Being Indian

Holi hai, Festival of colours and much more

bhang3   During Maha Shivratri a friend from the west asked me if we can have a little Bhang as ritual… I was quite surprised because being a bambaiya, I was not aware of any such ritual. I tried sourcing some Bhang for her, asking facebook friends. Interestingly it was available closeby… specially during the period of Maha Shivratri and Holi. Bhang has been used in India since Vedic times, and is an integral part of Hindu culture. Sadhus and Sufis use Bhang to boost meditation and to achieve transcendental states. Bhang or cannabis is also used amongst Sufis as an aid to spritiual ecstasy.

One may not find it appealing in the narrow lanes of Mumbai but on the ghats of Banaras, a large number of men are engaged in preparing Bhang. The buds and leaves of cannabis are ground into a paste in a mortar. Milk, ghee and spices are added to the mixture. The bhang base is now ready to be made into a heavy drink, thandai, an alternative to alcohol, often referred to casually, if inaccurately, as “bhang thandai” and “bhang lassi”. Bhang is also mixed with ghee and sugar to make a green paste, and into peppery, chewy little balls called ‘golee’ (which in this context means candy or pill in Hindi).bhang1
Common preparation for bhang consists of first boiling the leaves and flowers of the female cannabis plant for a short time. Once the plant matter has become soft, it is mixed with “khas khas” or white opium poppy seed. The two ingredients are pulverized with a mortar and pestle for 30–60 minutes (adding a few drops of water). The paste is then mixed with water by hand and the mixture is poured through a straining cloth to remove all excess plant matter. The remaining green water is known locally as “bhang” and consumed as is. If taken in proper quantity, bhang is believed to cure fever, dysentery, sunstroke, aid in digestion, appetite, cure speech problems and give alertness to the body. This is what I have gathered from people who are supposed to be the authority in Ayurveda. The tradition of consuming bhang during Holi is particularly common in North India where Holi itself is celebrated with a fever unseen elsewhere. Bhang is heavily consumed in Mathura, an ancient town of religious importance to the Hindus. Here the practice is believed to have been introduced by the followers of Lord Krishna  and has stayed ever since. They begin the preparation by Sanskrit chants and recitation of prayers.


Cultivation of cannabis is government regulated, and illegal without a government permit. Sale of bhang is also government regulated and illegal without a permit. Bhang is illegal in any country where cannabis is prohibited as it is an integral ingredient of the recipe.

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So, what is the solution ? Someone shared some very interesting information. Only mix copper coin with thandai ….

Though , I have not tried it yet, you may… 🙂

Wishing you a very happy Holi….. with Thandai and lots of colorful wishes….

Ohhh…. Do you want to know how to make Thandai? Try this:

bhang 5

Homemade thandai and easy? Yes.
Here is what you need for making about 10 glasses of thandai…
ingredients…2 tsp fennel seeds (variyali / saunf)
1 tbsp khuskhus or poppy seeds
1/2 cup of cashew nuts
1/4 cup of almonds
about 15 whole peppercorns (you can mix black and white peppercorns both)
1 tbsp dried rose petals
a generous pinch of saffron threads
about 2-3 tbsp of chaar magaj tari ,  (melon seeds) is also added to this mix.
1/2 cup of sugar (or to taste)9-10 glasses of chilled full fat milk will be required to dilute the concentrate to make fresh chilled thandai.procedure: Soak all ingredients except milk throughly in a cup of water for minimum 2 hours.

Blend in your mixie or food processor to make a smooth paste. Add sugar while blending the mixture.

Empty in a jar, seal with lid and refrigerate this concentrate. If making fresh thandai for immediate use, dilute with chilled milk, blend again if you want it frothy and serve. Otherwise, take 2-3 tbsp of the concentrate, dilute with chilled milk to make a glass of thandai and serve.

To the same concentrate mix of thandai, add copper coin (by rubbing on the stone with this mix) Refrigerate or dilute immediately to make bhaang waali thandai. The regular thandai is also called kesaria thandai due to the use of saffron in it.

Bhang waali thandai has a very aromatic flavor of bhang, something relished by those who love it. But please dont forget that  it may put you in awkward situation. I ve heard so much about it but not yet tried though…

Now you realise how easy it is to make thandai at home. It doesn’t take much time or effort as well. more easier part is to bring ready made Thandai from the market.


So wishing you All Happy holi t and please do let me know whether you try this recipe !!




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