Category Archives: Bazaars

Photo of the Day: City Surrounded by Sacrificial Animals as Eid-ul-Azha comes near

The city is not just surrounded by, but also filled with sacrificial animals. It has traders roaming free all over the city to sell their animals.

sacrifical

Photo via The News

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Lahori Samosa

Pervaiz Alvi

(TOP) Sheikh Lateef, the owner of the shop, is seen frying Samosas while the other picture is of a worker preparing the triangular delight. — Photos by Khurram Amin

(TOP) Sheikh Lateef, the owner of the shop, is seen frying Samosas while the other picture is of a worker preparing the triangular delight.

RAWALPINDI: If you ask any resident of Rawalpindi about the best Samosa outlet in the town, the Lahori Samosa Shop at College Road will come as the reply.
A few yards away from the historic Liaquat Bagh, there is a road on the rear of the Government Gordon College.
The road houses China Market and famous food outlets, including samosa shops, Kashmiri tea vendors, Tikka houses and stalls selling fried sparrows and many others.
A visit to the area shows workers busy in preparing and serving different items and consumers waiting to get their orders.
Fast food is very popular in the city but people still like the samosas, the eastern delight, with evening tea with their families and guests.
The Lahori samosa is very simple but delicious. It is made with potatoes and served with sweet chutney and chickpeas with fewer spices which made the flavour more exotic. In the winter, people enjoy the samosa with Kashmiri tea while in summer the almond flavoured milk is available with it.
Maintaining its quality for the last 48 years, Lahori Samosa Shop remains the favorite place for most of the people in the twin cities.
Shops opened in adjoining areas with this name have failed to match its quality as the old chef never let out his secret recipe to others.
A large number of people, including college students, shopkeepers and women visitors to Raja Bazaar and China Market, are seen either sitting outside the shop or in their cars on the roadside enjoying the delicious plates. Continue reading

Bo-Kata – A page from “Lahore: A Sentimental Journey” of Pran Nevile

Basant

I cannot recall anything that thrilled me more than kite flying in my boyhood days. Whenever I observed my kite soaring towards the clouds, I experienced a sense of power and mastery over the elements. Perhaps, in a way, I identified myself with the kite itself flying so free and so high above me, far from the madding crowd, enveloping me in a spirit of freedom and adventure, I felt that kites also signified a hope, a desire for escape, fancy dreams entrusted to a breath of wind and connected to a string and the hand that clasped it.
Those were the days when kite fighting instead of kite flying was in vogue. Pecha larana, or to entrap another kite by pouncing upon it from above or below or sideways, depending on its position, was the most exciting part of the sport. The skill lay in crossing dore with an opponent until the vanquished kite, cut loose, floated helplessly over the rooftops. The victor and the teammate would announce the defeat of the rival with loud cries of Bo-Kata, and throw a challenge for a return pecha. The defeated rival would accept the challenge and stir up a fresh kite into the sky. The rules of the game did not permit entrapping the kite till it was high above in the sky. It required great manoeuvring to entangle or disentangle one’s kite from the clutches of the opponent. Sometimes, we heard a shrill commotion on the rooftops and saw boys running with bamboo poles to catch a drifting kite. A falling kite in a street or bazar also created a stir and passer-by of all ages would run to catch the booty as a prized possession. Some boys who could not afford to buy kites often amused themselves by watching pechas and catching the falling kites.

lighted-basant-night
Every mohalla in Lahore had its own acknowledged khilaris (expert kite-flyers). As soon as they launched their kites, it was a signal for the small-timers to pull back their kites and leave the field open for them. They dared not venture to disturbed the khilaris, each of whom had established his sphere of influence. I was also a small khilari who after accepting a challenge from a rival would enter the battle only at an agreed time.
There was a style of kite flying called kaincha that entailed cutting the twine of the rival kite by dragging and pulling it with a sudden jerk. This was a practice followed by some boys who had very little twine and were looked upon with contempt by the khilaris who would sometimes even give them a beating for attacking their kites in this fashion.

Basant
We always looked forward to Basant, the king of all festivals in Lahore. About two weeks before its arrival, the kite shops were specially decorated and a large variety of kites of different colours, shapes and sizes were displayed along with small and large pin nabs and artistically wound dore in numerous attractive colour combinations, large stocks of kites were also brought from Lucknow for the occasion. The kite makers and dore producers worked round the clock. The khilaris used to pile up their stocks of kites and dore well in advance to avoid the last minute rush. Second in importance to basant was the Lodhi festival held on Makar Sankranti, which usually falls on 13th January. On that day we had kite flying on a large scale, a full-dress rehearsal for Basant, which falls usually in the first week of February. Basant signaled the end of the winter season in Lahore and the onset of spring.

Basant2
The celebrations on Basant day would commerce well before daybreak, when specially constructed box kites carrying lighted candles like lanterns were set afloat in the sky. These moving lights in the sky made an enchanting sight and signified the inauguration of the great kite-flying festival of Lahore, unmatched anywhere else in the world. Rooftops and terraces were crowded with men, women and children of all ages. It was also a custom to wear yellow turbans on Basant day. The women, young and old, also sported yellow chunnis which lent a new charm to the festival atmosphere. By daybreak the sky would be ablaze with thousands of kites of different colours, shapes, sizes and designs. The whole atmosphere of the city also reverberated with the triumphant shouts of Bo-Kata and the blowing of the trumpets to proclaim victories in kite-fighting battles. There were famous khilaris in said Mitha, Wachhowali, Machhi hata, Sutar Mandi, Rang Mahal and other areas of Lahore. They challenged one another for paichas. The Basant festival was also held outside near Haqikat Rai’s Samadh, where crowds from neighbouring villages joined the city crowds and enjoyed kite flying. There were also renowned Khilaris who played for heavy staked in Minto Park. The winners were admired for their dexterity and skills in gauging the winds as well as for the perfection in the tactics of manoeuvring, surging, shielding and stretching during the kite flying.

Walking Through History | The Walled City of Lahore

Saira A Nizami

The Old City, or the Walled City of Lahore is in the northwestern part of Lahore, Punjab. The visitor is given access to the city by 13 gates, few of them being Bhati Gate, Lahori Gate and Roshnai Gate.

As he visits the Walled City, Razi Rumi shares these rich moments and his thoughts while walking through streets of Lahore:

FortMughal architecture: Lahore Fort’s beautiful wall with original frescoes. Has survived amid history’s atrocities and government’s negligence.

Faqir Khana Museum

Lahore’s heritage: Inside the Faqir Khana Museum, Bhatti Gate. Some of the carpets are from the Emperor Shah Jahan’s era.

Haveli Naunehal Singh

Imagine living in a room with such amazing frescos – A hidden corner of Haveli Naunehal Singh, walled city of Lahore.

Balcony

Wouldn’t you love to have balcony like this? Spotted in walled city Lahore.

Little Girl in Hijab

Met this young girl in walled city Lahore last week.

Wall

Unfortunate graffiti on one of the 17th century walls of Lahore fort. However there is a guy out there who loves US.

Twinkle School

Twinkle Scholar (private) school has great advertising. Also shows what is valued as success.

School in walled city

Clever combination of modern and traditional education: Madrassa Safeena-tul Quran.

Spices

Ready for artwork? Look again, these are walled city Lahore’s colorful spices

Victoria School

A majestic structure that survives the vagaries of time .With those breathtaking frescos — Haveli Nonehal Singh, Lahore

Victoria School2

A hidden jewel in the densely populated walled city of #Lahore. Haveli Nonehal Singh, Victoria School since 150 years.

GraveStone

When I was procuring old plates, saw this too. The guy got the sign made and only 22 years later had to leave Lahore.

Colonial Plate

A spode plate – India Tree- found in the rubble of Lahore‘s colonial past.

Anarkali: Books Bazaar

 

Photo Courtesy :  Shiraz Hassan

 

 

 

Stories of sex-workers in Heera Mandi, Lahore and beyond

Posted by Raza Rumi

A TV journalist prepared this bold documentary for a news channel but it was never aired for obvious reasons – electronic media remains conservative about taboo subjects. The documentary provides great insights into the way women live, work and identify themselves as sex-workers in Lahore’s oldest red-light district known as Heera Mandi (Diamond Market) ironically next to the great Badshahi mosque. Coverage of Multan in the later parts is also interesting.

The narrator obviously has his biases – the usual refrain of middle class Muslims of the subcontinent – but he tries hard to remain neutral and investigative. There is a good dose of Mujras inserted into the series for the viewers; and tit bits of the Hollywood/Bollywood melodrama on the oppressed ‘tawaif’ (prostitute). Whilst tragedies bring these women to the sex-trade, not all of them lament their lives. If anything, Mirza Ruswa’s Umrao Jan (way back in the nineteenth century) was pretty comfortable and empowered by her profession. Similarly, one of the interviewees says: “money is the father, mother and everything for tawaifs”. The head of Kanjar biradri says that girls are taught to be ‘men’, earning ‘horses’ fooling their clients! Not to be missed.

My favourite is the ‘client’ who confesses how intoxicating it is to be “in love” with a sex worker. One gets tired of ‘using’ a wife all the time he says. Wish this documentary had been aired.

The language of these videos is Urdu so it might not be accessible to all the visitors here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyRYGczqsQo&feature=related Continue reading

Lohari Gate of Lahore, A Rare Image.

A rare image of Lahori Gate, one of the 13 gates of Lahore. It was taken by an unknown photographer in 1900.

 

Posted by: Shiraz Hassan

 

 

 

Terrible news from Lahore – extremists are back in action

Raza Rumi

Two horrific incidents took place in Lahore today. First, the blasts in the busiest of streets – Hall Road frequented by thousands of people. The moral brigade had been objecting to and threatening the shop-owners against selling CDs, DVDs as they somehow lead to decline in morals and of course challenge the puritanical worldview of the Islamists. Now, a warning was sent through two low intensity blasts. Lahore’s Talibanisation nightmare might be turning into a reality.

Second, the famous Shezan brand is under attack – the reason: it is owned by an Ahmedi. After killing them in the villages and their places of worship, their right to engage in commerce (a basic right by the way) is being violated. This persecuted community has never been targetted so badly in the recent years.

Lahore – a peaceful, towering cultural centre of yore is now under direct attack by retrogressive forces while the Punjabis continue to deny the existence of religious extremism in their midst. When will we wake up – once the city is destroyed?

Markets, mosques and roads are becoming unsafe while we sit and watch the reality horror shows in our homes. How long will the homes be safe?

Express-Tribune reports: LAHORE: Twin low intensity bomb blasts hit a music and CD market in Lahore on Saturday evening, injuring 11 people and creating panic in the area, police said. Continue reading

Welcome to The City: MM Alam Road

Perhaps the most coveted spot on Lahore's inadvertent 'center of nightlife'

I love how you can rediscover a certain place, if you just look at it a slightly different way.

Cross-posted from Studio Sapuri, my personal thingamajig on the internet.

Dancing girls of Lahore are forced out

LAHORE — The once-fabled dancing girls of Lahore, the capital of Pakistani Punjab, are fast disappearing.

 The performers have left the city’s red light district, Heera Mandi, also known as the Diamond Market, that lies in the shadow of the Moghul-era Badshahi Mosque.

 “I have lived all my life here,” said Iqbal Hussain, a painter and doyen of Heera Mandi, having been born there several decades ago. “I have seen all the phases. It used to be a beautiful area but now it is disappearing.
Continue reading

‘Rarra maidan’ outside Delhi Gate

by Majid Sheikh
IF you were to stand in the middle of the gateway of the mosque of Wazir Khan and draw a straight line through the Chitta Gate entrance of Chowk Wazir Khan, and if the line was carried onwards in an easterly direction, it would pass bang in the middle of the gateway of Masjid Qasaban in the middle of Yakki Gate. Does this mean that Delhi Gate came about much later and that the term ‘rarra maiden’ used for this area meant that the walls of preMughal Lahore were to the west of the mosque?

This possibility was first suggested by a distinguished Lahore researcher, Dr Abdullah Chughtai, who contended that the original route used by royalty was, coming from the east, or Amritsar, along G T Road and through Yakki Gate and straight to the fort, passing to the north of the mosque of Wazir Khan. The Katra Wazir Khan occupied the area to the north of the mosque, and an entrance to the mosque was originally from the chowk Purani Kotwali. It seems that the Delhi Gate bazaar was deliberately formed to ease the flow of traffic to allow the royal route to the north to function with ease.

For this reason the Delhi Gate bazaar is an immensely important portion of the walled city. This 200-yard long bazaar is bound by Delhi Gate to the east, ending at Chitta Gate to the west, which links it to Chowk Wazir Khan. To the north is the famous Mohallah Qasaban, the place where the first Sikh onslaught before Maharajah Ranjit Singh took place on the pretext that they wanted to cut off the noses of all the butchers of Lahore as revenge for their terrible role in slaughtering thousands of innocent Sikhs as part of the Mughal campaign against them. Continue reading

Blame game on over Anarkali Food Street’s cleanliness

Abdul Manan and Fahad Baig write in the Daily Times:

LAHORE: The government took no heed of the public complaints regarding the poor sewerage system and unhygienic conditions of the Anarkali Food Street, which has been posing a filthy look for the last many months, Daily Times has learnt.

It has been observed that the food street lacks proper drainage facility, while now and then overflowing gutters and heaps of food waste add to the miseries of the shopkeepers there. For this very reason, foreigners are no longer to be seen visiting the food bazaar, which, now, surely offers all kinds of local ‘specialties’.

There has been a blame game between various government agencies over the cleanliness and maintenance of one of the city’s main tourist attractions. Continue reading

Heera Mandi – The Dream House of the Whores

Courtesy Mayank Austen Soofi

I felt like a bridegroom who had come to pick out one of the three beautiful sisters. Sitting next to each other on a blue sofa, they blushed and coquettishly glanced at us.

An old woman with a straight back and shining-white hair sat down on the floor and talked of the heat and humidity. She had a firm, commanding voice that sliced and rebuked the air with the sharp tanginess of a most refined form of spoken Urdu.

Unlike the brightly-colored and intricately designed shalwaar kameeze (Shalwar are loose trousers and the kameeze is a long shirt) of the girls, the stern woman stood apart in an off-white dress and a white netted dupatta (a scarf or covering for the head and upper body worn by women), carefully adjusted on her head.

It seemed like a cultured Muslim family, but the girls were not sisters. They were prostitutes. The old lady was not a mother looking for suitable boys for her daughters, but a pleasure-house Madam.

We were in Heera Mandi — ‘a bazaar of diamonds’ — Pakistan’s oldest red light district.

Crossing into the Red Light

Mian Naeem, a soft-spoken Lahore-based sculptor and art-critic, had agreed to take me for an excursion to Heera Mandi, a place I particularly wished to visit especially after reading an excellent book by the British author Louise Brown, The Dancing Girls of Lahore: Selling Love and Saving Dreams in Pakistan’s Ancient Pleasure District.

I was in Pakistan to take part in a conference for a visa-free South Asia and was tied up with a series of seminars and speeches during the day. Night was the time to explore the city and Heera Mandi had to be a necessary pilgrimage. Continue reading

Lahore’s Landa Bazaar: the poor man’s shopping paradise

Bilal Akram

LAHORE: Another mark of Lahore, Landa Bazaar, famous for trading generally used articles, is dynamically keeping its attraction for middle income and the poor, both from here and other far off cities and towns, though in patches it is falling victim to a business of smuggled goods mainly coming from Afghanistan.

A fast spreading parallel markets of cheap and second hand articles, mainly run by pathans and the ones from the tribal belt, have already appeared at the entry points of the decades old Landa Bazaar and undermining its fame.

The market, due to its historical background, is one the most famous among markets of similar nature in various parts of the country. Continue reading