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Thandai is a refreshing milk based beverage specifically associated with the Holi festival and Mahashivratri. This tradition is majorly a part of North India. It is also a summer drink as it is an instant energizer in the scorching summer heat. This drink is very flavourful and healthy. It is also popular in certain regions of Pakistan like Peshawar and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Thandai is very closely associated with bhang. On Holi, thandai is served along with bhang to intoxicate the beverage.


Thandai and bhang have become synonymous over the year. Laced wih bhang, thandai was offered to Lord Shiva. It was first used in India around 1000 B.C. It has developed to be an integral part of the cultural celebration of holi. It was consumed as a refreshment when people got tired playing holi and throwing each other in pond filled with color water.

Ingredients and Preparation

The most important ingredients of thandai are milk, almond, aniseed, fennel seeds, peppercorns, watermelon seeds, rose petals, cardamom, poppy seeds, saffron and khus khus.

Traditionally, a mixture of all the ingredients, except milk is made with a mortar and pestle. It is ground till fine and smooth. This mixture is added to sweetened milk and mixed well. Lot of ice is added to the drink and it is served chilled.

When making bhang thandai, bhang is separately soaked in water and ground. To increase the effect of intoxication of bhang, a copper ring which is rubbed well is dropped in the thandai. Or thandai is stored in a copper pot for 2 hours and served.

Health and Nutrition Facts

Serving size – 1 glass

Calories – 125 cal, Fat – 3 g, Protein – 2 g, Sugars – 20 g

Thandai is low in calories compared to other milkshakes. It is also a healthier alternative to alcohol.

The ingredients present in thandai have several health benefits.

· Fennel seeds have volatile oils which are known for its antioxidants, anti-flatulence, cooling properties.

· Peppercorn is considered as the king of spices, it has medicinal properties as it has piperine. It also has minerals like manganese, zinc, calcium, iron and vitamin A.

· Watermelon seeds are a source of energy, protein and iron. 1 cup of watermelon seeds provides 45% of the daily RDA.

· Rose petals have been known for their ayurvedic properties. They are very good for digestion problems and menstrual irregularities.

· Almonds are a rich source of vitamin E and are known for their antioxidant effects. They are good for brain and heart as they have cholesterol regulating effects.

· Milk is known as the best source of calcium and protein for vegetarians. It is also a rich source of micro nutrients like zinc, phosphorus and iron. Cold milk is known to be an antacid and have cooling effects on the body.

Miscellaneous Facts

· Thandai syrups are commercially manufactured by many companies like Guruji.

· It is available in Indian stores all over U.S.A. It is also being marketed by Deep Foods.