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History and use of the chillum
The chillum is said to have originated in India, although some were found in South America too. Therefore the exact origin of the chillum is unclear. Traditionally, this item has been used in a spiritual context. The Indian Sadhu's (holy men) have been smoking chillums for thousands of years, and the spiritual meaning of this is comparable to the drinking of red wine by Catholics. The chillum probably pre dates the introduction of tobacco to India and was used for smoking opium and other narcotics. But chillum smoking has always been an exclusively male practice, limited to the northern states and predominantly in rural areas of India. Often one chillum is shared by a group. In India they are made locally, are inexpensive and easily available.The chillum was first introduced in Europe and the US by the hippie movement in the sixties of the last century.
The size of the chillum directly affects the effect that smoking will have. Small chillums will bring hot smoke directly to your mouth. When using a larger chillum, the smoke cools off, and thus the amount of smoke increases as well. And the more smoke you inhale, the stronger the effect will be.
Ingredients, dosage and preparation of the chillum mix
A typical chillum mix consists of:
- 1 cigarette (between a half and a whole one)
- Hash (between 0.5 and 1.5 grams)
First heat the cigarette with a lighter (but do not burn it) until the tobacco is dry and crumbly. In general, ready made cigarettes are crumbly enough. Powder the tobacco into your hand, or a mix bowl. Then add the hash and flake the mix together between your fingertips. This produces a fine mix, which is transferred in the bowl of the chillum (where a small stone holds against it). Next, you put a filter over the mouthpiece of the chillum and you can smoke it. Watch out that your mouth does not get in contact with the tar covered Safi. To heat it, take a couple of short puffs, which are followed by a good deep lungful inhale. Keep the smoke in your lungs as long as possible to enjoy the maximum effect.
After smoking, the chillum needs to be cleaned. Just pass a strip of cloth or a string through the chillum and run it up and down to clean it thoroughly. Also take the stone out and clean it.
There are some etiquette rules and traditions for using a chillum. They are definitely not obligatory, but experienced chillum smokers will respect and use these guidelines:
- The person who prepared the chillum is not the one who lights it.
- If the chillum is in some way special, the owner might want to clean it himself.
- The traditional hash that is used is hand made black hash, like Indian Charas. Nepalese or Himalayan hash is also nice.