Food and Spirituality: The Case of the SehriTurr

    Written by: Momina Mindeel
    Posted on: July 07, 2015 | Post your comment here Comments | 中文

    The group posing at the Badshahi Mosque - SehriTurr

    The group posing at the Badshahi Mosque

    The quintessential Pakistani mini-coaster, adorned with vibrant larriyan and numerous decorative lights, started its first SehriTurr ride at 11:00 pm from the Lahore University of Management Sciences. Almost all the faces in the bus manifested skepticism as to what this late night trip would entail. None of them knew what TurrLahore had in store for them, until MARO Tandoor’s Nutella Naans were served in traditional Chabis, with steaming hot nutella oozing out of the sides. This was just the beginning of a spectacular 6-hour bus ride.

    LUMS SehriTurr, Lahore

    Inside the Turr Bus

    TurrLahore, a social enterprise incubated under the Social Innovation Lab at LUMS, is set up by two promising young minds, Muhammad Murtaza and Shareef Khalid, currently studying at LUMS. Their first SehriTurr took place on 25th June, 2015. In the words of co-founder Murtaza, "This turr is meant to connect this (rather artificial) part of Lahore to the real Lahore." His quick-wittedness kept the “turrists” amused throughout the tour. The TurrLahore team made sure that everyone felt contented and secure – a job they very much succeeded in. I entered the bus as a total stranger, rather timid, and not knowing anyone except Murtaza. I left the bus with a colossal number of friends and memories, without exaggeration, in a mere 6 hours.

    LUMS SehriTurr, Lahore

    TurrLahore co-founders Muhammad Murtaza and Shareef Khalid

    The Turr included a visit to the tomb of the Sufi Saint, Baba Shah Jamal. The idea was to see the famous Dhamaal: fakirs or dervishes dancing in a trance to mesmerizing Dhol beats. However, unfortunately, we missed it by just a few minutes. Disappointment was lingering, rather vividly, on almost everyone’s face until the organizers announced the next stop. With a bus full of Lahoris, nothing could elevate their spirits more than the mention of traditional Lahori food. The bus halted outside the old food street in Purani Anarkali. The street, lined with numerous eateries and multi-hued shops, gave the place an aura of festivity. We stuffed ourselves with lavish Desi Ghee Parathas, Gol Gappay, Falooda and lemon soda. With stomachs full to the brim, our little group headed out for a camel ride, just outside the old food street. It trudged along the mall road rhythmically till the secretariat. Descending from the camel, one of the “turrists”, Moazam – a recent graduate from the University of London – blurted out exhilaratingly, "Ah! Everything is downhill in my life after this. Everything!"

    LUMS SehriTurr, Lahore

    Food Marathon at Purani Anarkali

    Amusingly, the food exploration had still not ended. Within the next 20 minutes, Lahore’s renowned Lakshmi Chowk loomed in front of us in all its glory, with what seemed like a thousand Butt Karahi shops, each of them claiming to be Lahore’s oldest and finest. Murgh Chanay, Naan, Lassi, and some more Lassi made it difficult to keep our eyes open. Stuffed bellies, dim ornamental lights, and the gentle chatter inside the bus were slowly luring us to the carefree gorge of sleep, when Murtaza and Shareef stormed in. Encroached upon by the organizers, we had to forcibly wake up and prepare ourselves for what was waiting beside the new food street. Lassi was again served at the Haveli restaurant, which provided the most stunning views of the Minar-e-Pakistan, nestled gently between the Shahi fort and Badshahi fort. The Azaan (prayer call) from the Badshahi Mosque drew everyone into an implicit mutual trance. After offering Fajr prayers, we headed off to witness the sunrise at the River Ravi.

    LUMS SehriTurr, Lahore

    Sunrise at River Ravi

    Compared to the mighty Lahore looming large on its eastern bank, River Ravi, unfortunately, is now little more than a stream of debris. However, the mist surrounding it, right before sunrise, made up for this. The group, split in two, hopped onto two separate boats and reached the Kamran Baradari at the verge of sunrise. The rising sun, emanating its glossy golden rays onto the waves of the river, offered a view that was nothing short of breathtaking. Lost in thought, each of us slowly sauntered inside the Baradari. Now a deserted place, the Baradari is one of the oldest Mughal monuments in Lahore. The fountains beside the main portion of the Baradari are broken, some of them completely missing. The lampposts stand there, devoid of any lamps or bulbs.

    This marked the end of the TurrLahore’s first ever SehriTurr. The Turr was indeed the embodiment of "the best food, the most exciting rides, and the most gorgeous sights." If you’re in Lahore during Ramazan and are looking to enlighten your soul, this is your chance. When TurrLahore claims that their cultural adventures around Lahore will walk you through history and change your perspective forever, you better trust them.


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