If there’s one thing, I learnt in my trip to Madurai a few years back, was that the weather can transition from hot to sweltering hot in a matter of minutes in this ancient city. Which is why if you are out in the city during daytime, make sure you take a tip or two from the locals on how to beat the heat. At some point, you would be directed towards ‘Jigarthanda’, a milky beverage that is a summertime staple. Living up to its name (Jigar means ‘heart’, while ‘thanda’ is another word for ‘cold’), this beverage serves as a chilly respite in the scorching summer months. It is so loaded that it may also double up as a dessert. Speaking about its consistency, it could be called a cross between falooda and a very thick milkshake. It is topped off with homemade ice-cream. 

What Is Special About Jigarthanda And How Is It Made 

Jigarthanda makes use of many local ingredients such as the nannari syrup or sarbath and edible gum. Nannari sarbath is made by boiling nannari roots or Indian sarsaparilla. It has a very fresh, sweet-smelling aroma. Nannari also has a significant place in Ayurveda. Speaking of edible gum, there are many kinds that are easily available in the market. More commonly, it is the badam pisin or almond pisin that is used to give this drink a dense texture.  

Other key elements of Jigarthanda are the condensed milk, almost in the consistency of rabri and ice-cream made at home with natural ingredients. All components are mixed vigorously except for the ice cream that is added in the end.  


Jigarthanda belongs to the rich legion of South Indian summer drinks like panakkam and kulluki sharbath. It cools you from within and is a hit among all age groups. Have you tried the authentic Jigarthanda? Do let us know.