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Ice Gola Or Shaved Ice - An Indian Summer Coolant

Updated on December 20, 2015
rajan jolly profile image

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

Ice Gola


About Ice Gola Or Shaved Ice

Ice gola is a traditional Indian shaved ice dessert from Mumbai. also called variously as ice lolly, snow cone or Mumbai's slurpee, Mumbaikar's (those native to Mumbai) know it and call it simply as Gola.

Decades ago, as a child, I along with my friends would make a beeline to the golawala's (the person who sells golas) cart everyday, as soon as it was evening, to taste this sweet delight. This was a daily indulgence for us friends, irrespective of the day, and we eagerly awaited the arrival of the golawala.

Ice Gola

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the array of colored syrupsAn electric powered ice shaving machine
the array of colored syrups
the array of colored syrups | Source
An electric powered ice shaving machine
An electric powered ice shaving machine | Source

About the Golawala

The golawala ran his business on a wooden mobile cart which stood on 4 cycle tires that worked as its wheels. It was pushed manually by him while a bell was attached with a string for him to pull, (to make the bell ring) whenever he reached his usual spot. He would even ring it while he pushed the cart to let people know he was passing by.

The cart was lined with a row of glass bottles filled with syrups of various colors and flavors like orange, lemon, khus, etc. A simple raised wooden contraption to which a sharp blade was fixed stood on wooden supports on either sides, firmly fixed to the wooden base of the cart. This served as a simple ice shaver then.

Other than a dozen or so glasses, a few utensils, etc, and a big block of ice that was stored under the cart in a makeshift compartment covered with a heap of sawdust to prevent the ice from melting soon, there was not much of other stuff needed to start this small business.

How The Ice Gola Was Made?

How The Ice Gola Was Made Then?

To make the ice gola, the golawala chipped off a small block of ice from the ice slab. He then proceeded to work this against the blade forwards and backwards with one hand while the other hand simultaneously was placed below the ice shaver to collect the shaved ice in his palm.

When he had shaved enough ice to make 1 gola, he would cup both his hands together, punch a split bamboo stick in the center of this ice and then cup his palms and fingers together all the while rotating the ice and compressing it so as to give the gola a roundish shape.

Next, he would squeeze some lime juice on this then dip this ice gola in a syrup to coat the entire ice gola in one or more flavors (see this process in the video to the right here) or place this ice gola in a glass and depending on the customer's choice would start pouring various combinations of syrups on the ice gola while holding the gola by the stick just above the glass. The extra syrup would roll away into the glass. To the glass were also added black salt and lemon juice.

The ice gola was now ready to be consumed by sucking the syrupy contents off it and it had to be sucked from all the sides, to prevent the water formed by melting of the ice, from dripping down. When devoid of the syrup, the ice gola was dipped again into the glass of syrup and the process carried on.

This was fun, real fun, and being offered a gola was like being given a treat.

The Ice Gola Today

Today both the ice gola and this business have attained an elite status. There has been a marginal improvement in that, the mobile golawalas now use a hand cranked ice shaving machine making the job easier and having a wider array of colored and flavored syrups.

On the other hand, the huge potential in this business has brought in educated people who treat this as a proper business and work to provide better quality and variety. With the sprouting of many kiosks serving ice gola as well as bigger outlets also coming in there has been a sea change for the better in hygiene and service, the use of bottled mineral water for making ice and using real fruit syrups in place of the flavored ones.

The ice shaving machine is electric powered and new exotic flavors have also been introduced.

The ice gola that used to cost 10 paise (about 2 cents) about 40-45 years back now costs about 15-20 rupees ($0.3-$0.4) at the mobile vendor and about 30 rupees (about $0.7) at the minimum, at these kiosks and outlets

Writing about this topic was a trip down memory lane for me and I hope you enjoyed learning about the Ice gola as much as I enjoyed writing about it.

Thanks for reading.

Please Rate This Hub. Thank you!

4.1 out of 5 stars from 16 ratings of Ice Gola Or Shaved Ice-An Indian Summer Coolant

Ice Gola At Juhu Beach, Mumbai

Watch a Very Interesting Video Of Gola Making. He makes golas even blindfolded. Makes 15 golas per minute when blindfolded and 22 golas per minute when not!

© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Anyone have chuski in ganganagar rajisthan? Used to b a guy there who used a thicker version of the syrup and tasted much more sweeter and richer than the so called Gola.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      7 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Thanks Devika!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      7 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Ice Gola Or Shaved Ice - An Indian Summer Coolant interesting and looks so refreshing, a great thought here on ice shavings.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      7 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Au fait, glad you like the trip back in time and appreciate your sparing time to read and pass it on.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      7 years ago from North Texas

      I hope the golawala washed his hands often! I had my first snow cone when I was just 9. It was at the zoo in St. Louis, MO. Now they are common everywhere here where I live. I don't know about up North, but here in the South where it's hot, they are popular, but they cost a little more than yours -- about $1.75--2.00 and more for really exotic ones.

      Very nice story and I enjoyed reading it and learning about life where you grew up. Voted up, interesting, and will share!

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      7 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Yes, but still one can find them though gola has become a sort of sophisticated now with it being available in shops.

      Thanks for reading and sharing.

    • sweetie1 profile image


      7 years ago from India

      I used to like these what we call chuski when I was kid but over the years the guy who sell them have become very less so it is mostly seen in marriages now a days in Delhi. Very good hub. Going to share this one and voting up.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      7 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Thanks, Arun! Food to know you have fond childhood memories associated with gola eating.

    • ARUN KANTI profile image


      7 years ago from KOLKATA

      Rajan- Your interesting article brings back the sweet memories of our school days when we would crowd around the push carts bringing such mouth watering golas in different flavours.Thanks for sharing.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      7 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Thanks for stopping by, Alex.

    • mercuryservices profile image

      Alex Munkachy 

      7 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      Mmmmmm, refreshing! In Hawaii everyone has their own version of this frosty treat, but they simply refer to it as SHAVE ICE.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      7 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Hi Cookie,

      As children we loved shaved ice/gola and loved licking the streamed down colored water. Thanks for stopping by.

    • thehaplesshostess profile image


      7 years ago from PA

      As a child, I always loved the blue ones for their blueberry flavor and the blue tongue afterward. Where I lived, you could only buy them at county fairs, traveling carnivals or the big amusement parks that we had to travel for hours to reach. They were served in white paper cones that always leaked out of the bottoms, streaming the melted ice - and its vivid coloring - down your wrist and arm. The gola/snowcone/shaved ice is one of my favorite summer memories.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      7 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Thanks Girish. I'm glad to have reminded you of some good times.

    • girishpuri profile image

      Girish puri 

      7 years ago from NCR , INDIA

      Ahhh, Rajan, i am just imagining the cola taste of ice gola, your hub is very cool today, thanks.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      7 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      @My Cook Book-thanks and we all love having a gola in the summers. Thanks for sharing.

      @IslandBites-I agree it is a very much liked cooling dessert. Thanks for stopping by.

      @Suzie-I still love having the gola anytime I'm near one selling the stuff. Thanks for all the votes and sharing.

      @Natashalh-I don't know of anyone who does not like having a snow cone. Thanks for visisting.

      @Patricia- with modern technology, the old manual ice shavers have been replaced by electrically operated machines and it has had a new avatar as well. Thanks for the visit.

      @Nithya-glad you too have fond memories of having this much loved gola.

      @agapsikap-thanks for visiting and commenting.

      @pooja-I can understand how good it feels to have a gola during a hot day. Thanks for reading.

      @vertualit-thank you.

      @Mary-we have the electrically operated machines now and it is made into different shapes as well. The gola has come a lone way from those days. Appreciate you sparing time to read and share your thoughts.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      7 years ago from New York

      Amazing how some things are the same all over the world! Of course here our "snow cones" are not as elaborately made as your Gola! Machines crush the ice, it goes into a cup and syrup is is then served to us in a cup, the shape of which varies by the vendor.

      It was so interesting to see how the Gola is made! Thank you for sharing Rajan.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • vertualit profile image

      Abdus Salam 

      7 years ago from Bangladesh

      very interesting. useful posting....

    • pooja2109 profile image

      Pooja S 

      7 years ago from Toronto

      It made me remember my college days.....we used to eat gola in summer days!!!

    • agapsikap profile image


      7 years ago from Philippines

      Refreshing! My kids love shaved ice, too. We have our own version of slurpee at home. As long as my kids would appreciate, we would try to use variety of fruit flavor. Thanks for sharing.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      7 years ago from Dubai

      I have had ice golas and they are amazing.Your hub brought back sweet memories!! Thanks for sharing. Voted up.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      7 years ago from North Central Florida

      This was so interesting. It sounds like making these back in the day was not so easy.

      I have never had one of these like you describe but have had snow cones we call them here. Summer is just not summer without a snow cone. Yum

      Thanks for sharing

      Sending Angels your way this morning:) ps

    • Natashalh profile image


      7 years ago from Hawaii

      I love snow cones, shave ice, and whatever other names people use for treats that have a lot of ice! They are my absolute favorite type of beverage at any time of the year!

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 

      7 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Rajan,

      What a lovely story and trip down memory lane for you. Beautifully written, it was so interesting learning about these "snow cones" (what I know them as) in your neck of the woods and the early days. i can just imaging how you and other children would delight at the sound of the bell on the street vendors cart. Thanks for a lovely insight to this refreshing product now known throughout the world. Voted up, interesting, shared!

    • IslandBites profile image


      7 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Really interesting. We call them piraguas here in Puerto Rico. A very popular treat, yum.

    • My Cook Book profile image

      Dil Vil 

      7 years ago from India

      Very well written hub, I've tasted them long back. Simply cool and awesome. I like this hub on Ice Gola. Thanks for the share Rajan! Voted UP and shared.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      7 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Those were simple days, Brett. And so were these manual ice shaving machines. Still, I agree it must have been quite a job holding the ice with bare hands.

      Thanks for reading and viewing the video. Appreciate the votes and sharing.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett C 

      7 years ago from Asia

      An interesting variant of a very popular treat worldwide. I liked the video that showed off the traditional style of making them too, although I certainly wouldn't envy that job ... packing ice all day with your bare hands can't be fun.

      Shared, pinned, tweeted, up and interesting.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      7 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      I agree Vicki! It is so refreshing.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Hi Rajan, nothing like a wonderful, cooling gola in the heat! Very interesting Hub.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      7 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      @shining-glad to have brought back some good childhood memories for you and thanks for reading.

      @moonlake-thank you for reading ,voting and appreciating.

      @gags-absolutely and appreciate the read and sharing as well.

    • gags3480 profile image


      7 years ago from Kanpur, India

      Ice Gola is one of the most common & famous street food. Specially, children love it a lot. Nice hub. Voted up & shared.

    • moonlake profile image


      7 years ago from America

      I love them. Ours are called snow cones and we can buy machines for our homes now. Voted up and rated five stars. Enjoyed your hub.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      7 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Oh - what a great memory of my childhood! Mom used to make it from scratch and our gang of kids would chase down the ice man for a cooling treat on a hot day!

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      7 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      @Carol-thanks for reading and sharing and glad you like it.

      @Marcy-we are always learning, aren't we? Glad you appreciate the info. Thanks.

      @mr.veg-you are so right! It was fun having our tongue and lips and the fingers covered in different colors. Appreciate the visit.

      @Bill-you are right; we all eat almost the same things, albeit made differently and called by a different name. Just like, we all feel the same emotions though we look and act differently.

      Thanks for the comments and have a good day, my friend.

      @kashmir-thanks and I really appreciate your stopping by.

      @Kathryn-yes we too have these shaved ice drinks made from the same syrups and it is so refreshing to have them on a hot day!

      @YourCousins-thanks for reading and commenting.

      @Rumana-yes those were carefree and fun days. Thanks for the visit and comments.

      @Joe-Wow, that's quite a dream story about Aaron! I'm glad you could dip into the sweet pool of your fond memories yet again and enjoy!

      Aloha and have a great day ahead!

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 

      7 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Hi, Rajan!

      All I can say is that Walla Walla needs a golawala! Ha-ha!

      I grew up immensely enjoying the shaved ice on Kaua'i (not the same as the mainland's snow cones, which tend to have coarser and larger ice particles). One particular golawala, Aaron Furugen (went to school with his sister), became a millionaire simply by concocting and selling his specialized flavors all over the island. If I ever get to interview him, that'd make a very special hub, and I might even get a free shaved ice. : )

      Thank you so much for sharing this lovely hub and, better yet, for triggering some fond memories...something I've been doing a lot of lately. Aloha, and continue to have a blessed weekend!


    • rumanasaiyed profile image


      7 years ago from Sharjah, UAE

      I just love to have Ice Gola in summer. Rabadi is my favorite flavor. Your hub reminded me of those summer days, when I used to enjoy Golas with my cousins. It was a great fun.

      Voted up Interesting!

    • Your Cousins profile image

      Your Cousins 

      7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      I had not heard of an ice gola or a golawala. And it is interesting to read how inflation has caused the price to jump from 2 cents to $4! I'd love to taste it. Voted up and interesting.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image


      7 years ago from Windsor, Connecticut

      Oh, this sounds delicious! I like shaved ice drinks, they are fantastic! Ours may not be quite the same, but I have memories of buying some at fairs or amusement parks in the Summertime, and it was such a treat.

      Thanks for sharing your memories of the Gola, and for writing about what it is, and how it is made. Great story.

      I'm sharing this.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi rajan jolly a very interesting article on the ice gola and how they are made and sold. Well done !

      Vote up and more !!!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      We call them snow cones here and I've been eating them since I was a little kid. Very refreshing in hot weather. :) Interesting to hear that they are also eaten in your part of the world.

      Have a great weekend my friend.

    • mr-veg profile image


      7 years ago from Colorado United States

      Wow, you took me back down the memory lane, Rajan ! I loved the golas back in my childhood. There were those golden days when I used to get a gola for a Rupee, just one Rupee, I don't think today I can even get to smell it for a Rupee :) Thanks for sharing this colorful and cherised gola hub..

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 

      7 years ago from Planet Earth

      Oh, I truly LOVE shaved ice! It's perfect for our weather here, and so refreshing. I did not know the term 'gola,' though - so I learned from this hub!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      Quite a jump in price...That seems like a lot of money for shaved ice. Thanks for sharing and I am glad you enjoyed your trip down memory lane. For 4 cents we can all afford this treat. Voted up and share.


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