Devotees of Lord Shiva in Rajasthan drink 'bhang'- an intoxicant drink made of milk, dry fruits, and cannabis leaves. "This programme is organised every year and people from across the country come here to participate. 'Bhang' addiction is different from addiction of other intoxicants. After consuming, a person only thinks of Lord Shiva," said Bhootnath, a devotee.
The drink is made by mixing milk and crushed dry fruits with the buds and leaves of cannabis paste made in a mortar with pestle.
"This mixture has five kilograms of almonds, two kilograms of pistachio, milk, saffron. Minimum 10 to 15 thousand rupees are spent and then proper bhang drink is prepared," said Madan Jerry, a participant.
The devotees consume the paste diluted with milk in small metal pots and jugs. They consume the heady drink in the belief that it helps to concentrate in Lord Shiva's worship.
During the ongoing Shrawan month (July - August) in the Hindu calendar, various festival and events dedicated to Lord Shiva are organised.
'Bhang' has become synonymous with one of major festivals 'Holi' to the extent that consuming the bhang drink at that time is a norm in north India. By Jethmal Sharma