The city of Ujjain is famous worldwide for the temple of Mahakaal. The temple located in the city is believed to be since time immemorial and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Just a stone throw away from this temple, there is more than half a century old shop selling Bhang(Cannabis) and thandai. The old person manning this shop is doing it for 54 years and has attained a sort of perfection in his job. I think he is enjoying his job to extreme. I chanced upon to meet this gentleman recently and also a chance to savor one of the best thandai ever.
It’s a small shop only but the way old man does his job, is so rhythmic and so enchanting that you can not be, but impressed by his perfection and devotion to what he does. The Bhang is said to be favorite of Lord Shiva and his devotees not only offer its leaves to Lord, but also consume the paste of its leaves on regular basis. The Cannabis leaves and buds of female plant are intoxicating in nature and not everybody can handle them. I therefore asked him to prepare thandai without mixing cannabis. I have drunk thandai in old Lucknow many a times and also drunk the ready made thandai syrup mixed with chilled milk too. I was keenly watching however, the way he prepared his signature thandai.
The man at the helm of affairs was a devotee of Lord Shiva and had put elaborate tilak on his forehead. On our request of 2 glasses only (other group members were hesitant), he spread the white cloth attached to a bucket and softly folded it a bit. then he mixed a white paste of almonds and cashews, fresh butter cream and curd. Then he rubbed it with his hands and mixed some curd and sugar powder and few other ingredients. He meshed it again with his hands inside the cloth. The mixture thus was getting filtered through the cloth into another deep pan placed just below the cloth. Some ice was added too. He then got a slice of mango to add to the mixture and added the milk along with. All the ingredients were rubbed inside the cloth once again. All the ingredients finally got filtered down to the deep pan. Now the yellowish white milk liquid was poured into glasses and the top of them was laced with drops of kevda (Pandanas Syrup) and saffron. It was now ready to drink.
The whole process of its preparation was so tempting and mouth watering that I could not resist for even seconds to gulp it down. It’s taste was simply mind blowing and unlike any other thandai, I ever had. The whole process of its preparation and the rhythmic way, it was done had made it really a great coolant drink with a perfect flavour. The other members of the group watching the whole process curiously were too overwhelmed in the meantime and asked for them. The master started yet again, with the same commitment and with the same perfection. I did not think twice before ordering one more for me……..