EnciclopediaHistory and use of the chillum


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History and use of the chillum

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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 predates 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 mixing 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.

Chillum etiquette

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 a handmade black hash, like Indian Charas. Nepalese or Himalayan hash is also nice.

Bom Shankar!!


  • person 22-10-2007 04:43:53

    whats the average size for a chillum

  • D. G. Neree 29-07-2008 21:40:10

    "the person who fills the chillum is not the one who lights it" is a bit confusing. As the chillum has to be held with both hands to smoke it, another person has to light it. so the normal "procedure" is: The one who fills the chillum (preferably the owner of the chillum) gives the chillum to a second person and sets it alight. The second mand, having smoked, gives the chillum backt to the one who filled (and lit) it, who then smokes and gives it to a third party (if present. The hippies also had some stories about joints and chillums having to go either clockwise or anti-clock wise round the circle. But i don't know if this is something traditional

  • BULE 20-09-2008 22:39:17

    large chilum is the best thing to smoke pure hard skunk with.

  • puff n herb 23-01-2009 15:47:28

    aye what do you do when like ash
    collects at the top how do you clean when still smoking cause the ash clogs the whole thing

  • loki 07-03-2009 10:36:33

    If your week is too sticky to smoke in a joint it will still work in a chillum

  • motorpsycho 27-01-2010 10:57:42

    The chillum is rotated in an anti clockwise direction, cause indians use their left hand to clean their ass, when they take a dump , so indians dont eat with their left hand and for the same reason its always handed to the person seated on to the smokers right side.

  • KONG NOL DK 17-05-2010 00:25:31

    Yes i like the chillum, i use 1 gram of fine moroccan hash and one well toasted cigarette, toasted with a lighter or toasted on a pan on the stove. Then heat the mix so the hash gets soft and then rub the hash into the tobacco with your fingers. the smoke is smooth to your loungs when you do it this way because when you heat the tobacco the nicotine vaporizes. THE SMOKE IS SMOOTH AND TASTES LIKE HEAVEN :D

  • shanti shanti 12-08-2010 19:35:19

    i have a chillum which is slightly broken at the top.. as in regards to smokability it is exactly as before. However i had heard in the past that one should not use a broken one. Is it regarded as disrespectful in any way? bolenat

  • patric5tar 30-10-2011 21:27:48

    chillam is lit by another person and then passed to the person who prepared it,also there is a hindi saying: sar kare sardar! (the leader does the lighting) and banane wala bigaadta nahi(the one who makes does not spoil) basically meaning the guy who makes doesnt light,also, broken chillums are cool! no offence, might be a lil stupid to take it to a group of strangers though....they might find it weird....boom shankar!

  • Vizag 07-03-2012 23:12:30

    ......I can add that a small stone or two were droptin2 the chillum before adding the herb. This acted asa filter keeping the contents from overworking the safi, which was usually dampened first.

  • Hmm! 10-06-2012 23:16:00

    There really is not any written evidence of the chillum being used for thousands of years. Holy men would heat a bowl on a small fire and burn hashish or weed like incense. Some say the the chillum is the invention of the hippies who could not get and papers to roll up with. Any more than that his hearsay.

  • dips 29-12-2012 11:23:04

    Chillums were first introduced in Europe? Thats wrong my friend. Chillums were existent in the Indian subcontinent during the vedic eras. Thats long before the Western Civilization were civilized.

  • sweetindian 09-02-2013 08:23:17

    Chillums have been used for atleast a thousand years if not more. Some ancient Indian texts written at the turn of the 1st millenia do have a few references to Ganja, Charas and chillum. Sushrut and Charak,the great indian medical practitioners also used Cannabis in their medical preparations and that was at the time of ayurveda.

  • nick 01-03-2013 14:15:38

    The one who prepares should not light it which mean he/she shouldn't smoke first.

  • weedblower 03-08-2013 19:11:30

    we causally sit in a group an pass the pipe from one another with only one kash (blow)

  • Syco 15-10-2013 20:50:08

    Chilum was not invented in europe it was invented by BHOLE!

  • Chilam 12-04-2014 22:39:47

    The one who makes it will not ignite it, well that is true however the person having the last drag is supposed to clean it.
    I can help you with any queries regarding chilam.
    Chilam smoking is awesome if you know the proper way.

  • ROY 14-04-2014 15:40:42

    Hmmmm....itss really cooolllll..!!!!

  • pranav kaatoor 21-04-2014 15:01:04

    actually chillam is orginated from india there is lots of evidence

  • amahato 12-09-2014 15:23:53

    it would be better if the evidence is cleared about the origin of chilum.

  • Davi 16-12-2014 13:49:48

    Can you use rolling tobacco for a chillum or is it strictly cigarettes

  • kabi bhole 25-05-2015 16:15:44

    Well wishers and friends of the cosmos, the word chill broken up means in the English language to chill,relax and recuperate, the word um or aum,has a simmaler sound to universal om.or aum so chilling
    aum is a spiritul quest beginning to resonate in the concius mind, for a lifetime guarantee, spiritually in Ur every smoke or toke in the bhole babas tool, chillum

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