Thanks for your instant reply.

But still I have a doubt. I hope I am not disturbing you but I just want to clear my doubts.

There was a time when Menaka Gandhi had said on a national network that there are two types of Chandi Varak i.e. Veg and Non-Veg.

Please clarify my doubt.



Note from Mamta: Menaka Gandhi is the widow of Sanjay Gandhi, the younger son of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who was Prime minister of India from 1966-77 and then 1980- 1984.

2/7/2005 01:24pm
edible Silver

Sent: Saturday, July 02, 2005 10:29 AM

Hello Ravi

I have no idea why Menaka Gandhi said that! Perhaps she knows something rest of us do not know about. I am afraid you will have to ask her or look up her reference. Sorry, can't help here!

Would you like me to put your question on the discussion Forum, someone else may know the answer to your question?


2/7/2005 01:26pm
Chandi varak

Hello Mamta,

Thanks once again. It is a good idea to put the question on the discussion forum. Please do that and let me know if someone comes forward with the reply.


Note from Mamta: If anyone has any information on this subject, I am sure Ravi will love to hear from you.

2/7/2005 10:17pm
Chandi ka Varak

Is it possible that Menka Gandhi was talking about the varak being made fraudulently from aluminium, rather than silver, and the health risks from eating it, rather than it being non-vegetarian?

3/7/2005 06:17pm

is some of it coated with something that helps it stick, maybe the coating is animal based ?


4/7/2005 06:31pm
Chandi varak

Hello Ravi

I have tried to find out if there are any animal products involved in making 'Chandi varak' but have drawn blank. Since sweets covered in 'varak' are offered in prayers at Hindu temples all over India, I would presume that they are vegetarian.


4/7/2005 06:31pm

I have looked on the net and can't find any information on this... I had always thought it was quite literally just sheets of silver beaten into very very thin sheets but... there may be some other ingredient used to bind the sheets or something?

I think the only way to get an answer would be to contact one of the manufacturers of this product about it?


4/7/2005 09:16pm
Reply from a BBC messageboard reader

The only thing that is animal in the production of silver or gold leaf is a leather cushion on which a "book" of paper and metal-leaves are beaten with a hammer. But the metal doesn't touch the leather as it is covered with paper. Uschi

17/8/2005 10:25pm
Vegetarian Silver Leaf (varak)

Dear Mamta,

For your info in India VARAK is made by beating silver pieces in between the underskin of sheep

the technic for beating silver between paper does not exist in India


18/8/2005 07:19am
Beaten Silver Story

Hello Surendar

If this is true and if it becomes widely known, it will create a huge stir in India. 'Chandi Varak' is eaten by the strictest of Hindus in India and often used on sweets offered in temples.

What a story!! Almost like the bullets containing beef/pork grease that resulted in the mutiny of 1857! If Hindus knew, use of 'Chandi varak' will disappear overnight in India!


20/9/2005 07:09pm
Silver leaves/foil are non-vegetarian

Dear Mamta,

From what I have seen, old habits and tastes are usually hard to counter just as they are hard to die.

- Here are the list of references that mention about the manufacturing process of silver foils (varak/varakh) - see part A (Article A2 is from The Hindu newspaper).

- Even makers of sweets acknowledge the non-vegetarianism of varakh and specifically mention their non-usage in their sweets - see part B.

- There are active anti-varakh campaigns - see part C (and look for "Varakh").

- And lastly, there's a manufacturing plant setup to mechanically manufacture vegetarian varakh in colloboration with a German company - see part D.

A. References for manufacturing process:




B. References by sweets makers:


C. References for Anti-Varakh campaigns:


D. References for alternate process of manufacturing:


So far I have only seen Catch Silver/Gold Leaves as the only 100% vegetarian varakh. Needless to say it will probably be more expensive compared to varakh widely available in the market.

In best interests,


23/9/2005 07:11am
Silver/Gold Varak or leaf

Thanks Hardik

I had a quick look at all the sites you refer to. If one is vegetarian, it would be simpler to stop using silver leaves altogether. After all, it does not enhance the taste, only looks!


28/9/2005 07:14pm
silver varak

Dear Madam,

I have studied your comments about the subject, please let us know which country or company is manufacturing edible silver or gold varak by machines without the use of any animal product even intstines too, so that the conventional methods be removed by using the latest technology and the debate be end. Thanking You.

My E-mail address

29/9/2005 10:01am
Are edible silver leaves vegetarian?

If the leaves are washed before they are placed on the sweets, which I would think they are other wise they taste of the intestines, then shouldn't they be save for vegetarians?

Isn.t this the same sort of question as when a vegetarian eats food cooked in a pan that may have been used to previously cook meat (washed)?

A moral question may be raised by vegetarians, on the use of cattle intestines, meaning that the cattle have to be killed to provide the intestines used!

2/10/2005 03:47am
Silver Varak/Silver Foil

Yes,Silver Varak in itself is Vegetarian.

But be careful, if you are Vegan or Strict Vegetarian,you should not use

Silver Varak,as I have seen its making here in Indore in one of Jain temple. I got shocked to know that Silver Varak or Gold Varak are being made by beating Silver Sheet/Gold Sheet in a bundle of 100 or 80 bundle of some kind of film or sheets made by Animal Intestine and Gelatine. This bundle cost around Rs.10000/-.Animal Intestine are changed in to like that.

The fellow who was making Varak did not allow me to take picture or video of it.

I wonder,why this Varak is used in Temples??

If you are interested to know more about Animal free life style and diet.You may visit my website also.

We are running a Vegan Education Center at Indore.

Manish Jain

Neena Jain

11/10/2005 10:21am
Silver Varak

Unfortunately from my research on silver varak recently did state to me that it is not suitable for vegetarians as they do use cows/ox intestines to beat the silver. As far as hindus are concerned we do not eat beef and to make varak they do use cows/ox intestines which according to my research if you put the varak under the microscope you will find traces of blood, stool and saliva of a cattle/ox.

7/11/2005 09:55pm
Chandi varak

Hi ! I am amazed by the research done by people like Ravi, Mamta Manish and Neena and Hardik about the Chandi varak and how its not good for purely vegetarains, Since I am in USA, (where you don't get much sweets) I never thought about this.But today when my husband and one of our friend(we allour vegetarian) raise this question, I found ou that infact it is purely NON-Vegetarian. I am really shocked.

I don't know what people in India are serving on the name of religion and vegetarian. God Bless India and Indians.

Request-Please don't eat chandi varak or use , anyway it is not giving you any nutrition. And a question of common sense that gold and silver itself are so costly, how can normal shopkeepers (mithai wala's) afford them.

Thanx .Best Wishes.


29/11/2005 02:52pm
Chandi varak

This is a very nice discussion. I was just debating with my wife on this Varakh production process. She was insisting that she read it somewhere but it was hard for me to believe it as everybody said it is offered to god. But after searching on net and reading this forum I had to agree on this.

Nice work guys who have posted here and who is working to get rid of this non-veg Varakh.


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