9 October, 2012
The famous Heera Mandi of Lahore, Pakistan
The biggest city of Punjab owns the Heera Mandi or diamond market. It is situated near by the 2nd famous Mosque of Pakistan, the “Shahi Mosque”.
The life goes on the regular basis at the day time but as the night arrives this area turned into a new look. Its narrow streets become very busy at that time. It is the most famous place in Pakistan for the dancing and singing. This market has its own premises and they are allowed to perform their activities within the area.
Heera Mandi was also known as the “Shahi Mohalla”, it was a specific place where the servants of King were used to live. Later on it changed its shape and currently it is known as the diamond market. One could not find the real diamonds over there but here it means the beauty. Women of this area wear all types of clothes, from old fashioned Shalwar Kameez to the latest shorts. Those women or connected with the dancing, singing and few other businesses.
They attract their customers with the fashionable dresses and postures. All instruments of music could be found over here. Ghungru (a shin guard with many bells) is the main element of their dancing. The girls make the rhythms by using their feet. All other musical instruments also make a unique environment.
The trend to invite those girls in the festivals and events are becoming more popular in Pakistan. One can hire those girls for the private functions and especially in the marriages. Currently the stage shows throughout the Pakistan are presenting their dances. A specific Urdu word which is used for this type of dance is the “Mujra”. All the Mughals and rich peoples of those times preferred it. At that time it was the only source of entertainment but as the time passed this tradition is disappearing from Pakistan. Courtesan or dancer is known as “Tawaif” in Pakistan and India who perform it.
They started their activities from mid-night till the morning. Drum beats and sound of shin bells could be heard everywhere. Money exchangers are also available with the small notes of 5 and 10s. Many people keep the change to shower the money on the dancing girls. This market is very different then the dancing bar of western countries but the purpose is same to earn money through dancing. The fraud element is also present in the Heera Mandi of Lahore, so be aware of it.