Chronicling the history of the vaunted British curry house, the guardian’s food journalist Bee Wilson notes,

You can judge the age of a British curry restaurant from its name. If you see one that is called Taj Mahal, Passage to India or Koh-i-Noor (after the famous Indian diamond,) it probably dates back to the first wave of curry houses in the 1960s. These eateries appealed to retired Old India Hands, who wanted to eat hot chutney and be treated like “sahibs” again. The names of 1970s curry houses began to shrug off the colonial past and evoke, instead, a vague sense of eastern exoticism: Lily Tandoori, Aladdin, Sheba—glamorous names to counteract longstanding British prejudices that south Asian food was malodorous and unclean. By the 1980s, however, such orientalism had also begun to seem hackneyed, and new restaurants opening in that decade often named themselves after ingredients, a more subtle form of rebranding: Tamarind, Cumin, or Lasan (Hindi for garlic.)

In what may represent yet another new phase in the naming of British Indian restaurants, the name, which means “cosmic energy” in Sanskrit, is often used in yoga.

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