All you wanted to know about the hookah

By: Wilson Hunt

The hookah is one of the oldest devices of the modern world, and is used to smoke purified tobacco. Before filtered cigarettes were invented, hookahs were not a fad but a necessity for anyone who’d want to intake tobacco, unlike today. Today, the hookah is still in use throughout the world, but in many more controlled instances than earlier. Here is a brief history of the hookah.

It is said that the first hookah was devised somewhere in the fifteenth century in India, in the court of King Akbar, when Abul Fath Gilani first passed tobacco smoke through water to purify and cool it, and therefore give it a better taste. Soon after that, with the British introducing tobacco in India and Persia, the hookah became quite famous. The health concerns regarding tobacco created a demand for some precautions, and therefore the tobacco smoke was passed through water to purify it. However, modern studies have shown that passing the smoke through water before inhaling it has no health benefits, and has no advantages over smoking it directly.

Over time, the hookah became a symbol of aristocracy, royalty and even friendship and became a part of the culture of the time. In fact, during the medieval times, when the King or the village elders would ostracise or banish someone, the phrase used by the commoners could be roughly translated to, “he has been denied hookah and water”.

The Hookah was initially used in countries like India, Pakistan, Iran and such countries, both by royalty as well as the common people. It has recently become quite popular in some circles in the Western world, like the US, UK, etc. The hookah works on the same, simple concept that it does centuries ago. The tobacco is put in a container and lit, and the essence travels through a bowl of water, which is then inhaled by the user. This gives the typical and now iconic sound of the hookah over water. Though the concept is the same, there have been several enhancements in the resources used to give a better example, like flavoured tobacco.

The hookahs used by the royalty in all countries are art pieces today, and are quite valuable in the antique market. There are several artistically designed hookahs even today, and owning an exquisite one should not be very expensive if you know where to look. The first place to look for would be the antique and trinkets shop in your area.

There are many manufacturers selling hookahs today, and you would get one almost anywhere in the world. You should be a bit careful while buying a hookah that they say is an antique, and should check the authenticity of the product that you are buying. Some online retailers sell hookah and various other hookah related accessories too. Remember that smoking the hookah in public places is banned in some places, and you can only use it for personal use and for gatherings.

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