Hookah and it’s history from India through Turkey

New year, new history lesson! In the past weeks you could have read about the history of the bong, which inspired invention of our Byba. There we explained how we forgot about Africa, again! Now it’s time to learn about the history of a piece, which helped us to find a good solution for hose formation and length in Byba….the mighty Hookah!

Likewise bong history, there’s a lot of misleading information about the first hookah. A lot of us think that hookahs are Turkish inventions, because they were the first to bring hookah to Europe with their European expansions in 17th – 18th century. Well, it’s true, that hookah or narghile (as it is called in Turkey) was perfected in Turkey. There it became a status symbol, so important to the Ottomans that it almost triggered a war between Ottoman empire and France! That’s cause they smoked tobacco instead of Mary Jane ;).

While the Turks perfected nargiles and their looks, design and manufacture, the very first hookahs were primitive and from natural materials. Word narghile comes from Persian word “nargil”, which means coconut, and yes, you guessed right, first hookahs were made of coconut shells in India (you can read how to create Byba coconut bong here).

Byba coconut bong

Byba coconut bong inspired by the first hookah

The main physician in the court of Mughal Empire encouraged the use of hookah for treating different breathing disorders and anxiety in early 16th century! There is no evidence of what was smoked with hookahs back in the days, but since the tobacco was not yet introduced to the East, we all guess what was there to cure the problems, right? 😉

Well there is some debate if it was really Mughals that invented hookah or they just brought it to India from Persians. But as a very nice lady  explained to me on the shores near Rameshwaran: “it is not important, where it really originates from, rather how it connects people in the East for centuries now”. While having some puffs from the old Indian hookah I dared to dream about Byba uniting all the people, not just passing the rolled paper but also the message in it.