Before I tell you my tips on how to drink bhang lassi in India, I want to paint a little picture of Rajasthan… but since there ARE photos in this post (lol) feel free to skip ahead, I suppose. Rajasthan is a very unique state in India. In the desert, with buildings that blend in with the sand, you’ll see painted elephants in the streets and ATM’s that are constantly out of money (this happens more often than you’d think!). You feel like you’re in a movie. Like you’re really far out there and no one can find you. But, they can find you. It’s quite touristy, but as I’ve said before, Who Cares!?
Mostly vegetarian, the food is superb and the shopping is even better (including great deals on hand-beaded wall hangings).While touring through the majestic town of Jaisalmer, looking at the men with bright turbans smoking charas in a chillum (like the guy below) or drinking opium tea along side the road, I came across a “Government Approved” Bhang Lassi shop.
On menus across Rajasthan, Bhang Lassi is referred to as “special lassi”.
Tom Maisey govt. bhang shop
Keep in mind most towns in Rajasthan, like Pushkar, are very holy. You can’t have items like eggs, and you definitely can’t have beer. So what is bhang? It’s a form of cannabis put in a fruity yoghurt drink.
- Read more: how to have the PERFECT 3 days in Goa
Sadhus, who openly partake in smoking hash. It is not taboo here.
Cannabis is part of the culture in India, partially thanks to the powerful god, Shiva, who loved his cannabis plant along with his pet cow. It is confusing what is OK and what’s not in India, especially rules on how females can dress, considering one can get hash in a restaurant but girls can’t show their thighs.
Like many articles, I must make a disclaimer: Don’t do drugs! Even Bhang Lassi! Now in the off chance that you choose to ignore me and partake in the
delicious dangerous drinking of special lassi…
Here are my 15 tips for bhang lassi in India
1. If you don’t like yoghurt, ask for a special Coca-Cola or Fanta.
2. While you’re there, grab some green cookies. They aren’t suspicious at all. Just kidding. They are very suspicious, so just in case eat them discreetly. It’s a tricky law where you can’t buy and sell, but officials seem to be looking the other way. Best to not take your chances showing the whole world your cookies.
Reuben Strayer bhang
3. On your first try, even if you think you compare to Bob Marley in tolerance, get a “light” lassi. They make them very strong. It is not the same as smoking and bhang side effects can be stronger.
4. Do NOT take this alone. I have heard from travelers that they drank one, fell asleep, and woke up without a purse.
5. You are asking these vendors to put a drug in your drink. You are at their mercy, and you are taking a risk that they could add anything else they want; you don’t know their bhang recipe and what else they might add. As another option, you can try to make your own lassi at home or partake on Holi with locals you trust.
6. Buy from government approved shops, not street vendors.
7. Do NOT by any means drink bhang lassi before your camel safari. This is just a no-brainer… right? Possible complications due to bhang effects include: almost slipping off your camel, wobbling for an hour, thinking it’s hotter than it is, feeling like you’ve been on your camel for days, and worse thinking that you are in danger in Pakistan since during my trip 6 years ago, a couple of tourists had been killed there at that time.
8.You, as a foreigner, should not partake in smoking/drinking on the streets like the sadhus (holy men) do. They are worshiping and/or helping free their people from sin (I’ve been told mixed reports) and you clearly are not.
9. Do NOT think this is the same as smoking a joint. It isn’t. You may be loopy for hours.
10. Do NOT think that because you ate a brownie once, you are the master of all drugs edible. Do not underestimate the powerfulness of bhang drinks.
11. Don’t drink lassi on an empty stomach, and try to stay outside.
12. I don’t even know why I’m typing this… but don’t give a sip to a child or animal. I don’t know why this would EVER happen, but for some reason I feel obligated to type it.
13. If you have forgotten a few cookies and taken them on a bus/train/somewhere that you get searched, first of all you’re a silly person. Second of all, remember that this is India and ask “How much is the fine?” The best way to nonchalantly offer a bribe. Does this make you ethically innocent? Nope, but it can easily keep you out of trouble.
14. If you are in India during Holi, there is a huge increase in Bhang intake, and everyone and their father are on it. Although I’m not advising you do drugs… Holi is a fine time to give it a whirl.
15. If you see cannabis growing on the side of a street, don’t steal it. It could just be a nuisance in someone’s garden OR, in somewhere like Malana, you could get in a lot of trouble from locals (so I hear).
16. Get travel insurance! If you’re reading this considering taking bhang while here, then you are a bit of a risk-taker. Risk takers especially should have insurance. Health care in India is expensive, and a broken wrist for instance at the hospital could be 1,000 USD or I’ve heard of a bladder infection being 2,000 USD for two days on IV drips. Get a quote and see if you can afford it.. and if you can’t, maybe put off your trip until you can. It’s pretty cheap.
Ok, that’s enough tips on bhang lassi. So here’s just a little summary in case you weren’t paying attention.
Keep in mind this is a mind-altering drug. Use common sense. If you are nervous about taking it then DON’T. I don’t suggest this to anyone who has never smoked anything other than a cigarette. Actually, I’m not suggesting it at all. I’m just giving tips in case you decide to drink it. “Cause I’m a cool mom.” Remember that weed is accepted in India because of religious beliefs. Do not be so carefree about other drugs. Be safe and be smart!
Excited for your India trip? Check out my other articles on India. If you click that link, you’ll get to all my India articles from booking trains to packing. I cover just about every subject! Here are a couple posts to start with:
- My India Guide and Tips Ebook Read what’s inside here. It’s my ultimate guide and if you only read this guide, you’ll be SET on your first, second, and even third trip to India.
- How to find the cheapest flights in India (fly to almost all the tourist cities for just $200 in total)
- How to get your visa for India
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Great tips, agree with all of them. Also it might be a good idea to stay with the government approved shops like you say. But street vendors are everywhere. Usually if there are lots of people in a shop, it means that it must be a popular place.
I’m glad you agree with the tips! You’re right a long line is usually a good one to join
was it hard ?the process to get there ? i know you have a section here the process … but please i have questions ?
Very interesting… never heard of this before but seems like something fun to do if you use common sense and you’re safe while doing it!
Yeah, it’s best to do with friends. Even at home with friends is better.
Had never even heard of Bhang Lassi before, certainly intrigued now! Some good tips here though.
Yes, it’s a very interesting drink !
Hahaha. You are a cool mom.
I am not going to incriminate myself but I was in Delhi for Holi in 2013 and it was awesome. Another tip for those who do not know, it can also have opium in it which is especially popular at farmhouse parties/ private parties. I chose not to partake in that batch. Your comment about giving it to children is humorous to me as, from my experience, everyone drinks it on Holi- people of all ages from the 75 year old to the 5 year old. Obviously this can not be good for the young brain and seeing little kids all messed up on it was an interesting sight. I would suggest it on Holi for sure as long as you are with friends in a fun, safe atmosphere. Another great post! You make my travel fever even worse with every word and tip you write and I love it!
You’re right about the kids on Holi. I think some of the village kids here in Goa even had some. It’s a little strange to get used to! I’ve heard of people being tricked into drinking ones with opium, so it’s good to be very careful! Thanks for your comment :)
Obviously in the supermarkets in the UK you can just by a Lassi, my favourite is the mango. Super creamy. Maybe next time I go to Ind¡a I´ll ask them to put a bit of “Bhang” in mine…haa.
My mates just got back from a massive South East Asia backpacking trip and they had a similar thing in Thailand, the only differnece is that they didn´t know what was in it. I think an “Awkard evening” hashtag is applicable here.
Thumbs up on the post!
Not knowing what’s in it is scary business! Especially in SE Asia. Bhang is something worth trying while in India though. I personally don’t like lassi so much and had mine in a milkshake :)
Be carefull, because in Thailand a special lassi / happy lassi / happy shake or happy pizza (yes they do make happy food wijt it as well) mostly contains lsd… So yes of you don’t know what’s in it, this might cause an ”awkward evening”
Never even knew this existed. Useful to know….;)
Ha! Great tips – especially the one about not consuming one of these before a camel safari. Having done a camel safari in Rajasthan, I totally agree!
haha yeah, it made it an interesting experience- plus I had no idea my bum was hurting so bad because of the bhang! The next day, I was like wtf did that camel ride do to me!?
I was curious by the title of this post when I checked out your home page. It gave me a chuckle when I read this. You are right about using common sense. Simply put, it is the difference between jail and freedom.
Does Indian yoghurt taste different than American yoghurt?
Ha, this was a great read!
I have to admit that I’ve never heard of Bhang Lassi before, it’s true that we never finish to learn. Thanks :)
yeah true! its a very interesting drink!
Amazing photos, I can’t wait to go to India in September. Really useful tips aswell
Thanks Zeke. You’ll love India!
I will be in Mysore during Holi, I just realized, and thank you for the tips regarding this. I have severe milk allergy here in the states, and although I am interested to see if I have a severe allergic reaction to dairy in India – I also do not want to find out – so it is particularly useful to know I can get special Coca-Cola or Fanta there instead of special lassi.
Yeah you can! It tastes like crap haha but it’s doable.
I can confirm what you say here Rachel, having tried one or *cough* 2 when I visited years ago.
I was on some roof top with a Canadian pal trying to play chess one gorgeous evening when we both began to feel the effects of a particularly strong lassi we’d each tried.
Couldn’t play chess because we couldn’t focus on the board squares, and couldn’t leave the building because the stairs appeared non-negotiable!
Lots of girly giggling though.
Hahaha I can imagine!
Great tips, thank you! I’m thinking of going to India this Holi so appreciate the advice :)
Love your advice and have just added Bhang Lassi to my bucket list.
Thanx for all the great stories
“Keep in mind this is a mind-altering drug”
— it is NOT a Drug. It is made from natural plants.
some could also argue heroin comes from something natural. to each their own… but whether it’s labeled drug or not, it is mind-altering.
Well in that case most of the drugs come from natural things. Just like how cocaine comes from cocoa leaf. But that does not make it natural. Because they are ‘produced’ and not used in their natural means. What makes it artificial is – The peeps figure out the chemical components and chemical structures and they create the same with artificial substances. The same reason why it’s so risky. Now they are ‘drugs’. Although cannabis is classified as a drug, it just is not.
I am from India..I just had my bhaang lassi today..feeling awesome
Haha. Very nice article. Have you tried any of the other sweets made with a bhang base? But if you want the best of bhang, I’d suggest you try the ones out in Punjab. I’ve heard that that’s the shiz. Cannabis is more of an emotion in India which explains why no matter what the government does or tries to imply it can never take cannabis out of reach from the people(considering it was legal till about 60 years ago). Although i don’t stand by using it for religious purposes , I do stand for using it for spiritual purposes or even recreational purposes. Have you tried Khasa khasa payasam( a sweet porridge like substance made with opium seeds)? It’s pretty famous here in the south.
Have a nice day :)
can you buy bhang in any city of India? Can you buy just herb itself or it always will be in food? I am intersted because of medical properties of cannabis: it treats cancer, diabites, it restores DNA, and list is going on and on. Check out video on youtube “Rick Simpson – Run from the cure”
no you can’t buy it everywhere and I don’t think you can buy it on it’s own very easily in even bhang-friendly places.
Hahahahaha!! LOVED the article… Informative and hilarious!.. I happened to be in jaisalmer when i read it..and the next thing i did when i headed out was go to the bhang shop… Have a mild lassi and then get some of the cookies packed too :D
Great article rachel.. :)
haaha good for you!
Great article! I’m planning a gap-year trip to India next year solo, so I’m trying to find out as much as I can before I leave! I have a question – I’m quite interested in trying bhaang, but I’m below the legal drinking age (I’m 18) in basically all states except Goa. Do you know if there are age restrictions when buying bhaang from government stores/elsewhere, like there are with regards to alcohol? And is this prudently enforced in India? I understand that young children even consume bhaang openly around Holi, but it could also be possible that buying laws are different to laws governing the actual consumption. Thanks! :)
I have never ever been carded although it’s 18 in some places and 25!! in others! lol
My God…I Read it toi late…I thought I was dead. ..
I ha a bhang lassi at Blu Lassi in Varanasi…fuck…10 hours ko…no more…expecially if everybody of the group drink it…fuck…
I smoke a little pot every night to sleep and recreationally. I have had one REALLY bad experience with edibles. I’ll bein Jaipur for Holi. How much bhaang should I drink for a milder experience? First timer!
Stumbled onto your lively site. would you be interested in doing a pilot for cable international distribution? I develop concepts for the american and international markets. do you have any videos online?
look forward to hearing from you.
You are so right about getting the light. I am from California so naturally I asked the shopkeeper in Varanasi to make it strong.
It knocked me in and out of consciousness.
Hi, I have been a keen bhang taker for many years and love the fact that you don’t have smoke to enter this new state of mind. I take it for its health benefits of course!
Made a similar mistake in Amsterdam after leaving a Brewery at 10:am pissed. Got hungry – bought hot chips with mayo and a small bag of dried shrooms. Got on a bus that did not stop for 3 hours fully tripping. Sure they pushed me up front near the door to get booted.
Hi Rachel, nice post here.
One more thing I’d like to add here, and this is specially for people who are used to smoking weed, but have never had bhaang. Bhang takes time to show its effects. Whereas you can get high immediately after smoking a joint, bhang may take say an hour before you start to feel different. People often think that the amount they’ve had is ineffective, and consume more and more, and when they realize their mistake, they’re tripping balls. My advice is take a small amount, wait for an hour or two, and then decide if you want more. Also, I hear pickle (‘aachar’ in Hindi) is a good antidote if you’ve had too much.
These are awesome tips! I am always trying to prepare myself for whatever situation I might put myself and I think reading this has definitely given me a more aware view on the ways that Bhang can be taken, as well as the cookies. Thanks for sharing!
I am travelling to Goa again very soon and after reading your article, and previously having lots of fun in Amsterdam with their cookies, I am interested in trying one of these drinks. How accessible are the in Goa? :) Courtney x
You won’t find in Goa most likely – it’s more in Rajasthan you’ll see this. In Jaisalmer. On Holi you can find all over India though.
Omg… I was cracking up reading this blog post… you are hilarious! I am planning a yoga & ayurvedic retreat in Rishikesh and will stay longer to experience the city afterwards. I was researching places to stay and what to do while there and came across your blog post on it. I followed a few of your links and this one in particular was so funny and informative. I lead spiritual journeys, and although this trip was going to be just me, solo, I think I have a few clients that would enjoy a ‘trip’ like this… thanks for the post. I will make my way to Goa at some point!
Awesome that you lead spiritual journeys – i’m sure a little bhang will only help! lol
It is quite strange how it is okay for Indian men to openly take Opium and Marijuana. And bhang is super super strong – even the mild bhang lassi. I’d say to women who are celebrating Holi with bhang lassi to be careful as many men take advantage of that. Interesting article thanks for sharing!
Yes, there is a sad problem here where men take celebrations as a reason to bother women a little too much!
Interesting reading. Born and brought up in Goa, I never thought it was available there. I always thought Mumbai was a place for Bhang Thandai. At least that’s what my mother who lived in Mumbai in her teens told me.
The subscription box isn’t purple any more! :D
muhahah I know! I can’t be bothered to go back to 600+ posts and erase that!! :p lol damn!
Hi Rachel, even though I tried bhang in banaras ,but I didn’t know it comes in coca cola and fanta flavor as well, so thanks for that information and also thanks for 15 pro tip to drink Bhang.
Hey, was wondering if you can help. I bought some bhang candy from a government authorized shop, they said it is ok to fly with it domestically in India with the Bhang shop card. Just wondering if that is actually true or not? Don’t want to get into a sticky situation at the airport. Any advice would be much appreciated! Thanks!
No, you cannot fly with it!