Noon Chai- From the Old Lucknow’s Alley

There exist an old relationship between me and the city- Lucknow. I was brought up and I spent a considerable amount of my life, in Ghaziabad but I was born in Lucknow. And also my grandparents and cousins still live there.

I visited Lucknow after like two years. It isn’t very long but this time I discovered the city’s charm. The heritage, the old (probably 70-100 years old) mud and wooden houses, markets, the accent (or I should say baatcheet ka leheza), narrow lanes, and now here I was standing at the roadside of Akbari Gate circle. And here is where the pink tea was first sold in Lucknow. Pink Tea or Noon Chai is a Kashmiri Tea which was brought in Lucknow in 1965 by Ameer Ahmad.

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Noon Chai: The preparation is a lengthy process but it refreshes the senses once it is made. The first step in its preparation is to boil the tea leaves in water along with some baking soda. The boiling process goes on for an hour or unless the tea leaves give their proper dark color. Then some milk, crushed almonds, cardamom, and salt is added to it, and the pink Kashmiri Chai is ready to be served hot.

While Pink Chai is available at various locations in Lucknow, you can get the best Noon Chai Al Madina Lassi and Kashmiri Chai near Akbari Gate, Lucknow. Aahad Tea and Maggie point near Hiran Park is another such place where you can get splendid spicy noon chai. Moin Kashmiri Chai point in Hussainabad serves great Noon Chai as well.

According to Kashmiri culture, it is a ritual among Kashmiri’s to have a daily dose of Kashmiri Noon Chai both in the morning and in the evening and now it is followed in Lucknow also. Though it is enjoyed by Lucknowite in every season. In olden days household is considered to be incomplete without a samovar and in the morning all family members gather around a Samovar (Inside a samovar there is a fire-container in which charcoal and live coals are placed. Traditionally, kahwah is prepared in a brass kettle known as a samovar), to enjoy a special cup of Kashmiri Noon Chai so as to refresh their senses. The Kashmiri Noon Chai, Samovar and traditional cups together depict the unique culture of Kashmir in Lucknow.

ps: The images in the blog are picked up from Wikipedia as our photographer Jafar Rehman (rehmanjafar.com) wasn’t in Lucknow.

Stay tuned for another exciting Tea journey as we travel to our next destination, Hyderabad

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