Thandai is a native & popular cold drink in India and is traditionally prepared as a religious offering to Lord Shiva on the occassion of Mahashivratri and also during Holi (the festival of color). During these festivals it is also mixed with Opium (powder or paste) to make it an intoxicating drink. We will not do that here :)
There is no equivalent word for Thandai in English but you can consider it a refrigerant because it helps keep your body cool.
Every year we celebrate Mahashivratri at home and make this divine drink (in reality we make it anytime, because it tastes so good). Therefore this recipe is native to my family but I will be honest, most of the ingredients are just common and process is just shifting of steps here & there.
I love this drink over any unnatural (made using essence and chemicals) drink because it is all natural and healthy, packed with protein, health fats (a.k.a essential fatty acids) and fiber.
Once you had its taste, I am sure it will become your favorite summer drink, even kids love it.
Preparation Time: 3-4 hours (only for refrigeration)
Cooking: 15 mins
Vegan: No (Try almond milk or Soy, I have not tried it though)
Lets make this divine drink.
UPDATE July 23, 2013: I have found a very detailed article about the health benefits of Thandai, now you can enjoy it even more without any guilt ;-). Check it out here: Time Of India. I noticed they mentioned pumpkin seeds here instead of Melon seeds.