Tag Archives: India

Weather in India in October – India Someday
Weather in India in October – India Someday

Overview of Weather in India in October

What’s the weather like in India in October? It’s the beginning of winter. It’s also the beginning of the travel season. That means rates are still low, but climbing. The rain has just passed and it might be a bit hot. It gets cooler as the month progresses. Humidity is low, and that’s a great blessing. Up north, the winter is near. We’re basically caught between hot and wet and cool and dry.

Festivals in India in October

October brings with it a huge host of festivals. Navratri, Durga Puja and most importantly Diwali. You can’t miss these. Durga Puja in Calcutta is full of singing, dancing and culture. Diwali is an ethereal festival in Varanasi in particular. Light delicate clay lamps and set off fireworks with children.

Almost all of the country is accessible during this month. Only Leh-Ladakh is cut-off by the snow.

Since it’s the very beginning of the season, travel is cheap. If you can book in advance, you’ll save big. Indians are also travelling a lot because of the festivals. Try and avoid that rush. If you’re coming in for Diwali, book well in advance. Hotel rooms will still be cheap but travel won’t.

 


Weather in India in July – India Someday
Weather in India in July – India Someday

Overview of the weather in India in July

What’s the weather like in India in July? July is when monsoon is generally is in full swing. Heavy showers are seen all across the country. Lakes start to fill up. Rivers overflow their banks. It’s also the vital paddy transplanting season.

Since you’ll be travelling off-season, you’ll save a lot. Check out our blog on that to prepare yourself. Travelling off-season is quite a steal. You can stay in better hotels that promise a dry bed.

Where can you go in India in July?

If you want to see India at it’s peak productivity, visit in July. Yes, the constant rain and damp can be a bummer. But the rain also brings life. Everywhere you look farmers are hard at work. The cities may be dirty and flooded, but not the villages. Head into the heart of India, to see the rural side of life.

You can also go north to explore Leh Ladakh. North India can get hot between spells of rain. Humidity is at an all time high. The rain is unpredictable so keep your plans flexible. Pack an umbrella and rainshoes. Make sure to wear light clothes that dry easily.


Weather in India in March
Weather in India in March

What’s the weather like in India in March?

India in March signals the end of the winter season and the beginning of the excruciatingly hot summer. It’s still more likely to still be pleasant than April or May, though.

Where should you go in India in March?

It is a good time to visit parts of North India apart from Rajasthan. That means Amritsar, Rishikesh, Dharamshala. Anywhere in Himachal Pradesh, Shimla and Manali are also very pleasant. Hill stations were invented exactly for this reason. So climb those mountains and beat the summer heat!

South India starts getting hot in March.It won’t be as pleasant as January or as hot as April-May. The beginning of off-season means that it’s a lot less touristy and easier to travel. That means cheaper accommodation and travel and empty beaches. It’s not a good time to see the temples as it may get too hot.

Last but not least, the North East. It’s a great time to discover these off-beat states. Green , blossoming and bursting with culture. The food is delicious and the people lovely.

Festivals in India in March

March is also when the festival of Holi is celebrated and that’s an unmissable Indian experience. Colour, fun, food and just a little bit of intoxication. What more could you want?


Weather in India in August
Weather in India in August

An overview of weather in India in August

India has three seasons: Winter, Summer and Monsoon. Unfortunately, August falls right in the rain season which lasts from beginning or middle of June until end of September. This means that there can be heavy durable rainfall in most regions across India in August.

But even though it’s mostly off-season for tourism in India, it does not mean you can’t travel. India has more than one climate zone and one needs to differentiate between them. Furthermore, there is no such thing as bad weather, as my PE teacher used to say. There are only wrong clothes and an unsuitable attitude.

The main advantages of this time of the year:

  • You can get off-season bargains for hotels, even in the luxury section across your stay. Great time for backpackers!
  • You can enjoy most places to yourself with minimal number of tourists so your experience can be more authentic.

SOUTH INDIA IN AUGUST

Kerala and Goa usually receive very heavy rain during the monsoon. It does dampen plans of exploring the state of Kerala or relaxing on the beaches of Goa. When it rains, it will rain for hours, it will be heavy, and it may rain for an entire day. Then it can clear up for a couple of days and not rain at all.

However, the countryside comes alive during these months. It is gorgeously green and the rivers and lakes are teeming with water. Since it can get still pretty hot and especially close to the seaside very humid, the hill stations become popular destinations among domestic tourists. Wayanad, Munnar and Thekkady in Kerala offer lush green nature and mesmerizing views.

The rocky surroundings of Hampi where you can explore ancient temple and palace ruins of an empire long gone, might be worth a visit as it can get very hot and dry in central India during the rest of the year.

But  try to avoid visiting the state of Tamil Nadu in August. The rains during the first monsoon – Tamil Nadu faces a second phase of Monsoon in December –  these have been rather weak here over the last years so it can get still very hot and humid without the cooling effects of the rain.

Visit Goa and Kerala in August if you want to enjoy off-season discounts, stay at a lovely luxury resort for less than half the cost and enjoy having the place to yourself. Having a swim in the ocean might be a little dangerous due to the strong currents coming with the south-west monsoon but many of the discounted resorts have pools. Goa becomes very hilly and lush the further you travel away from the coast.

Here you can hike to the Dudhsagar Waterfall which is amongst the five highest of India but definitely the easiest accessible.

NORTH INDIA IN AUGUST

While Delhi, Agra, Varanasi and Rajasthan also receive rain during the month of August, the intensity is never the same as in South India.

Especially from the foothills of the Himalayas in the north down to central India below Delhi and Agra the showers are not as heavy and do not last as long. The temperatures cool down during the rains when it is cloudy and overcast and the countryside turns green.

In the Thar dessert of Rajasthan there might not be any rain at all. If it rains it is strong but doesn’t last long. After a couple of very hot months during the first half of the year the monsoon months bring some cooling moments to the region.

August can actually be quite a nice month to visit North India. It isn’t extremely hot thanks to the rains, there are off-season discounts for most accommodations and services, less tourist crowds and the pretty lush countryside. But every rain season is different and sometimes it can rain more and in some years droughts become an issue. It’s definitely more humid than in the winters.

 MOUNTAINS IN THE NORTH

August is a good month to visit Leh and Ladakh as the weather is clear with minimal or no rain. It can already get cold, especially in the second half of August so be sure to pack some woolen clothes.

The rest of Himalayas, i.e. Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Sikkim and Darjeeling  get a lot of rain during the month of August and landslides are very common. Rishikesh, Dharamsala and Manali as the most popular cities in this region often face lots of rain in August so outdoor activities are mostly impossible.

If you would like to go to Leh a flight might be a better idea than going by road.

All in all, it is possible to travel in August to India. If you enjoy backpacking with small spending and more authenticity due to less tourists, then August is the time for your adventure. Just pack a rain jacket and gum boots and be prepared to spend some time during heavy rains indoors with some ‘chai’ and a good book.

 


Weather in India in September
Weather in India in September

An overview of Weather in India in September

What is the weather in India in September like?

Most travelers don’t know it, but September is a great month to visit India. It marks the last month of the monsoons. It usually means lighter rains or heavy rains but only in short spurts. Overall India in September is drier and sunnier than the months of July and August. It is also the last ‘off-season month’ for hotels in India. Hotels in India offer fabulous discounts during off-season.

North India is drier than South India. Kerala can still receive persistent showers during the month of September.

Weather in North India in September

North India is a great region to visit in the month of September. The rains are usually light and in short spells. The countryside comes alive in shades of green, the rivers and lakes are teeming with water. The days are sunny and the temperature can vary from being pleasantly warm to hot. Never too cold, even at night.

Overall, the rains are hardly an obstacle in North India and more so in the month of September. Off-season rates, low number of tourists and sunny days make North India a great region to tour in September.

A lot of the touristy activities would not have kicked off yet. For instance, in Jaisalmer you may not be able to do an overnight camel safari as it is still off-season. All National parks in India only open towards the start or the middle of October.

Weather in the Himalayas in September

September is considered to be the post-monsoon month for the Himalayas. It means clear weather with no or less chances of rain and temperatures that are pleasant without being too cold. Visibility in the Himlayas of the distant peaks is best during the post monsoon months. (i.e. September onwards). September is a great time to relax at a Himalyan hill station or set out on treks.

Weather in South India in September

Depending on which part of South India you are touring you will encounter either little or a lot of rain. Kerala is usually still very wet during the month of September. Very pretty as it is very green, but heavy rains are common. Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are usually dry during the month of September. The days are sunny and hot.

Weather in Goa in March

September is quite an in between month to be in Goa. It can be wet, but showers are not as heavy. You can get a week of little or no rain and very sunny days too. However, the waters are still rough during the month of September. South Goa is still very dead as it is off-season. North Goa would slowly be kicking into action with shacks, restaurants and activities opening up.

India Someday recommendations for traveling in India in September:

With off-season rates and a lower number of tourists, September is a great month to tour India. North India and the Himalayas would be the best region to tour. However, a South India tour of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka is perfectly possible. One can still look at spending a little time in Kerala and or Goa as it can be very pretty.


Seeing India by train—Five great routes
Seeing India by train—Five great routes

 

India has the largest rail network for a single country in the entire world. Every single major metro is connected and a couple of million unknown villages as well. It costs a fraction of what you’d pay an airline. A space that big is bound to breed a culture of its own and so it does. With its intriguing meal-order system, the instant bonds that spring up with your co-passengers, lining up to spit out your toothpaste in the tiny metal sink in the corridor—it’s all part of the Great Indian Rail Adventure. There’s no better way to watch the Indian public in their element, and you’re sure to meet a lovely family that’ll take you under their wing and stuff you full of their tiffin snacks. You can find out more about the classes and food and planning the route from our other posts.

We’ve put together five Indian travel routes that rely heavily on trains to get you between places. It’s advisable to have all your train tickets booked in advance, and you can feel free to contact us for help with that!

1. Classic North India

Delhi – Varanasi – Agra – Jaipur – Jaisalmer – Jodhpur – Udaipur – Delhi 

(Route on GoogleMaps)

Start from Delhi, the teeming capital and branch out first toward the ancient spiritual town of Varanasi. From here, you have all f Rajasthan’s vast deserts ahead of you, so a little meditation now will do you good. Meander through Rajasthan’s most beautiful cities, Agra, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Udaipur. Each city is a backpackers dream, and will require a minimum of a few days to explore all their colourful alleyways. The best part though, is sailing through the sand in your (preferably A/C) sleeper car, buying pyaaz ki kachori (onion stuffed fried snack) and tomato chaat from the vendors that pop up outside your window. You can also be sure to meet a lot of fellow travellers long the route, all the better to swap stories with over a game of cards on a long night on the train.

Trains – You have four overnight trains and two short day trains. Jodhpur to Udaipur can also be travelled by bus

When to go – August to April

2. All along the coastline

Mumbai – Goa – Gokarna – Wayanad – Calicut –  Cochin – Varkala 

(Route on GoogleMaps)

This is a slow approach across India’s beautiful western coastline. Your trains will pass over great wide rivers and palm-fringed fishing villages, with all the land to one side of you suddenly giving way to the endless ocean. Make pit stops at some of India’s most famous beaches on your way.

Catch your first train in Mumbai city, a façade of business and bustle that hides a sleepily beautiful history. Next stop, party central! Take your time in Goa making sure to hit all the great raves but to also understand the mysteries of its natural bounties. Take a breather a Gokarna, every bit as beautiful as Goa, but a lot less busy. Finally crawl your way across Kerala from top to bottom, stopping wherever you feel, because you really can’t go wrong in God’s own country. North Kerala is often ignored, but is a beautiful non-touristy region of Kerala. Pristine beaches, hills, and forests.

This route takes you mainly on the Konkan railway belt, one of the most beautiful railways routes in India, relaxed, tropical, hassle-free and safe.

Trains – Can be done with a mix of day and overnight trains. However, it is recommended to take as many day trains as possible as the routes are very scenic.

When to go – October to April to enjoy sunshine on the beach. The monsoon months have their own charm, and the landscape reaches peak greenness in September.

3. North to South

Delhi – Amritsar – Dharmshala – Agra – Udaipur – Mumbai – Goa – Kerala

(Route on GoogleMaps)

Take it all in in one shot! Right from Delhi, the home of the Punjabis, stronghold of the North, all the way down to beautiful Kerala ripe with bananas, beef and South Indian pride. This will be one of your best opportunities to really compare the often starkly different cultures of the country, and long distance trains have a tendency to get people talking! Watch the scenery unfold from the Golden Temples of Amritsar to the rubber forests of the ghats as you pass through some of the nation’s most vibrant cities. Delhi is only a teaser of the Punjabi culture that will grab you up in a hearty bear hug in Amritsar. Head up to Dharmshala for spiritual guidance as much as for the view. Agra and Udaipur will shower you in gorgeous architecture and Mumbai will hustle you up the greatest food you ever dreamt of. Then it’s a downward spiral through the ever blossoming beauty of Goa into the sunshine soaked-backwaters of Kerala. Give this route time, at least 3 to 4 weeks. You’re going to want to add more stops in between.

Trains – rely mainly on overnight trains, some journeys may last up to 20 hours without a break.

When to go – August to Aprli

4. Heading East

Delhi – Agra – Khajuraho – Varanasi – Darjeeling – Kolkata 

(Route on GoogleMaps)

Follow the mighty Ganges! Hit up the unmissable Delhi and Agra before steeping back in time at the temple town of Khajuraho.Take the toy train up to Darjeeling for some quiet time in the tea capital of the world before moving on to Kolkata. Point of interest—Kolkata is rumoured to have some of the best railway-side fast food in the country. That means steaming hot earthenware cups of chai, sticky, sugary sweets, overstuffed kathi rolls and spicy aloo chat. Take full advantage.

Trains – Again a mix of overnight and day trains

When to go– August to April

5. North India via short day trains

Delhi – Amritsar – Rishikesh – Agra – Jaipur – Jodhpur – Udaipur

(Route on GoogleMaps)

If you’re not up for the overnight long hauls, here’s a way to take in the scenic route in small doses. Each journey varies from 4-7 hours, so it’s a great chance to sneak in some nap-time, too. Most of the cities are in the Punjab-Rajasthan belt, except for Rishikesh. Nestled in the foothills of the Himalyas in Uttarakhand, it’s a deeply spiritual city perched on the banks of the Ganges and a good place to visit if you’re travelling to find yourself.

When to go– August to April


Weather in India in December
Weather in India in December

India in December is laden with festivals and holidays and never a moment to spare in between. As the North gets out its winter wardrobe, the sultry cities of the South simmer down to a perfect temperature. Sunny afternoons are capped off with cool, sweet evenings. Beaches are flooded with soft breezes and the deserts of the north grow cool.

The North-Eastern monsoon will just be weaning itself off the East Coast, so factor that into your plans as well. The first month of the tourist season comes with a corresponding rise in prices. It’s all worth it because of the weather alone. If you’re booking through us, we’ll even ease the price hike.

Where to go in December

If you want to focus your stay down South, it’ll be very pleasant. Check out some of the beautiful ancient cities like Hampi that lie away from the coast. They can be impossible to visit in the summer.

If you can carve out two weeks for the trip, you can try this route.

It’s also a great time to explore the deserts of Rajasthan. The temperatures can drop quite sharply at nightfall so be warm. If you have something ambitious in mind, like a long trek, now’s a good time. December means not having to worry about dehydration or heat-induced headaches. If that sounds interesting to you, you can read more about it here.

If you still feel the itch to travel but can’t decide if it’s the right time, drop us a line. You can contact us at thinkingindia@indiasomeday.com and we’ll give you all the help you need.


Weather in India in May
Weather in India in May

AN OVERVIEW OF THE WEATHER IN MAY

The Indian Summer begins in mid march and lasts till mid June. Normally the first thought while travelling in India in May, would be that it would be extremely hot. And though that is right for most parts of the country, there are few destinations which are perfect to visit in May.

The golden triangle of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur should be avoided unless you have the spirit to endure 45s (Centigrade). Yes this does mean missing out on the Taj but there is always the next time. The Coastal regions of Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu are hot and humid but for people looking at tanning out in the sun could not ask for a better time. t is also considered off season so you might get a bargain at some of the hotels. The best region to travel would be the Himalayas in the north or North East. The roads to reach  Leh and Ladakh would just about be opening and the mountains have the perfect weather. If you are keen on spotting a tiger and able to bear the heat then the summer months have the best probably.

What to wear in Summer would be light and comfy clothes, cotton shirts and pants or even linen are ideal. If visiting the mountains specially Leh carry a light jacket. Its also best to carry a umbrella, cap and plenty of sunscreen.

SOUTH INDIA IN APRIL

TAMIL NADU AND KARNATAKA

South India is hot and humid for the entire duration of the summer.  the humidity might lead to some rain showers if you are lucky, but the only way to escape the heat is to head towards the hills in kodaikanal or Conoor. The coffee plantations of coorg and the national parks of Kabini are also great during May. Overall the weather can be a little energy sapping but there are enough cities to visit.

KERALA AND GOA

Kerala is famous for its beaches and backwaters. But in the summer it is better to visit its rainforests (Wayanad) and tea plantations (Munaar). The hotels do offer great offseason discounts, so just picture a warm sunny day, with you sipping a cold drink while lazing in the pool in one of the many boutique hotels in Kerala.There is no better way to enjoy the natural beauty of Kerala. The beaches of Varkala or  Marari are also a good option to get a nice tan this summer.

Goa, is always a good destination to visit, and though the hotels might not be operational and some of the famous restaruatns closed for offseason, goa always has something to offer. The Summer is a great time to explore the rain forests in Goa and even the Dudhsagar falls

HIMALAYAS IN APRIL

The Indian tradition in this time is simple. You should always head straight for the hills.  And by hills we mean the Himalayas. The enormous range is bathed in sunlight and as the snows start melting you will see plenty of waterfalls.  The temperatures are nice and pleasant ranging from 15 to 25 degrees.

Head to Himachal, Uttarkhand, Sikkim or even Arunachal and experience the sweet cool air caress your hair as you climb through scenic hairpin bends. Hardwood-floored homestays will greet you with open arms . You’ll find not only sweet tiled-roof cottages but also local chocolate and wool sweater economies. You’ll find whitewashed chapel and serene Buddhist monasteries at every turn You can even ride a toy train to reach the summer capitals of Darjeeling and Shimla. Escape tourists in quaint villages of Shoja, Kotgarh in Himachal or Itmenaan in Uttaranchal.

You can visit Leh and Ladakh, but the roads to Pangong or Nubra would probably not be open yet as the passes would still be snowed in. Kashmir though is very easily accessible, and it is flower and cherry blossom season.

NORTH INDIA IN APRIL

The temperatures in Varanasi, Rajasthan, Delhi and Agra in general are in the mid forties. We recommend to avoid these regions during the summer as the high temperatures,  these are accompanied with some unpleasant winds. Though in case you wish to stay in the luxury hotels and palaces you can get some fantastic discounted rates.

May is also the ideal for tiger safaris. So Ranthambore or Kanha or Bandhavgarh are national parks worth visiting. As the safaris are often early in the morning or in the late afternoons, you would never really be in the scorching afternoon sun.

TO SUM IT UP

Visit Leh and the Hiamlayas in May. Next look at visiting the tea plantations in the North east  or in Kerala. And let North India (Delhi, Agra, rajasthan) be a destination you visit later on when the weather cools down. Let us know if you are planning a holiday to India this May and we can customize your trip for you.

 


Introducing your kids to India
Introducing your kids to India

India’s a big fan of families. We’ve never been big on individualism and the family is seen as the epitome of our great institutions. Travelling with your pack means that you’re already one step closer to blending in to the culture and you’ll find yourself better equipped to experience a country that is designed for family life. For example, most hotel rooms won’t charge extra for children to sleep in the same rooms as their parents regardless of whether it’s a two person bedroom or not. The same goes for restaurant deals and entrance fees to local attractions. You’ll also be able to avail of endless “Family offers” that basically toss you bulk deals at cheap prices. First you can refer to this excellent series of blogs by Gregor ad Sarah from Canada on their own experience carting three kid under the age of 15 across the country for two whole months. There’s more here, here and here. Beyond that, we’ve listed some tips specific to travel in India:

  • Eat a lot: India has no dearth of diverse snack foods to keep the kids pumped up, but you might want to avoid the spices or the street food in view of their more delicate digestion. Of course, you don’t want your child to completely miss out on what is a big part of the Indian experience, so maybe let them have a small bite, but keep medication handy. Remember that not many restaurants here have a kid’s menu because people tend to order a few common dishes for the table and then share them.
  • Hydrate: Yes, it will be hot. Long walks and museum tours aren’t going to help the situation. Carry bottled water with you everywhere, and always mix in a spoonful of flavoured glucose for the kids.
  • Carry distractions: The chances of you getting bored in India are pretty slim, but who really knows how kids work? Make sure you have books or games to keep them occupied before they wander off.
  • Keep them within your sight at all times: This applies to any sort of travel, but India is exceptionally crowded and often fast paced. Hold hands, and don’t feel ashamed of tying a little string around a littler one’s wrist if it makes you feel safer. Bright shiny objects will call to them from everywhere and you’ve got to be vigilant.
  • Sleep well: Constant travelling means that you can let them drop off on buses or trains between destinations, but this won’t be as restful as a good night’s sleep in a soft bed. In India, the good news is the hot afternoons drive everyone in for a deep nap after a heavy lunch, but the bad news is that mosquitoes and insects rule the night so stock up on repellent.
  • Buy your own groceries: Apart from bottled water, you might want to have some milk and cereal on hand for a tender stomach. India has a lot of trusted packaged brands so you don’t have to worry. Opt for a packet of our beloved Maggi instant noodles after a long day.
  • Be flexible: Leave buffer spaces in your plans in case someone catches a bad cold or wants to hang out at the zoo a little longer. There’s a fair chance they may decide that they just don’t want to see another fort and demand to know where the promised tigers are instead, and you might find that you can actually accommodate that. Don’t rush things.
  • Stroller etiquette: India’s not the best city to bump your baby around on wheels. Pavements are often poorly laid or simply non-existent, and many buildings may not have lifts. Opt for a baby carrier if they’re still small enough.
  • Make a trial run: Take your kids somewhere nearby for the weekend just to determine how they feel about being away from home, how much you need to pack and how travel affects them. If you’re preparing for India, introduce them to some of the foods in the comfort of your own home to see how they react.
  • Encourage them to make friends: Your kids probably want to get away from you after two weeks in the same hotel room so keep an eye out for possible companions. From fellow travellers to local neighbours, it’ll be great for them to see someone their own age for some time, and if it’s a local, they’re more likely to learn about Indian life from them than another tour guide.
  • Don’t abandon the familiar: Do they have a favourite brand of peppermints not available here? Carry them. India can often be a wholly alien and often confusing environment for children so it’s good for them to see something from home.
  • Get a doctor’s opinion: While some visa offices make you take certain shots before you leave, your paediatrician will be better equipped to give you a personal opinion on what you should prepare your kids for. Bring your medication with you along with a copy of the doctor’s prescription in case of customs hassles.
  • Attend workshops: Kids prefer doing to seeing and India can be quite accommodating of this. Not only official workshops but even a street vendor or an auto driver will be quite happy to explain things to children and even may let them try their hand at it.
  • Plan nappy changes in advance: Don’t expect to pull into any highway pit-stop and find a changing station. You’ve either got to improvise or look up restaurants and hotels with these amenities in advance. Shopping malls are usually a good bet, but don’t be afraid to lay your baby down on a clean cloth near the washbasins in a pinch.

Let us know if you’ve had any child-friendly (or not so friendly) experiences that we can add to the list!


Quench your thirst in India this summer
Quench your thirst in India this summer

It can get really hot in India. We don’t even have the luxury of heat waves, we have heat tsunamis. Last year, temperatures soared into the high 40s (that’s a 110+ in Farenheit), and although global warming might have meddled in the last couple of years, it’s always been hot.While most rush for the mountains as the first bead of sweat trickles down their backs, the rest of us must make do with rickety fans and iced juices. And in true Indian over-achieving spirit, we’ve stuffed them full of life-saving goodness.

Nimbu Pani

Also known as shikanji in Noth India, it’s just Plain Jane Lemonade at first. Then you add a little bit of salt with the sugar, soda for bubbles, crushed mint leaves for colour, maybe ginger for flavour (but not in the summer, it has heaty properties) and top off the froth with a sprinkling of chaat masala. This will be your summer staple, particularly in western and northern India. You’ll find it at 10 rupees a glass on every street corner, though we’d recommend going someplace with tables and requesting mineral water be used in the process.

Jaljeera

A further take on the humble nimbu pani, it’s laced with a cumin based mixture that gives it a salty kick. The more posh households will serve it with a topping of boondi–tiny balls of deep fried dough that soak up all the delicious juice and transform into soft, succulent little miracles.

Tender Coconut Water

Available across the country but the pride and joy of South India. Huge stacks of coconuts lie piled up on carts and makeshift stalls on every lazy roadside, a rubbish bin overflows with discarded shells and straws. It’s the healthiest and most delicious option around with the added bonus of slimy coconut flesh to sink your teeth into. The real reason it’s a winner though, is the long and elaborate performance by the Nariyal Paani wallah (coconut-water man). First you’ll be asked to declare your preference–a coconut heavy with flesh or still tender with water. He’ll then swiftly grab at a few in quick succession, tapping with the back of his knife and listening keenly for a nuance that only his finely trained ears can recognize. Suddenly finding the perfect nut, he’ll set it firmly against his thigh and commence slicing through the hard exterior to create a pointy tip, which he will then dramatically behead, stab with a straw and dump in your hands with a theatrical flourish. How can you say no?

Chaas/Lassi

Born from the same humble curds, these brothers are dramatically different on your tongue. The first is buttermilk, watered down curd spiced with salt, chopped up green chillies, mint and coriander, churned to a froth and sprinkled with chaat masala. The second is thick, smooth and sweet, the still heavy curd laced heavily with sugar or jaggery and often flavoured with strawberries or mangoes making it more of a milkshake.

Aam Panna

Born of the flavour of the season-mangoes, this drink captures the cooling properties of the raw kairi before it becomes a fat ripe mango, known to cause heat boils. The assured freshness of the ingredients, combined with the mangoes natural fortification with vitamins gives this drink, flavoured with salt and spices a particularly medicinal edge. It’ll be pressed upon you by well-meaning aunties across the country, fretting at the sweat on your brow and declaring you dead of dehydration without their help. Also rumored to prevent tuberculosis, anemia, cholera and dysentry.