Simply put, the Chillum is a kind of narrow funnel usualy made of clay, glass, stone or wood. The chillum can only be used for smoking when it has a filter stone inside it or the smoking substance will fall right into your mouth. Originally Chillums were made from fired clay but they also exist in wood, stone and glass.Traditionally found in India, although they were also found in South America. Chillums are special as their origins are spiritual in the first place. Holy men from India, the Hindu Priests, have been smoking the Chillum for thousands of years, smoking a Chillum for a them is like drinking red wine to the average catholic priest. In the sixties the Chillum started being used in America and European Countries by the Hippies.
Traditionnaly, the charas, or marijuana is mixed with tobacco.
Hindu ritual : The safi cloth is wetted, the stone inserted and then the herb is deposited in the chillum until full capacity. The mouth piece of the chillum is cupped between two hands so the smoker can inhale the smoke without ever touching the chillum with his lips. Touching the chillum with your lips to them is considered a break of etiquette, and is not well tolerated, of course this doesnt apply to everybody. Someone will then light a match, and before the smoker inhales various rituals to Shiva will be chanted. The smoker needs to puff strongly to ignite the chillum well, he then will pass always to the person on his right, while supporting his right arm with his left hand. The standard etiquette can become quite complex most Westerner have no chance of meeting the ritual standards of a indian priest.
Rastafari Ceremony : A chillum is used for rituals in Rasta sessions and is made of a cows horn with a large, concial, wooden bowl.
You should make sure the chillum is properly cleaned. A simple way to do this can involve rubbing the inside of the chillum with a cloth. This however is not very effective at removing bacteria which may still be inside the chillum near the mouth piece. This can re-infect the user on a regular basis, creating sore throat or flu-like symptoms. Making sure that the chillum is soaked regularly with very hot bleached water , and then rinsed out thoroughly with clean water. This is very important as the chillum could transfer bacteria and viruses to other users if shared. Chillum pipes made out of wood are more susceptible to spreading infections where as glass chillums are easier to clean thus less prone to bacteria.