On this moonless February 12, Hindus all over the world observe Maha Shivratri, an auspicious day in the Hindu calendar.
Shivratri is a sanskrit word meaning ‘night’ and this is the day it is said Lord Shiva performs his cosmic dance of creation, preservation and destruction. The day is observed with a fast and is celebrated with a diya (lamp) lit all day and night.
This day is most significant for women — married women pray for the health and well-being of their families and unmarried women pray they will find their ideal husband. Offerings to Lord Shiva include fruits, flowers and milk.
On my recent trip to India, we went to a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in southern Gujarat. In mid-January, preparations for today’s celebrations were already underway, where we were told thousands of people are expected on this night.
According to one source, “the night of Shiva worship, devotees, prepare a drink called ‘Thandai’ made from almonds and milk, sing songs in praise of the Lord and dance to the rhythm of the drums.” Click here for more information.
Here is my version of Kesar Badam Doodh ~ Arvinda’s Saffron Scented Almond Chai Spiced Milk. I tried it in Jaipur, Rajasthan, served in a clay vessel. I’ve been craving its sweetness and richness ever since! It’s a perfect sustenance beverage, that’s dessert-like at the same time.