High on Bhang in Rajasthan, without being a nuisance

jaisalmer-130109-355When in Jaisalmer, do pay a visit to Doctor Bhang. Everyone knows where to find his ‘clinic.’ For a different kind of a high.

Prepared from the leaves and buds of the female cannabis plant, Bhang can be taken in many different ways. The most popular in north India is mixed with Thandai, a cool milky drink, or in pakoras taken on the festive occasion of Holi. The Government in Rajasthan has even made its sale legal. In fact, it is a source of revenue from those who successfully bid for the vending rights.

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Doctor Bhang, real name Chander Prakash Vyas but known popularly as Babu, is the third generation of a family holding these rights since the early 1970s. You can have bhang in many forms at his shop: in chocolates, cookies, sweets, buttermilk and juices. The dosage comes in ‘baby’ and strong portions; the former is for those just starting out. Or for Japanese and Koreans because they have small eyes, and they will not return if they can’t handle it says the ‘doctor.’

Does Bhang have any merits too? Oh yes, says my host. In his own words: It has full power, no shower, no toilet for 24 hours. It is best for long journeys, desert tours and camel safaris; instead of bobbing up and down, a camel ride will feel like a flying carpet. It elevates moods, even causing mild euphoria. It stimulates the appetite, and even serves as a mild aphrodisiac. A middle aged, doped out guy came to serve me the drinks; he turned out to be Babu’s grandfather. How does he manage to look so young? By having Bhang daily; he has not been to a doctor in 45 years. Incidentally, someone captured Babu’s sales spleen on video and posted on YouTube (see link at bottom); it ran exactly as he spoke to me also. Talk about being well rehearsed.

Babu warned me against trying Bhang in places like Varanasi and Pushkar though. They make it look better in appearance but mix it with Dhatura, a kind of LSD.  It can lead to blindness. Babu does not sell Bhang powder as people cannot get the dosage right; an overdose can cause craziness.

But I faced no such problem with Girdhari Lal, one of the seven authorized vendors in Bikaner. He happily sold me 100 grams of the powder for Rs. 100 (US$ 2). In fact, he only sells raw Bhang. He was also selling it wet, rolled up like a small ball, for Rs. 10 each. He was making this paste on a flat mortar stone which had developed a depression being in use for 50 years since his grandfather’s time. Girdhari Lal himself has been manning the stall for 35 years. The ball used to sell for five paise at one time. Don’t expect any discounts though; the annual licence fee of Rs. 800,000 (US$ 16,000) has to be recovered also he says.

I saw a customer popping in a few of these balls in succession; doesn’t he get a high and pose a hazard to others? No, said Girdhari Lal. On the contrary, Bhang calms the mind and makes it stable. It helps focus, reason why many lawyers and judges consume this regularly. It is good to sit for hours meditating to Lord Shiva. Unlike someone under the influence of alcohol, a high on Bhang means you will sit peacefully in one corner and not wake up in a drain.

Bhang is apparently more popular in holy cities because Brahmins, the holy class, are not allowed to consume alcohol or tobacco. And Bhang comes with the blessing of Bhole Shankar, or Lord Shiva.

Why does everything ‘not-so-healthy’ have a justification?

Doctor Bhang, real name Chander Prakash Vyas
Doctor Bhang, real name Chander Prakash Vyas
Doctor Bhang's dimly lit parlour where all preparations are served
Doctor Bhang's dimly lit parlour where all preparations are served
Girdhari Lal (sitting) at his shop in Bikaner
Girdhari Lal (sitting) at his shop in Bikaner
Girdhari Lal's mortar stone with its depression after 50 years of use
Girdhari Lal's mortar stone with its depression after 50 years of use
A customer at Girdhari Lal preparing to take the Bhang wet ball in
A customer at Girdhari Lal preparing to take the Bhang wet ball in
In goes the ball of Bhang
In goes the ball of Bhang
Washing the Bhang down with water
Washing the Bhang down with water




  1. Hey Ajay,

    nice article! I was meeting Dr Bhang regularly over years when I worked in the tourist trade in rajasthan and had to go with tourists on frequent camel safaris. Nothing like bhang to zoom out of mindless tourist blabber! With governments license, hope it’ll stay that way and won’t be repalced by another f… beer’n’wine shop!!!


  2. since smoking anything damages lungs,charas (hash,hashish) are not sold.Bhang is usually sold in wet ball form,hence it cant be smoked.The last time i ate two super strong bhang balls while entering Agra from New Delhi.My eyes grew bloodshot,my mind focussed but the thing is i couldnt stop talking :D.Also to note is that we couldnt visit the Taj Mehal that day since it was Friday and Non-Muslims are not allowed on Fridays! :( so we went to a nearby fort instead where my friends from north-east india(look like Koreans and Japanese) were asked to buy the ‘Foreigner’ price ticket by guards.After his long session of questions ,about my red eyes,my friends passports,etc, we managed to enter the fort in scortching heat.I think bhang should be legal everywhere in India.

    • I am not sure, but I think it is somewhere around Banthiyon ka Chowk which is around small market streets in old town. I know this might not be of much help but you could give it a shot.

  3. I am frm Jodhpur…
    one day me n my frnd try eating bhang from a authorites bhang shop.. we were eating bhang for first tym we buyied it in 40ruppes one ball each… We eat some food and then consumed bhang ball one each with water..
    aftr a hour we decided to go home… i started to feel high.. my mind started to work very slow.. i tried to sleep in my home.,, wen i closed my eyes then suddenly i got a feeling of my eyes moving rapidly left to right.. i was horrified jumped from my bed took a mirror n show my eyes were normal.. Then i decided to take shower n when i was in bathroom i was dowing same thing for many times… my mind was blank.. i ran from there n get dressed n then i tired my self to vomit n i vomited some how…
    then my eyes were blood shot.. n evry thing i was doing i was repeating and my mind was working slow… i ran to my mother n told evry thing ,,they took me to hospital there doctor checked my bp n it was 210
    my heart beats were so fast that i was hearing my every beat in my ear .. i was scaring hell out of my.. i can feel blood in my throat in my mout n everywhr…

    doc. immdiatly put me on all type of medi. n one capsupe tu decrse bp.. i was admited for full day i cant sleep for whole day then by giving me sleeping tablt i slept n was norml… aftr two days i was getting panic attacks n diffrnt types of anxiety.. for next 2weeks my mind was working slow i used to take time for evry thing…

    Then i visited a psychiatry n he is treating me from last 8months..
    i am normal now… I drink alchole n cigrt… n i hv a big no to bhang …

  4. Bhang is literally good,
    for newbies i’d say 20rs Goli is enough,
    as its like a good high, but for people who like getting High and love it, take 60rs bhang or 80,
    and you will feel so high that you will repeat stuff and go Super Slow, its so fun when its that,
    on part of Bhang helping in focusing,
    apparently yes its true it does help in focus but thats again for experts i rather shud say,

    Bhang is Available in Kota, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Bikaner,
    everywhere 😀

    any other Cannabis product can get you Jail Time, beware.


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