Thandai Indian milk drink (Aka Holi Specialty)

India is a country of festivals, and Holi is the second most celebrated festival in India. It is usually celebrated around March, and according to the Indian calendar it is on full moon day in the month of Falgun.

This two-day festival is popular with youngsters and adults alike, as everyone enjoys playing with vibrant colors and gathering around bonfires. On this day people unite, rejoice, and resolve to forget all resentment and animosity. 

The wise men of ancient India wove together a sense of wellness, love, friendship, the balance of the seasons, and an appreciation of local food, so food is also an integral part of festivities.

Thandai works as an instant coolant as the temperature soars high and is a traditional drink during Holi. It is a refreshing and healthy well balanced energy drink which sets the mood to be playful. Sometimes it is said that if Thandai is laced with Bhang, a person can get intoxicated, inspiring them to sing and dance.

Thandai ready mix is also available in powder form, but I love the taste of homemade thandai.

Here is a quick recipe of Thandai.




Prep time


Cooking timeminutes


  • Pinch of saffron

  • 2 tbsp of gulkand -rose petal jam

  • 2 cups fresh rose petals – few to garnish

  • 4 cups milk

  • 4 tbsp sugar or according to taste

  • 30 almonds soaked

  • 4 tbsp fennel seeds

  • 4 tbsp poppy seeds

  • 4 ground black pepper

  • 2 tsp cardamom powder

  • Fresh fruit can be added (optional)


  • Grind all the ingredients in a blender and make it into a paste. Add in milk and maybe fresh fruit. Blend till smooth.
  • Let it chill in the refrigerator for a few hours. Strain it before drinking. Add vanilla ice cream or ice.
  • I usually like to garnish with fresh rose petals or Gulkand.