In 1982, Har and his wife, Anila, introduced the vibrant culture and diverse cuisine of his native country to New Orleans by opening the city’s first ever Indian restaurant, Taj Mahal. He had a passion not only for the food, but for the opportunity to introduce something new to his guests, as illustrated by this excerpt from the introduction to his unpublished cookbook:
“Running a restaurant was an art in itself but what was even more fun was the repartee with the guests. One of the real joys of being in the restaurant business is to introduce a person to the wonders of Indian cuisine for the very first time. So please, when you go to any restaurant, feel free to ask any questions that you may have.”
After his passing in 1997, Anila and her son Anjay took over Taj Mahal and opened Nirvana Indian Cuisine on Magazine Street in 1999. Now, 21 years later, his vision and passion are still going strong.
Har Keswani was a true pioneer in bringing India’s rich cuisine to the people of New Orleans, and his contribution to the city’s celebrated mixture of cultures will live on forever.