The origins of the hookah come from the north western provinces of India along the border of Pakistan in Rajasthan and Gujarat nearly a millennia back. These hookahs were simple, primitive, and rugged in design, usually made from a coconut shell base and tube with a head attached. They were designed to smoke opium, and hashish.

The hookah made its way through the Persian Kingdom, which also included Pakistan, Afghanistan, much of Middle Asia and Arab parts of Northern Africa. The hookah acquired tombeik on its way through Persia. Tombeik is a dark tobacco grown in modern day Iran. Tombeik is rinsed and packed in the large older style heads where hot coal is applied directly to the wet tombeik, which gives it a strong flavor. The hookahs designed in the Persian Empire are still hand crafted with each one being cut from a piece of wood. In the 19th century, cigarettes were made easily available and mostly women smoked the ghelune because they were not on the go. Women used the ghelune in the home for entertaining and as a past time.

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