Before I tell you my tips on how to drink bhang lassi, 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 onhand-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”.
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.
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.
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: Pakistani Paranoia, I’m going to go ahead and coin that phrase now.
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. Acutally, 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!
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Rachel Jones is an American who left a career in nursing to live on the beaches on Goa, India two years ago where she is now a Thai masseuse, candle-maker, and travel writer. Her award winning website gives advice on the other 28 countries she's been to but has become the go-to site on India travel, focusing on off beat places & “glamorous travel”. Hippie in Heels has been featured in ELLE magazine & was voted by Flipkey as one of the top 25 female bloggers to follow this year. You can follow her adventures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google plus.
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