Heera Mandi

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Description:
Heera Mandi (Urdu: ﻫیرا ﻣﻨﮉﻯ) meaning "Diamond Market", also known as Shahi Mohalla (meaning: The Royal Neighbourhood) is a red-light district and a bazaar located in Taxali Gate, Lahore, Pakistan. The women here offer traditional and classical dances and was originally the center of the city's tawaif culture in the Mughal era. Today, it is a centre of prostitution in Lahore under the veil of dances, such as mujra, a branch of classical South-Asian sensual dancing. While many Hijras also frequent the area and are involved in this dance culture.

Heera Mandi is located in the northwest corner of the Walled City of Lahore, next to Roshnai Gate, Badshahi Masjid, Lahore Fort, and Hazuri Bagh.During the day the place is much like other Pakistani bazaars and is also known for its good food, wide range of Khussa (traditional Mughal footwear) and the shops for musical instruments.

History

In the Mughal era, Heera Mandi was famous for dancing and music. People used to go here for a visual and musical treat. Beautiful girls (called 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. Once prostitutes were hired by wealthy families to teach their children culture and social behavior. All that is left of a colorful...
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