Sunday is Holi, and the fun, frolic or merrymaking is incomplete without bhang (cannabis). Though it is not openly sold in stores, bhang is discreetly sold all over the city under euphemisms like minar, mango churan and munakka. Starting with South Mumbai, it’s available in powdered form at Babulnath Temple. This is the most potent but safest form of the intoxicant. Prices start at Rs 300 (half kilo).
Next stop is the Mumba Devi temple at Bhuleshwar. Says local Jay Agarwal, “You get the purest form of bhang outside the temple. In the temple’s vicinity, there are numerous sadhus who will even tell you how to make a good preparation.” In the same locality, the substance is also sold in narrow bylanes in the form of crushed leaves costing Rs 30 for a packet. These leaves can be mixed with water or milk.At Grant Road near the Sheetal showroom, local paanwallas sell bhang in the form of minar tablets and mango churan. Other places in South Mumbai include an ayurvedic medicine shop outside Mumbadevi Temple, and one near Surti Hotel, Bhuleshwar. You can also find it at paan shops around Bhavan’s College, Chowpatty. Madhavbhag paanwalla, near Kothari Hospital, sells it in a silver pouch called munakka.
Moving on to the suburbs, most of the bhang stalls are located around Andheri. A paan shop close to Santa Cruz station (West) laces paan with bhang and even sells it in pure form. A paan shop outside Andheri station, in the McDonald’s gully also sells it on Holi. Muchchad Paanwalla opposite Andheri Sports Complex is as famous as its Breach Candy counterpart. Other places include the Old Lokhandwala Complex, next to Twinkle Apartments, a famous paanwalla next to Shiv Sagar in the lane of Mocha, the Juhu-Andheri junction, Seven Bungalows, a paan shop next to Jewel Junction, Shatranj near Nana Nani Park, Rangeela Paan House, Tilak Road, Ghatkopar (East), SV Road, some sweetmeat shops in Malad, outside Goregaon station at a mithai shop that sells it in thandai and in Andheri (East) in the cowsheds.