View Full Version : TIME magazines best Asia tourist trips include Heera Mandi?

13th July 2006, 19:13
TIME magazines best Asia tourist trips include Heera Mandi!?

A view of Lahore's 17th-century minarets from the rooftop terrace of Cooco's Den & Café

Lahore, Pakistan

By Aryn Baker

Posted Monday, May 15, 2006; 20:00 HKT
Most visitors to Lahore's Heera Mandi aren't interested in the history of this onetime diamond district. Nor do they come to contemplate the baroque façades of the quarter's gracefully decayed, 17th century haveli, or historic residences. Instead, visitors to the Heera Mandi are here for cheap sex, for this is the city's red-light area, and gaudily dressed prostitutes beckon from beneath the battered wooden archways of almost every door. Many are or claim to be descendants of the nautch—the fabled royal courtesans famed for their mesmerizing dances and stirring songs—but the best that any of them can manage today is a few desultory shimmies to a well-worn Bollywood cassette. Enter Iqbal Hussain, one of Pakistan's most controversial painters and the bona fide descendant of a long line of nautch. Hussain has returned to his boyhood home to rescue one last gem from the Heera Mandi, painstakingly restoring his family's haveli and turning it into a four-story gallery and restaurant with decor that could be called bordello kitsch were it not 300 years old.

The walls of Cooco's Den & Café are emblazoned with Hussain's searing portraits of the district's denizens—from teenage prostitutes and thickset madams to wizened harmonium players. But the most stunning treasure is found on the top floor, where the open terrace looks down into the vast sandstone courtyard of the 17th century Badshahi mosque. While the terrace is usually booked for dinner by fashionable Lahoris eager to sample the café's home-style Pakistani fare, the best time to go is for tea in the early evenings. This is when the setting sun tints Badshahi's minarets a deep rose, just as the muezzin starts the call to prayer. From one side of the terrace, you can watch as the mosque's fairy lights are illuminated, circling it with a corona of gold. From the other side, you catch glimpses of the windows of the Heera Mandi, flickering with lamplight as the women take up their positions in the district's doorways. And in the midst of all this is Cooco's Den & Café, perched between the debased and the divine.


13th July 2006, 20:46
is this the place (the rooftop) george visited once in george ka pakistan?

13th July 2006, 20:48
nice pic, suhaib im looking forward to a new picture thread from u(construction wise) aint seen one for ages

13th July 2006, 20:53
well this forum cant handle pictures

13th July 2006, 21:06
heera mandi best tourist spot....boy o boy and i wonder why ;) ;)

13th July 2006, 21:09
isit because......?

hmm suhaib, just post links to pics instead, quicker

13th July 2006, 21:21

14th July 2006, 01:11
ha ha doesnt anyone think its ironic that badshai msjid is right next door. Pehlay namaz, then took took.