Diverse cultures and pulsating colors define the best in India. Our celebrations are truly overwhelming when it comes to the spirit of loosing yourself. Festivals like Shivratri and Holi, a few days apart, cannot go complete without doping on bhang. For these occasions, the otherwise notorious marijuana becomes holy. Temples serve bhang ghota, which is taken as Prasad, at home grandmothers and mothers make pakodas out of bhang, and numerous dhabas and halwais serve meethais and sweet drinks, all with bhang as the main ingredient in them.
Holi is just around the corner, and if you’d like to delve deeper into its pre-historic importance and discover what makes Holi and Bhang (India’s Holi Marijuana) inseparable, here’s what:
As per prehistoric records, Bhang is often described as a natural intoxicant used by the primeval Indian societies in several Hindu festivals. Described as a beneficial herb in Hindu mythology, bhang is consider as parsad from Lord Shiva and was brought by him from Himalayas for human pleasure .This is a big factor why bhang is consumed by the popular Indian sadhus (followers of Shiva or Naga culture) in form of hash or weed as boost to meditation. However, the herb is considered as good natural medicine. For centuries it fascinated invaders from the western world and brought them to explore the difficult terrain of the upper Himalayas in their quest for quality marijuana.
The historical cities of Banaras, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Delhi, Mathura and Jaipur present a unique amalgamation of colors and Bhang during Holi. Banaras – the land of Shiva, is the hub of traditional bhang ghotas or thandai and people from different communities gather near Ghats to prepare and share the prasad on this festive day. Ghota is the most popular traditional drink prepared as milkshake with a paste of cannabis leaves and buds as the main ingredient. The drink is made more appetizing with sugar, different dry fruits and sometimes even ghee or spices are added for a tangy flavor. Foodstuffs like bhang halwa, bhang ke pakaore and bhang golas are special treat on the festive day of Holi.
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Like most other countries across the globe, selling or buying marijuana is illegal in India too, but it’s India and here everything can be done in an alternate manner. When looking for herbal medicine local vendors or the rickshawalas are the best options to firstly look out for. Even if they don’t have it, they will certainly have the address or information of cannabis dealers. Rates of marijuana fluctuate and the most common type of weed will easily be available in a range of 100 to 500 rupees.
In India, Bhang has been associated with several myths and even used for medication from centuries. Still recognized as an ayurvedic remedy, bhang is used as an intoxicant and is medical proven to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Moreover, the herb is a natural remedy for pain as it reduces the effect by soothing the nerves. Medical research has proven that consumption of cannabis is quite effective with aging health problems like skin wrinkles and arthritis. Due to its direct effect on blood and digestive system, bhaang improves digestion problems and can be an effective way to manage body weight.
Legal or illegal, cannabis is consumed all over the world in different forms, whether hash brownies, rolled papers or fascinating tulips. However, in India smoking cannabis through Chillum is the traditional way from ages and can still be prominently seen among Sadhus- the true followers of Lord Shiva. A chillum is conical apparatus that usually fits perfectly well within the fist. Generally, a chillum is made with clay by potters but can even by carved from marble, wood or metal. To smoke from chillum, the conical apparatus is filled with tobacco mixed with weed or hash and direct puffs are taken with a small piece of cloth at the end of it acting as a natural filter.
As discussed above, bhang is regarded as the prasad from Lord Shiva and even the hemp plant is considered sacred for several Hindu rituals. In the oldest city of India, Banaras, bhang lassi or bhaang thandai is famous beverage prepared from cannabis and milk for the festive day of holy. Malana, a small village in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh is famous for its top quality cannabis and the people here regard it as a gift from Lord Shiva. Unlike the other corners of India, where guests are welcomed with tea or coffee, in Malana, you are offered with a chillum as a sign of welcome. Similarly, in the tribal cultures of India, the herb is a symbol of happiness and a person under a spell doom is showered with hemp leaves as a therapy.