The Shisha's origin traces back to the North Western provinces of India, along the border of Pakistan in Rajasthan and Gujarat nearly 1000 years ago.
The first shisha’s were far from what we see today; they were rugged in design yet served the simple purpose of smoking. Materials usually consisted of coconut shell as a base for holding water and a stem constructed from trees with a head attached to the top.
It surfaced in the form we know it as today around the 15th Century when Indian Glass manufacturing began as a result of the exporting of glass to India through the British East India Company. The glass base was called Shisha. Its mystique spread to Iran where special strong, flavourless tobacco was used with it called "Ajami". It rose to fame under the Ottoman Empire's rule around the time of Murat V in 1623-1640. The sultans of the age took portraits with their Shisha pipes and it became a status symbol of the time. It was smoked after royal dinners and at diplomatic meetings.
Hookahs are known around the world by many different names, such as a water pipe, nargeela/nargile/narghile/nargileh, argeela/arghileh, hubbly/bubbly, shisha/sheesha, okka, kalyan, or ghelyoon or ghalyan. Some of these names are of Arab, Somalian, Indian, Ethiopian, Turkish, Uzbek, or Persian origin.
Shisha Shisha, a synonym for Hookah, is from the Persian word shishe, literally translated as glass and not bottle. It is more commonly used in Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and Somalia.
Many in the U.K. tend to refer to the tobacco smoked from a hookah as "shisha." In Arabic the actual flavour is called Mu’assel which refers to a honeyed syrup and vegetable glycerol tobacco mix. We’ll keep it simple over here in the U.K and stick to a shisha pipe that is used to smoke shisha flavour.