Many restaurants in the old city continue to practise the tradition of offering ‘Sahr’ facility to the faithful

Hotels in the old city during Ramzan work 24x7. If they sell the popular delicacy ‘Haleem’ during the evenings, then it is non-vegetarian dishes during the early mornings when the pious turn up here to have their predawn meal, ‘Sahr’.

A good part of the restaurants in the old city continue to practice the tradition of offering ‘Sahr’ facility for the last many years. “We are offering the service for the last 20 years,” says Aziz Zafar of Naayab Hotel at Madina Building.

In fact a few hotels have a separate ‘Sahr’ menu comprising a variety of mutton and chicken dishes, including ‘kheema roti’.

Popular joint

Iqbal Hotel at Purani Haveli is one of the popular spots for hundreds of people to descend on it for an affordable meal each day. This hotel has become synonymous with ‘Khichdi kheema’ during Ramzan.

Mohd Ilyas of Iqbal Restaurant, Purani Haveli, says, “People start visiting the hotel from as early as 2.30 a.m.” Activity at these restaurants starts well after midnight and as the time for the pre-dawn meal nears people start dropping in.

Most of the staff here are engaged in jobs like cooking and cleaning to accommodate their visitors.

Who are the early visitors? Bachelors, migrant workers, groups of friends, night shift employees, etc. Some families also take parcels home when they get up late for ‘Sahr’. For some like Syed Obaid, a computer professional, it provides an opportunity to enjoy spending time in the company of his friends at an odd hour. “We try to make out the most of the opportunity through get-together,” he says.

Bustling with people

Hotels like Bawarchi Hotel at Syed Ali Chabutra, Victoria Hotel, Bibi bazaar, King Darbar, Kalapather, Fiza Hotel, Bahadurpura, bustle with crowds till the last minute. Also a host of small hotels around the old city are also open but limit themselves to offering ‘Irani chai’.