Everything you need to know about finding and trying bhang lassi in Varanasi, India. Includes tips on where to get it and how to be safe.
Edibles. Space cake. Happy. Special. All different terms meaning the same thing: food with weed in it.
And that’s precisely what bhang lassi is—a type of marijuana-infused lassi famous throughout India.
Before you get your panties in a twist, know that bhang lassi is actually legal in some places in India! True to India’s wildly illogical nature, though weed and hash are illegal to possess and consume, bhang lassi is mostly fine. Go figure.
Bhang lassi is also commonly consumed by Shiva devotees on special occasions. They believe that consuming bhang will help them to better worship and understand the Hindu god. Naturally, since Varanasi is a city of all things holy and sacred, that means bhang lassi (amongst other bhang delicacies such as laddoos and pakora) is legal to sell and consume in the city.
Of course, you’ve already found this article, so you probably already knew that. On to the real question…
Where to find bhang lassi in Varanasi
There are plenty of places where you can find “special” lassi on the menu in Varanasi. Whether or not the lassi actually contains bhang (and only bhang) is another story.
Our choice: We followed locals to the renowned Badal Thandai on Gowdolia Chowk. It’s a grubby green hole-in-the-wall without much in the way of English signage, but it has everything you want. They serve up bhang lassis, but they also serve bhang ki thandai, a sumptuous milk drink (with weed, duh) that Varanasi is famous for. Highly recommended! One medium-strength drink will set you back about 50 Rs.
Near Assi Ghat: there’s also Green Lassi, another tiny street side lassi stand with a friendly owner, though this one has a few more tourists as clientele. Special lassis are about 50 Rs. here, too.
Looking for something to smoke instead? Check out our guide to weed in India!
Foreigner’s choice: Your last big alternative is Blue Lassi, another hole-in-the-wall famous with the foreigner crowd. They offer a million and one different lassi flavors ranging from pomegranate to banana chocolate, and bhang lassi is one of the options. You’ll have to ask for it, as it’s not on the menu. Their bhang lassi is the most expensive at 350 Rs. (As usual with places recommended by the Lonely Planet.)
How strong is bhang lassi in Varanasi?
That could vary. Some people drink a light lassi and have their heads blast off. We had a medium-strength thandai each from Badal Thandai, and were pleasantly high for about 6 hours. Far more manageable than we expected, given past experiences we may or may not have had with edibles.
My high was a bit longer (and stronger) than Sebastiaan’s since I’m smaller.
Want to know more about travel in India? Check out our other blog posts on this magnificent country!
So I just drank bhang lassi in Varanasi. Now what?
Well, your head is probably going to fall off in 10… 9… 8…
Nah, joking (or am I?). Now you need to be patient. You can expect the drink to kick in within an hour or two, and it will be a gradual shift in mental state. Don’t go drinking another one because you’re not feeling anything yet!
I suggest you buy a big bottle of water and wander on over to one of the ghats. Find a nice, peaceful spot up on the steps where you can watch people pass by without having to deal with too many touts—interactions with people might be difficult at times! Settling near a chai stand is highly recommended, bonus points if they also sell samosas.
A boat ride is another option, though be sure to bargain for the boat before the bhang hits. The boat touts are sharp, and will most definitely prey on you if you’re too high to negotiate properly.
Tips for staying safe and sane with bhang lassi in Varanasi
I don’t care how many joints you’ve puffed in your glory days—if you’ve never eaten anything containing weed before (or only ever had a mediocre brownie that didn’t actually do anything), be cautious with bhang lassi. Marijuana is significantly more potent when consumed. The high is much heavier, and lasts much longer.
To keep yourself from going nutty and/or falling into the Ganges…
- Start small. If you’ve never taken edibles, have a light lassi. You could even share with someone.
- Be patient. It takes an hour or two to kick in, depending on your size, gender, metabolism, how full your stomach is, etc.
- Carry water with you, and keep on drinking. Staying hydrated on drugs is always a good idea.
- Don’t drink alcohol. You’ll get sick. I promise.
- If possible, let someone you trust know what you’re doing in case you find yourself in a pickle and need some assistance (or need help buying more snacks).
- Note down where your hostel is so you can find your way back if necessary. Take their business card, the phone number of the owner, or mark it on Google Maps.
- Watch your belongings. Tourists have fallen asleep from the high and woken up with empty pockets.
- Remember, weed cannot hurt you. You cannot die from marijuana use alone. If you’re high and feel like you’re dying, NEWSFLASH: you’re not, you’re just high as balls. Keep reminding yourself it will pass with time.
- If things get too intense, go back to your hostel and listen to some chill music and/or go to sleep.
- Take it easy, and enjoy the ride!
Disclaimer: Don’t do drugs. Unless you just can’t help yourself. In that case, make sure to do them safely and intelligently, and have fun in the process 😉