Whenever our team is asked to explain what hookah is, we like to say: that thing the caterpillar from “Alice in Wonderland” is smoking out of. Jokes aside, hookah is a rather important device in the smoking and vaping culture, so let’s delve a bit deeper into hookah history, origin, and culture.

Though hookah is the most widely spread and used name for this smoking device, it goes by many other different names around the world. Some of them include nargeela, nargile, narghile, shisha, sheesha, okka, kalyan, ghelyoon, ghalyan, goza, hubble-bubble, etc. Most of these expressions are of Somalian, Arab, Ethiopian, Indian, Turkish or Persian origin.

According to most testimonies, stories, and writings, hookah reached its full potential in India, while some people claim it was actually invented in Persia.

What Does Hookah Mean?

The term hookah is derived from the word haqqa, which means “pot, jar” and “cavity, hollow.” Though it goes by many names, as we mentioned above, people in the UK like to refer to this type of smoking device as shisha. This is, however, incorrect as shisha refers only to the glass base of this instrument, but the term did catch on.

Hookah History and Culture

Hookah, in the form it exists today, was invented around the 15th century in India. It all started when the Indian glass manufacturing business started to bloom because the British East India Company began exporting glass to India. The culture and the mystique behind this device soon spread to Iran where people started using hookahs to smoke Ajami, a flavorless but strong type of tobacco.

During the Ottoman Empire reign, hookah really took off. The Ottoman sultans even insisted on taking portraits with their hookahs. It became somewhat of a status symbol and important people liked to smoke out of it at diplomatic meetings and royal dinners.

Parts of Hookah and How it Works

A typical hookah consists of several components, each of them equally important for a perfect hookah experience.

The uppermost part is called the bowl or the hookah head; this is where the coal and the tobacco is held during the smoking session. Then there are the tray, the stem, release valve, hose gasket, hose port (where the hose goes in), hose, vase gasket, vase (water base); and in that order form up to bottom.

Some hookahs have a windscreen that is used to cover the bowl area and keep the wind from ruining your hookah experience by making the coal burn too quickly.


How it Works

The vase (or water base) is filled with water so the down stem is submerged. Perforated metal screen or foil sheet is then used to cover the bowl. Hot pieces of coal are then placed on top of the foil sheet so the tobacco in the bowl can heat up to an appropriate temperature. When the user starts sucking the air through the hose, more heat is then drawn on the tobacco, which enables and accelerate the transfer of heat.

By drawing air through the hose, the smoke is being sent down through the down stem and underwater. Subsequently, the smoke goes up above the water surface in the water base and into the opening of the hose port, which is connected directly to the hose port. The smoke then continues to flow through the hose and reaches the mouth of a user.

Hookah Smoking Tips & Tricks

Spread the coil evenly across the foil so the tobacco would burn more consistently.

Add about 2 inches of wine into the vase for enhanced flavor.

Add some citrus fruit (lemon, orange, mango, grapefruit) to the water for fruity sensation.

Add ice cubes to vase water for ice-cold smoking sensation.


  • 18/08/2013
    Posted October 16, 2017 9:42 am 0Likes

    March issue of “You and your Wedding”
    March issue of “You and your Wedding” refers to our shisha hire business for weddings.

    Don’t forget to go to our website http://www.shishahire.co.uk as we cater for Summer Balls, Weddings, Birthday partys and any special events including corporate events.

    You can find prices on our web site for hire of shishapipes anywhere in the UK and you can also book/reserve your date without any down payment.

    ShishaPipe UK has supplied shishas for shisha parties in the UK for many years and we have hired shisha pipes for events from small house parties to large corporate events including weddings, birthdays, collage balls, Royal Navy, Army, RAF and private corporate events.

    You can click the below links to see some videos and pictures:
    Shisha Hire You Tube account at http://www.youtube.com/shishapipeuk to view more videos.
    WEB SITE Shisha Hire Photos at http://www.shishahire.co.uk/photos/ to view photos.
    FACEBOOK Shisha Hire Photos at https://www.facebook.com/ShishaPipeUK to view photos
    TWITTER Shisha Hire account at http://twitter.com/#!/ShishaHire to view more pictures.
    Included in the shisha hire price are unlimited mouth tips, charcoal, 34 assorted molasses flavours (see menu HERE), all wind covers (health and safety reasons) and FULL cover for any damage to the shisha pipes.

    Your Shisha Pipe assistant will prepare, serve, advise and keep a watchful eye on all the shisha pipes so that you are free to enjoy your party.

    We also have available for you to download our Risk Assessment, Method Statement and Certificate of Competence.

    • Thank you 01/09/2013
      Posted October 16, 2017 9:42 am 0Likes

      From: Chris & Serena Sent: Sunday, 1 September 2013, 13:34 Subject: Just a little note to say thank you…

      Hi Paul,

      Serena and I have just gotten back to reality after our honeymoon and we just wanted to drop you a quick note to say thank you.
      Everyone has commented on the service you provided and we were really happy with ow the shisha went down on the night! It was really popular!
      Thank you so much, we really appreciated it. Hoping I can recommend you to friends and drum up some future events for you.

      Chris & Serena ??????

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