The science of tandoor (baking flatbread in an urn-shaped oven) is not recent, but one that has been in existence since time immemorial.

During the Indus Valley Civilisation 5,000 years ago, people would build cylindrical clay ovens into the ground and light fires with charcoal.

The beauty of this technique was that within it, temperatures would rise to as high as 400 degrees Celsius, lending the bread and meat a charred or slightly smoky flavour.

But while the tandoor was prevalent during these historical times, it was only during the Mughal era that cooking meats in this style gained popularity.

History credits Emperor Jehangir for this. As the Mughals would shift base and move their army camps, Jehangir missed his tandoori delights.

To satiate his appetite, he had a portable tandoor created to prepare meats and bread on the go.

But the modern version of the tandoor gained popularity because of a gentleman named Shri Kundan Lal Gujral.

Around the time of the Partition of India, Kundan was forced to leave behind his eatery Moti Mahal in Peshawar and move to Delhi.

Unwilling to give up on the work he had built since 1920, he carried the tandoor tradition with him to the new region.

With a friend, he purchased a space in Daryaganj, eventually setting up the first Moti Mahal restaurant. The tandoor continues to be its pride even today.

Moti Mahal in Delhi became a space for people to gather and savour the flavours of tandoor.

The eatery’s website mentions that it has satiated the palates of famous personalities — such as the late US president Richard Nixon; the then Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau; the king of Nepal; and Soviet leaders Alexie Kosygin, Nikolia Bulganin and Nikita Khrushchev.

As the delicacies of the tandoor grace dining tables across the world, it is an ode to how this feast was born out of pure simplicity.