Tag Archives: Taxali gate

The scarlet secrets of old Lahore

We mustn’t forget that there are humans living here and we should treat them as humans.Zohaib Saleem Butt (writing for Express-Tribune blogs)

There is a bazaar in Taxali Gate called Heera Mandi. A few decades ago this place was famous for dancing and music. People used to go here for a visual and musical treat. Beautiful girls (kanjiries) used to sit in stall shaped balconies, called kothas, and ply their trade, the oldest profession in the world. The place was perhaps even more famous for singing and dancing. However, slowly the aesthetic pursuit became less arty and more tarty. The area became the centre of prostitution in Lahore.

Most people have the misconception that the Diamond Market got its because of the beautiful girls who worked there, inimitably like diamonds. However, that is not the real meaning or origin of the name. Actually this mandi is named after Heera Singh, who was the son of a minister of Ranjit Singh’s royal court. Heera Singh was also a minister of Sher Singh’s court during the Sikh period. The Mughals were the founders of that trend of dancing and singing, but as far as I know they never promoted prostitution publicly. Continue reading

Explore the walled city of Lahore and its historic gates

Lahore is the capital of Punjab, the most populated province of Pakistan, and is known as one of the ancient cities in South Asia with its rich historical and cultural heritage.
The early history of the city is cloaked in obscurity and it is pretty difficult to establish exact date of its foundation. It was a town of not much importance in the first and second century of Christian era and was ruled by Rajput princes. In the eighth and ninth century, it became the capital of a powerful Brahman family, who, in the tenth century, were invaded by Sabuktagin and his son Mahmud Ghaznivide. For the next eight centuries, Lahore was ruled by different Muslim dynasties and served as the capital of Ghaznivides, Ghorians, and Mughals from time to time. At the onset of the 19th century, the Sikhs ascended to the throne of Punjab and Lahore was made the seat of government. Shortly after the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1839, the British defeated the Sikhs and took over their domains. It served as the capital of the undivided province of Punjab until 1947 under the British rule and after independence, it became the capital of the province of Punjab in Pakistan. Continue reading

Lahore’s culinary feast: Phajjay ke Paye

Fazal e Haq – aka Phajjay ke Paye by Aqeel Ahmed

Here is a review of Fazl e Haq (nicked as Phajja) chain of restaurants. Now this is truly authentic Lahori taste we are talking about. Not even the neighbouring cities of Lahore have been found to be that keen about Paye (feet) or Siri (heads) of goats. It sounds gross, doesn’t it? But then again, this is us .. Lahories .. and you have already read about us eating goat testicles.


Fazl e Haq or Mr. Phajja was perhaps the first person who commercialized the idea by coming up with a Paye specialty restaurant in Hira Mandi, the Red light district (Taxali gate) named as Phajjay ke Paye. People would (and still) flock to this place every morning and wait in queues to have a breakfast of sticky and rubbery meat of goat feet. The Siri on the other hand is not a breakfast item. A typical Siri meal is accompanied by assortments like Maghaz (brain), Zuban (tongue) and Khad (Jawbone) – everything cooked of course. You eat it with Roti or Kulcha. Another reason for having started his venture in the red light district of Lahore was perhaps the purportedly aphrodisiac nature of these meals. Aphrodisiac or not, they are rich in cholesterol for sure. Continue reading