Isheeta Sharma

Chilled by the frost, a wind
does now shake the pepper vine
that is ripe and turning pale,
my dear, like a passionate woman
who from her lover is parted.

Ritusamharam: A Gathering of Seasons
Kalidasa (Trans. A.N.D. Haksar)

Hemanta is the season when the energy of the Sun and the Moon live in balance, creating a pleasant, comfortable environment. Kalidasa’s Mahakavya Ritusamharam describes the six seasons of the subcontinent in a charming, evocative manner. One of the things Kalidasa does beautifully in Ritusamharam is also view the seasons through the lens of the lovers. So Hemanta becomes the season when lovers retreat indoors, spending days and nights in each other’s warm embrace.

This is also the season when our digestive fire increases, as per Ayurveda. It is easier to digest heavy and oily food in Winter. Unctuous, salty and sweet food is recommended so as to stimulate all our senses. Another way to improve digestion and circulation in this season, as per Ayurveda, is to drink a little Red wine (three ounces at the most) daily. The traditional wine that Ayurveda recommended is called Draksha, which was also made from Grapes.

Consuming Til (sesame) is highly recommended as winter begins because it helps keep the body warm internally. Traditionally this is the season when Til ke Laddoo (Tilkut) were also prepared in abundance in homes to be eaten as an after-meal delicacy. Below is a simple recipe to make Tilkut at home.


  • Til (sesame seeds): 500 grams/4 cup
  • Gur (jaggery): 500 grams
  • Ghee: 2 tsp
  • Oil


  • Clean the sesame seeds properly.
  • Heat oil in a heavy pan (kadhai) on a medium flame. While stirring continuously roast sesame seeds till they turn light brown. Do keep in mind not to burn sesame seeds as they tend to burn instantly giving them a bitter taste. Take out the roasted sesame seeds and grind lightly or put it in a mixer and make it a coarse powder.
  • Break off Gur into small pieces. Pour 1 spoon Ghee in a pan and heat. Now melt Gur on a low flame, turn off the instant Gur melts.
  • Put the crushed roasted sesame seeds in the melted Gur and blend well. Til-Gur mixture for making Laddoos is ready.
  • Apply Ghee on hands and make the mixture smooth. Take a little (about 1 tbsp) of mixture at a time (mixture has to be hot while shaping the Laddoos). Make round shaped Laddoo and place it on a plate, similarly make Laddoos of the remaining mixture and place them on the plate.
  • Til-gur Laddoo is ready to eat. Keep the Laddoos prepared in open air for 4-5 hours then store them in an airtight container.
  • Suggestion: You can also keep aside 1/2 cup sesame seeds, make round Laddoos of the mixture and wrap them in the sesame seeds. Shape them with your hands and place them on a plate.

Recipe sourced from

Utpanna Ekadashi fast will be observed on November 22 this year. This day is significant as it is associated with the origin of the custom of Ekadashi fasts. As per an old legend it is on this day that Goddess Ekadashi was born out of Vishnu to protect him from the Asura Mur. Traditionally those who wish to observe all the Ekadashi fasts through the year start on this day. The ideal time to break the Utpanna Ekadashi fast is the next day on November 23 after sunrise.

Margashirsha Amavasya arrives on November 26 bringing Krishna Paksh, the waxing lunar phase to an end. The next day Shukla Paksh, the waning lunar phase begins with Pratipada – the first day of the lunar fortnight.

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