Now is that a tongue twister?!?!? I just returned from a three-day trip to Madurai, an ancient and renowned town of Tamil Nadu. I had to go there for doing field-work and collecting materials for my research. Now the research and other details will not be given importance in this post as much as the cold beverage Jigarthanda. Well, the name is quite funny and nice to pronounce. Jigarthanda can be literaaly translated into Hindi as 'jigar-heart and thanda-cold.' 'Jil Jil' is the tag which makes the name sound rhythmic and funky. The words 'jil jil' can be translated into Tamil as 'cool cool.' I would have definitely liked to dig into the etymology of the word but then I shall do that on some other occasion.
Now to the drink itself. If one goes to Madurai, one cannot return without having tasted Jigarthanda. I first learnt about this drink while watching a travelogue series on Madurai. This was long long ago. Even in Madurai only one or two places serve this drink. This drink is a blend of a sweet rose/sarsaparilla syrup, ice, kulfi ice-cream, a jelly made by soaking almonds and making a paste and thickened milk. A glass of jigarthanda costs about Rs. 10/- for a small serving and Rs. 15/- for a slightly larger serving. The resultant concoction is a delicious drink which melts into your mouth making you crave for more and more. This time I limited my consumption to a glass but during my previous visits, I allowed gluttony to take charge of me and had two-three glasses.
The shop which served this drink was not very crowded. I assumed that local people had grown a bit weary of the drink and given that it was not the crude and dry summer season, they kept away from jigarthanda.
Now you know when your travel itinerary includes Madurai, don't leave the place without having Jigarthanda along with witnessing the famous Meenakshi temple and the Tirumalai Nayakar palace.
Nice to be writing after a brief gap of about three (only three!!?!? Seemed like ages. Sigh!) days.