Wednesday 25 November 2009

Jil Jil Jigarthanda

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.


  1. Sounds fascinating! I'll be sure to check that one out if I ever head that way, dear ;)


  2. Silver: You can even try making it. I guess the recipe is available online.

    Much love.

  3. Wooo Jigarthanda... wow what a name.. super marketing strategy.. imagine there is a tired thirsty person walking in scorching heat.. and then he sees a board.. JIAGARTHANDA... wow.. who wouldn't buy..the descriptions sounds awesome too.. have to have it.. don't see myself going to Madurai..But when I do.. I won't miss it.

    Thanks.. that was super informative!

  4. Yeah Sameera, it is sure tempting and vey very tasty. Maybe you can see if any food joint at your place sells it. But then, that will not be as good as the original one in Madurai.

  5. It sounds absolutely delicious! I doubt I'll ever be able to get out of the US, but if I ever get there you can be certain I would LOVE to try this drink. Wow.

  6. Yes Ma'm... will follow ur order not to forget to order glasses of Jigarthanda when I visit Madurai... I so want to see the Meenakshi Temple!!

    So nice to have u back Sus, missed u.

    So tell me abt ur thesis work in detail some time... in Eng lit or is it a combination of the arts subjects


  7. I love the name, too!!

    Cold, cold heart! :D

    You know it sounds kinda like falooda made fluid..

    yummmy!! :)

  8. Ashes: Please do go and see the temple. The place where they sell this is pretty close to the temple. Yeah, its nice to be back home and get down to blogging.

    You've got mail. Hope you saw that.

    Blue: After a long time. Glad to see a comment. Hope you are well. Missed you. yeah it even looks like Falooda but the taste is very different.

  9. Hi Susan,Just hopped over from Ashes- I lived in madurai for close to 30 years,my schooling,college all were from Madurai(naturally). Jil Jil Jigarthanda stuck a chord and brought back old memories of an old city where I spent my youth. Thanks.

  10. Govind: Glad that the post was nostalgic for you. Jigarthanda is one thing in Madurai that makes Madurai special. Otherwise I don't much like that place.

    Joy always.



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