Bhang. The word itself smells of mysticism, spiritualism or just ecstasy. Use of Bhang is a well established practice among ascetics in India. It is also partaken as prasad of Lord Shiva who is considered as a formost ascetic himself.
Our first encounter with Bhang – Indian Cannabis – was when we traveled to Varanasi few years back. Bhang thandai in Varanasi is one of the “to do” things in Varanasi. We did go to the famous Kesar thandai shop very close to the Shiva temple but did not dare to experiment too much fearing the effects of it!
In fact, during the same trip, we had visited Ujjain but did not get time to explore the thandai. Last christmas during our long road trip to Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat, we happened to visit Ujjain. This time we did not want to miss out the Bhang experience!
After a quick darshan of Lord Mahakaleshwar the presiding deity of Ujjain temple, we looked for stall bearing the same name. The naming of the stall is an interesting coincidence as Lord Shiva being an ascetic is supposed to consume bhang. In fact, bhang is brought as offering to the lord at many places in North India. We asked a local guy on Mahakasleshwar Bhang Stall and he directed us to the place. Bang opposite the main entrance of the temple, it was an interesting place. A boy in twenties – may be the son of was making thandai. A group of people were waiting for their turn. It looked like most of them are locals and regulars. We four seems to be only people from outside.
Poorna asked the boy to make four thandais. It was interesting to see how the Bhang thandai is made. the boy’s hand moved swiftly and deftly to make thandai. This reminded us the way Blue Lassi was made in Varanasi.
We had actually asked him to reduce the quantity of Bhang in thandai. The thandai tasted very good. We joined a group of locals who raised the slogan in praise of Lord Bholenath and Lord Mahakaleshwar – names for Lord Shiva and emptied the glasses!
It was a good experience to partake the prasad of Lord Bholenath (Lord Shiva) in Ujjain, one of the oldest cities in the world!
Postscript – As we were drinking the thandai, we saw locals ask for balls of bhang. They just gulped it, drank water and left! When we asked the boy about it, he said the devotees of Shiva takes it as prasad everyday! We warn you not to do that! Bhang taken in high quantity will induce a high.
Did you like this post? Did you find it interesting? If yes, please share it with your friends by clicking the buttons on the side bar. Our endeavour is to share experiences.