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Explore India's Thanda Funda With 7 Delights

June 15, 2023 12:30 IST
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India's many months of fierce summer necessitates the most jugaad kind of ways to cool down.

There is a therefore a huge culture of coolers, be they drinks or khane-ke-baad-wala-meetha-type cold desserts, served on the streets.

Fruit plates. Neebu pani. Ganna juice. Chunks of cooled watermelon. Raw sour-sweet mango slices. Kulfi. Gola. Falooda. And much much much more.

Each state has something unique to offer in the Chillin Department, which typically gives us a peek into such a variety of local food preferences.

As the blazing heat is mercifully beginning to recede in some parts of the country, we present the last round of summer drinks, unique cooling potions that are exclusive to 7 regions. Cheers!

IMAGE: Pune's Sujata Mastani. Photograph: Mayur Sanap/

Mastani, Maharashtra

Named after the warrior princess of Bundelkhand, whose beauty enamoured the mighty Bajirao, Mastani ice cream encapsulates Pune's Peshwai culture with its royal dessert feel.

It is a delectable combination of a thick milkshake and a big scoop of ice cream on top of it.

The garnish of fresh pieces of fruits, nuts, and syrup makes its sinful indulgence complete. This Mastani is mast mast for every occasion!

Please click here for the recipe for Puneri Mastani.


IMAGE: Kulukki Sharbat at Kerala's Alappuzha beach. Photograph: Mayur Sanap

Kulukki Sharbat, Kerala

A go-to local summer refresher, Kulukki Sharbat is a popular drink in Kerala.

Visit any beach or promenade and you will be welcomed by sellers inviting you to taste this sweet, spicy and tangy shaken lemonade.

This soda-based beverage is made with fresh lime or lemon juice, sugar, added flavours, basil seeds (sabja seeds), and, yup, a bright green mirchi!

One can choose an additional flavour from a variety of options ranging from pineapple, mint, and orange, to khus khus, strawberry, and lychee... Uff, the list is endless.

Kulukki Sharbat
Recipe by Ramanunni Nair

Serves: 2


  • 1 tsp basil seeds, soak for 5 minutesto soften and strain and keep seeds
  • Juice of 1 limbu or lemon
  • 1 green chilly, slit
  • 1 tsp crushed ginger
  • Ice cubes
  • 1 tbsp sugar syrup or to taste
  • 1 cup chilled mineral or boiled or filtered water
  • 2 tall glasses
  • Cocktail shaker
  • Soda, optional
  • Slices lemon, for garnish


  • In a shaker, mix the lemon juice, sugar syrup, soaked sabja seeds, green chillies, crushed ginger.
    Add the ice cubes and water.
    Shake well for 10-20 seconds.
  • Pour in the a serving glass with a slices of lemon.
    Add soda, if preferred.

IMAGE: The cinematically-mashoor Jigarthanda. Photograph: Kind courtesy: Srini297/Wikimedia Commons

Jigarthanda, Tamil Nadu

The milk-based beverage, which finds its origin in Tamil Nadu's Madurai, became famous all over the country thanks to actor Siddharth's 2014 Tamil blockbuster, Jigrthanda.

'Jigar' means 'heart’ and 'thanda' means 'cold' in Hindi, together it literally translates to cold/cool heart, suggesting the soothing properties of the drink.

It is a delicious mix of milk, almond gum, sugar, a unique nannari (sarsaparilla root) syrup, and ice cream on top.


Serves: 2


  • ½ litre milk
  • ¼ cup condensed milk
  • 1 tbsp badam pisin or almond gum, available for purchase online
  • Water
  • 1-2 tbsp sarsaparilla root syrup, or to taste, available for purchase online
  • Sugar to taste, 1-2 tsp or less
  • Scoop ice cream, any flavour
  • 1 tsp chopped mixed nuts
  • 2 tall glasses


  • Rinse and soak the badam pisin overnight.
    Badam pisin will swell and develop a jelly-like texture.
    Strain and keep the jelly.
  • Mix the condensed milk, milk, sugar together and chill -- don't add too much sugar because condensed milk and ice cream have sugar as well.
  • Add 3 tbsp of the swelled badam pisin at the bottom of a tall glass.
    Add 1-2 tsp sarsaparilla syrup.
    Fill the glass ¾th with the chilled milk mixture.
    Add a scoop of ice cream of your choice.
    Add a dash more sarsaparilla syrup on top.
    Garnish with the mixed nuts.
  • Repeat for the second glass.
  • Serve chilled.

IMAGE: The awesome Strawberry Cream of Mahabaleshwar. Photograph: Mayur Sanap

Strawberry Cream, Maharashtra

Synonymous with Mabaleshwar's dessert culture, strawberry cream is a must-have on every tourist's wishlist while visiting the gorgeous hill station. 

This exquisite dessert consists of fresh strawberries, whipping or heavy cream, sugar, and swirls of strawberry syrup as garnish.

You just cannot go wrong with this one!

Remember, not scraping the sides of the glass would be a grave insult! :)

Strawberry Cream

Serves: 1


  • 1 cup whipped cream
  • ½ cup strawberry puree or strawberry syrup
  • 5-8 fresh or frozen strawberries, sliced


  • In a mixing bowl, fold the strawberry puree or syrup with the cream.
  • Add a dash of strawberry puree or syrup to the bottom of a tall glass.
    Pour in the strawberry cream.
    Top with fresh slices of strawberry.
  • Serve chilled.

IMAGE: This is what Bael Shorbot looks like. Photograph: Kind courtesy: Deepti135/Wikimedia Commons

Bael Shorbot, West Bengal

Bael Shorbot is yet another fine example of the Bengali penchant for incorporating indigenous ingredients into their cuisine.

Packed with nutrition with a refreshing taste, bael or wood apple forms the backbone of this unique summer coolant which is a popular summer beverage in the eastern part of the country. It's a cinch to make.

Bael Shorbot

Serves: 1


  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup bael or wood apple pulp
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Pinch salt


  • Break open the exterior shell of the bael fruit and spoon out the flesh.
    Remove  the seeds and fibre.
  • Add some of the bael pulp to the bottom of your glass.
    Pour in the milk, sugar, salt into it.
    Stir it well until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Serve chilled.

IMAGE: Gadbad is a delightful fusion of sweet flavours. Photograph: Kind courtesy: Melwinenator/Wikimedia Commons

Gadbad, Karnataka

Who needs falooda when you can have Gadbad!

A yummy assortment of many things, Gadbad is essentially a more decadent version of falooda and it is very dear to the people of Mangalore and Udipi.

With layers of ice cream, jelly (jello), dry fruits, sometimes custard, and fresh fruits filling up a tall glass, this fusion dessert tastes as divine as it looks!

Recipe by Prasanna Shetty and Vishwanath Shetty

Gadbad, meaning confusion, is the perfect name for this dish, as it doesn't follow a fixed process or set of ingredients. If you were to visit two shops, bang next to each other, in the same city, you'd realise that both serve it differently and sometimes it is customised to suit your taste and revised as per your requirements.

Traditionally, you'd find these ingredients and it is upto you to mix and match as you please in a glass, in this order:

  • 1 scoop ice cream, any flavour, strawberry, mango, pista often preferred
  • Assorted chopped seasonal fruits, like mangoes, bananas, apples, pomegranate, grapes, cherries, strawberries
  • 1 more scoop ice cream (can be a different flavour)
  • Any flavour jelly or jello, strawberry is often preferred
  • Chopped nuts, like almonds, cashews, pista, walnuts
  • Chopped tutti frutti
  • 1 huge dollop of ice cream, any flavour
  • Cherry on top

It is served in a tall glass and comes with an equally tall metal spoon that goes all the way to the bottom of the glass so you can scoop in and enjoy the layers of goodness that have come together.

Photograph: Hitesh Harisinghani

Bhim Kol Sharbat, Assam

Made from a heavily-seeded wild variety of bananas, Bhim Kol highlights everything that's unique about Assamese cuisine.

This delicious, water-based beverage requires only a few, simple ingredients and it boasts many health benefits.

Bhim Kol Sharbat

Serves: 1


  • 1 bhim kol banana, sliced
  • 1½ cups water
  • Pinch salt


  • Simply soak a few slices of banana in water for 5-6 hours. 
  • Strain the water into a tall glass and discard the fruit.
    Add the salt, chill and enjoy this nutritious drink.
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