Hari Paan Bhandar

Having served the nation as a paramilitary soldier in the Border Security Force in his youth, Vishwanath Dikshit retired in 1956 to set up this shop. He had an eye for the betel leaf and the raw catechua that goes into making paan. Connoisseurs took no time to recognize the talents of the new establishment. Vishwanath’s son Harishankar Dikshit succeeded him, and the third generation, represented by Ashutosh Dikshit is in charge since 2012. Ashutosh tells us that his grandfather manned the shop till the age of 98. There was hardly anybody in Chowk who didn’t know him. Ashutosh has an LL B degree, and practices law. But he does make time to attend the shop in the evening. According to him, the most important ingredient in paan is the katechu. Till date, katechu prepared in the traditional way is used at his shop, whatever the expense. Zarda and meetha paan from this shop has always been famous. “One has to change a little with the times. The gutka is in vogue these days. It was a bit difficult for the paan to hold its position in the face of the challenge from gutka. But those who relish paan know that it can never be supplanted.” The shop opens every day. In the holi festivities, it is included in the showcase establishments of Chowk. It is an essential part of the bustle of the marketplace during Ramzan. The regulars are so punctual that Ashutosh says he can set his watch to the time that they arrive. He also claims that in 10 out of 20 wedding receptions in Lucknow, his is the establishment that caters paan.