Wow, to say that the heat is on in Rajasthan would be an understatement! The sun is a scorcher and even the evenings and nights are becoming unbearably hot. With the temperatures rising all across the state, I penned an article for mydestination.com which gives an account of an eclectic mix of local drinks which helps in beating the heat, the Rajasthani way!
Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.
The summer is truly on in Rajasthan. It is when the state actually reels under the scorching sun with the temperatures hovering between 40-45 degrees Celsius at most of the places.
It is also a time when the traveler can stumble upon the best of deals and discounts be it accommodation, food or shopping that are on offer in this vibrant and colorful state. To be “Summer Ready” in Rajasthan, you need to take a lot of fluids and drinks.
Below is a list of top 10 drinks that help you overcome the heat in Rajasthan.
1) Aam Panna– Aam in the local lingo is mango and panna roughly translates to water. This readily available, tangy yum drink is made from raw green mango pulp in which sugar, rock salt and a variety of spices are added. It has great therapeutic value as an anti heat drink and helps fight the effects of summer. Many restaurants also serve aam panna as a welcome drink.
2) Ganne ka Ras- Simply put it is sugar cane juice. This refreshing drink and its vendors can be found not only in cities like Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur but virtually in all nooks and corners of the state. Sugar canes are crushed in the noisy roadside crusher machines and the fresh juice thus obtained is spiced up by adding a few “masalas” and a dash of lemon. Add ice cubes to it and Ganne Ka Ras becomes nectar for many a thirsty soul.
3) Makhaniya Lassi- A creamy yogurt based drink Makhaniya (creamy) Lassi (butter milk) is a wonderful quencher that gives you respite in the sweltering heat. Yogurt is mixed in ice cold water and blended after adding sugar till it becomes thick in consistency. This is then poured into a glass and is topped with homemade cream and garnished with cashew nuts, pistachios and saffron. Shree Mishrlilal in Jodhpur is renowned for its Makhaniya Lassi, the world over.
4) Nimbu Shikanji– What better way to rejuvenate one’s self after enduring a hot day, than a cold glass of Nimbu (lemon) Shikanji (juice), the ubiquitous simple “Lemonade”? The local version is spiced up with black rock salt and is readily available all across Rajasthan. The aerated variants in different colors and flavors are also as popular.
5) Bael Juice– Bael is a hard shelled fruit that has great medicinal values and considered to be sacred by the Hindus. Also known as Wood Apple, the juice of this fruit is a known cure for heat strokes and digestive disorders. The pulp of the fruit is scooped out from the hard shell and mixed with water. Then the mixture is sieved and the juice is collected. Sugar/jaggery, rock salt and ice is added and the drink is served chill.
6) Chaach– This soothing salty butter milk drink is similar to a lassi but a lot lesser thick with more water content. It is very good for digestion and acts as a coolant for the body during summers. Salt and cumin seed is usually added with fresh coriander as garnishing.
7) Gulab Sharbat– A traditional cooling drink. the Gulab (Rose) Sharbat (Syrup)is again a widely available drink in Rajasthan. Places like Khamnor near Haldighati are known for their rose farms and “gulkand”, a sweet preserve of rose petals as also its Gulab Sharbat. Rose petals are crushed and then boiling water is poured on them and this mixture is then kept overnight. Sugar is added and the drink is served with crushed ice.
8) Jal Jeera- A popular summer beverage, Jal (Water) Jeera (Cumin) is an appetizer as well as a digestive drink. Roasted cumin seeds are powdered and to it are added dried mango powder, ginger, dried leaves of mint and coriander, rock salt and a little lemon juice. This mixture is then blended well and added to cold water. It is served chilled usually with garnishing of boondi (small round fried chickpea balls).
9) Thandai– A milk based tasty summer drink, thandai has many variants but the Rajasthani Thandai is just superlative. It is a delicious concoction of a variety of nuts like cashew nuts, almonds, pistachios, poppy seeds, fennel seeds, cardamom powder and sugar which is blended with a little water into a creamy consistency. It is then strained through a sieve and added to cold milk. It is garnished with strands of saffron and served chilled. Shops in Nathdwara serve some of the best thandai in the state.
10) Beer– And finally to beat a scorcher what better than to have a chilled beer but then Rajasthan has more to it than just Beer. No??
So, relish your choice of drink and beat the heat the Rajasthani way, during summers in this “Hot” and happening state!!