Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar has generated massive curiosity among the audience about the red-light district of Lahore, Pakistan. The show, which tells the story of courtesans in British India, showcases Heeramandi to be a region of grand palaces and magnificent mansions where music and art used to be celebrated, apart from the shady business that went along. But what is the state of Heeramandi now and does it currently look the same as shown in the Netflix series? Read on to find out.

The Current State of Heeramandi

Heeramandi is still famous as a red-light area in the old city of Lahore, Pakistan. However, the regal aura of the area that we saw in the Bhansali series, is nowhere to be seen now. It is true that the makers exaggerated things and made Heeramandi look way more royal and luxurious in the show than it was in the pre-independence era. Though the bazaar was not as lavish, it indeed was a vibrant place and a major entertainment hub for music and dance lovers.

Heeramandi 2024
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Now, Heeramandi features historical houses in a dilapidated state, reminding everyone of the rich (and dark) history of the neighborhood. You can check out more about the current state of Heeramandi in this YouTube video. From the outside, the area looks like any other market in Pakistan, with shops and businesses going about normally during the day. However, it is night when the neighborhood turns into a hub of prostitution. 

Meanwhile, the passion for art is also still kept alive in the region. Entering the neighborhood, one can hear the sounds of ghungroos as women practice their classical dance moves. The one thing that has changed drastically in the region is that it has also become a destination for foodies. The street now houses various cafés and restaurants, some of those being roof-top which offer breathtaking views of the walled city of Lahore.

However, despite some efforts, the government has not been able to abolish prostitution in the neighborhood. After independence, Heeramandi kept functioning as a hub for sex workers. During the regime of Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq as the President of Pakistan, the government was determined to get rid of the mujra culture and prostitution and worked for the same from 1978 to 1988. While some brothel workers moved out of the area and shifted to other places, the overall situation more or less remained the same.

Also Read: Where is the Grand Set of Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar Situated?


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