Shahi Mohalla also known as Heera Mandi is a red-light district and a bazaar located in between Taxali Gate and Roshnai Gate, Lahore, Pakistan. The market was originally the center of city’s tawaif culture in the Mughal era. However, under the British colonial period it became a hub of prostitution. Within the market, women and hijras (transsexuals) offer traditional and classical dances. From the British colonial period till today, it remained a center of prostitution in Lahore under the veil of dances.
During the day the place is much like other Pakistani bazaars and is known for its good food.
Shahi mohalla of Lahore is located in the very pious location of Lahore surrounded by Badshahi mosque, Data Darbar and Imam Bargah Gam e Shah. One has to appreciate Lahore for its extremely tolerant nature.
The famous Shahi Mohalla of Lahore now has changed a lot. The Havelis opposite Roshnai gate now serve as Food Street where the house owners have converted portions of their houses to restaurants which serve the best and the most expensive local food in Lahore because of the location and the view of Badshahi mosque Lahore.
One of the restaurants is cukoos den which is owned by the retired Professor and very famous painter Sir Iqbal Hussain who belongs to the family of Shahi Mohalla and is famous for painting scenes from everyday life is this area.
Before government turned this into Food Street this whole area used to be inhabited by drug addicts who used to live next to wall of the fort and Badshahi Mosque. In the past 10-15 years this whole place was cleared and gardens restored and the facades of the houses renovated and converted to restaurants to bring in tourists and lahori people who had always loved this place for food.
In the night the area of Food Street is a delight to visit, with ghazals, live music, old Indian movie songs and traditional Lahori food with the view of mosque and fort to top it all up.
Inside areas of the Shahi Mohalla are still the sex markets.
In the morning while walking from Roshnai Gate towards the famous Phajja Paye wala the area is busy with food stalls selling all sorts of Lahori breakfast including paye and halwa puris and garam jalebis. In the morning one rarely sees any women. All men are outside in the streets or sitting in the balconies/ kothas. We see children playing in the alleys. People are friendly they don’t harass and are very cooperative if asked for being photographed. Life in the mornings is very much like any other mohalla in Lahore.
Renovated havelis outside Roshnai Gate serving as restaurants
Famous Phajja paye wala
crispy jalebis in the making
Takatak Brain Msala
Prepartition Peerzada Mansion
Roshnai Gate Church Lahore
Man making bead necklaces
Man with pure white hair and beard
Horse Stable for horses that dance on weddings
Children in the morning
Kothas/ Balconies in the morning
Few details of Pre Partition houses
Inside and on the roof of one house
Streets of Shahi Mohalla
Remains of Demolished Tarranum Cinema
Shrine of Sabz Peer
From the thickness of walls of this shrine and architectural style and details it seems this shrine was built in late Mughal era.
Few ducks outside the shrine
Some more houses from the outside