Being Women

Homemade Thandai: A Taste of Holi and Unforgettable Memories

Celebrate Holi with a refreshing homemade Thandai, a colorful Indian beverage made with nuts, seeds, spices, and milk. This flavorful drink is perfect for the festival and comes in classic or fun variations like mango or rose Thandai.

Let’s splash some colour with homemade Thandai this Holi!

Welcome to the vibrant world of Holi, where colours dance in the air, laughter echoes through the streets, and the aroma of homemade Thandai fills the air. This traditional Indian drink is not just a refreshment; it’s a celebration in a glass, perfect for spreading joy and creating unforgettable memories with loved ones.

Thandai – A Refreshing Delight for Holi and Beyond

Thandai, derived from the Hindi word “thanda,” meaning “cool,” is a delightful concoction of chilled milk, nuts, seeds, and spices. It’s a quintessential beverage enjoyed during the festive seasons of Holi and Shivratri, especially in the northern regions of India. While the classic recipe is a treat in itself, modern twists with fruit flavours and even a hint of cannabis (Bhang) make it a versatile and cherished drink. Let’s dive into the recipe!

Prepare to embark on a flavorful journey with this homemade Thandai recipe that will leave your taste buds dancing with joy.

Let’s Dive into the Thandai Recipe!


  • 3 tablespoons of almonds
  • 2 tablespoons of pistachios or cashews
  • 2 tablespoons white poppy seeds (khus khus)
  • 1/4 cup melon seeds (magaz or kharbuja beej) or pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons dried rose petals, rose water, or gulkand
  • 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black pepper
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Seeds of 4 green cardamoms
  • 1 pinch of saffron Chilled milk, milk-water combination, or almond milk Ice cubes


  • Rose petals, chopped almonds, or pistachios


  • Soak almonds, pistachios/cashews, poppy seeds, melon/pumpkin seeds, dried rose petals/rose water/gulkand, fennel seeds, and black pepper in warm water for at least 2 hours.
  • Blend the soaked ingredients with sugar, cardamom seeds, and saffron to a smooth paste. Strain the paste if needed and refrigerate in a closed jar.
  • To serve, mix 4 tablespoons of Thandai paste with chilled milk or almond milk and ice cubes.
  • Garnish with rose petals and chopped nuts. Voila!

Your flavorful Thandai is ready to delight!

Fun Flavours to Explore: Experiment with Your Thandai

  • Mango Thandai: Add mango pulp for a fruity twist.
  • Paan Flavour Thandai: Blend betel leaves with Thandai paste for a unique taste.
  • Strawberry, Litchi, or Chocolate Thandai: Indulge in creative combinations for a personalised touch.

A Splash of Memories: Holi Through My Eyes

More Than Just Colors

Holi isn’t just about colours; it’s about forging friendships, creating cherished moments, and reliving nostalgia. From joyful gatherings with friends to impromptu dance sessions, every Holi tale is unique.

From Kerala to the Grand Celebrations of Bhubaneswar

Growing up in South Kerala, Holi wasn’t part of our cultural celebrations. However, with shifting trends, the festival has found its place even in the serene corners of my hometown. Reflecting on my journey with Holi, one memory after another floods my mind, each vivid and cherished. The year 2012 marked a significant shift as we returned to India from abroad, landing in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Here, Holi wasn’t just a festival; it was a grand celebration of friendship, unbounded joy, and communal revelry.

The streets came alive with vibrant hues, laughter echoed through neighbourhoods, and hearts connected over shared dances and delectable feasts. I vividly remember the jubilant gatherings in our apartment complex. Women from different backgrounds and cultures would exchange colours and wishes, spreading joy and camaraderie.

Sonia Bhabhi’s rose thandai became synonymous with our celebrations, a sweet elixir shared among us.

My parents, who were once visiting during the summer holidays, could also experience the spirit of Holi. It was wonderful to see my usually reserved dad embrace people, wish them well, and enjoy smearing colours—a first-time experience for him. Even our fitness routines blended with festivity as we played Holi at my Zumba class with my dance mates, adding a lively twist to our workouts.

However, amidst the grandeur, it was the unique celebration during the COVID era that etched itself into my heart. We had gathered at Lipika Bhabhi’s home alongside her kids, Tishu and Yashi, and relatives and neighbours. Tishu was my daughter’s childhood friend, and that’s how I and Lipika Bhabhi became closer friends! Laughter, music, and shared drinks filled the air as we danced to masti songs on the loudspeaker, relishing the moment.

I had prepared homemade thandai in various flavours and refreshing aam panna as a gift for them, and we enjoyed that too! These simple gestures fostered connections, creating cherished memories despite the challenging times. As another Holi approaches, I eagerly anticipate celebrating with my friends in my hometown. Holi, for me, embodies the spirit of unity, laughter, and shared happiness, transcending cultural boundaries to unite hearts in a riot of colours and emotions. So, let’s raise a glass of homemade Thandai, toast to cherished moments, and sprinkle the colours of joy this Holi!

Happy Holi! 🎉🌈💜


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