Pracura-guḍa-vikāraḥ svādu-śāl’-īkṣu-ramyaḥ prabala…
Siśira-samaya eṣa śreyase vo ‘stu nityam ||
 - 5.16 Ṛtusaṃhāra – Kālidāsa

Extending through mid-March, the cold and dewy Shishir season is known for being a combination of hot and cold. The intense rays of sun absorb the moistness of surroundings, leaving the environment devoid of moisture.

However, as the Earth cools down, it simultaneously gives rise to energy and a good appetite. You will crave for food that stimulates the senses of taste and smell, as the body generates enough heat internally to enable easier digestion, irrespective of the quantity and richness of the food. You’ll find recommendations focus on pungent, sour and sweet tastes, and include foods such as whole grains, wheat, gram flour, corn, jaggery and tamarind in meals.

According to Ayurveda, our eating habits are reflected in our temperament – and this season brings out the best of the Kapha body type. Kapha relates to mucus at a physiological level, or the “water” humor, which is responsible for cohesion, form and nutrition in body and mind and is linked to feeling, endurance, receptivity and inertia. It is not the best weather for the Vata type that delves with the “air” humor and propels all bodily functions and movements. As a result, the types of food recommended work toward stimulating senses like taste and smell, and help in reducing Vata.

A period that heralds change, you’ll find India celebrating Mahashivratri (on February 24 this year), a festival that not only celebrates the union of Shiva and Parvati but also heralds the beginning of the hot season, as well as Holi, on March 13 – the spring festival of colours.

As we invite you to partake of the Shishir Ritu meal at ITC Grand Chola’s Royal Vega up to March 14, like the Ritu Samhara quoted at the beginning, our wishes for you remain “Rich in sweets and lovely with its sweet rice and sugarcane…May this cool season always bode well for you”.