The story of Shan-e-Dilli starts in the late 19th century from an obscure village Mundanwara, hiding in the terrains of Aravalis, when Pandit Shriniwas, with vast knowledge of traditional herbs, spices and elixirs could enhance life without clashing with nature. Dwindling Mughal era, Britishers firmly in command Pandit ji peacefully made space for himself to serve the community at large of vintage Delhi.
Establishing a small shop to purvey the ‘nukhsas’ the blends of spices and herbs not only to humans but the luxury of those days, the horses, and other domesticated animals to safekeep their health and protect them from common diseases. His blending of whole spices for any dish his customer demanded became so popular that the pockets of old Delhi saw in him a master healer who could make any dish delicious and easy on digestion.
Pandit ji inculcated his knowledge to his son Pandit Brahmanand with the moral flag of being truthful to what you are doing. The knowledge of the right places to buy their raw material to process, clean and then offer to customers remained the hallmark. The royal houses, noble men and their chefs of nearby places got the air of his vast knowledge and started patronizing him.
Some demanded the hand-ground blend of their spice selection according to the seasons, celebrations, festivals and hosting of royal weddings of the time. But, Shriniwas Ji & Brahmanand Ji never deviated from their dedication to providing service to anyone rich or poor. The huge lines outside their humble Laal Kuan shop never got disappointed, be it for quarter rupee purchase or fifty rupees or, sometimes, no money at all.
Times changed, the next generation was in the offing, India became independent, demography changed, influx of displaced people from Punjab settled in the burrows of old Delhi with new tastes and temperament. Shriniwas Ji’s descendent Shri Prakash Sharma stayed rooted to do what they did the best to purvey according to the tastes of their followers. The traditional cooks of old Delhi vied to get their unique concoctions to prepare their dishes for Janak Bazaar, the legendary food bazaar during Ramleela days when parents hunted for the best chefs and their preparations. Shri Prakash sharma went a step ahead and prepared some brilliant blends which are now common to many households. His mantra was simple “jo khao woh khilao”hence the purity and authenticity of these masalas are still the same. His love for food and vast knowledge of the same led to some unique creations. “Aloo Masala” was an instant hit!. There is a long list of both vegetarian and Non-vegetarian blends that are popular because they bring the flavour of the dish home without any complication. Shri Prakash Sharma’s son Udayan Sharma kept up with the legacy and took shan-e-delhi to new heights. He took the bold step of automating the packaging being first amongst the few. In order to keep the quality and the purity of the spices intact shan-e-delhi has an inhouse manufacturing and griding unit thus making sure that shan-e-delhi sell’s only the best there is!