Barkas was a military barracks of the erstwhile Nizam of Hyderabad

For Hyderabads little Yemen Arab lungis are something specialImage By arrangement
news Lungis Wednesday, June 22, 2016 - 21:24

Elderly men sipping suleimani in little tea shops are a familiar sight in Hyderabad’s old city. But what makes the barkas area stand out is that the men are often dressed in the iconic lungis and Arab gowns that is their heritage. The popularity of the lungis is only growing.

Barkas was a military barracks of the erstwhile Nizam of Hyderabad. The area’s residents say that their ancestors who were of Yemeni origin, came to Hyderabad around 200 years ago. Today, the area is known as Hyderabad’s little Yemen.

In the month of Ramzan, the mood is festive at sunset when people gather to break the fast. During the day however, you can see many shoppers bustling around looking for the best lungi or gown their money can buy.

Saleh Alkatheri, a resident of Barkas, says, “We’ve always worn this traditional outfit as our ancestors too wore it. We buy new lungis every Ramzan not just for ourselves, but also to gift to family members and relatives.”

“Arab lungis are not ordinary lungis. They are thick in texture and made of a material called as 'Stable' with a mixture of saffron. People from all over Hyderabad come to Barkas to buy these lungis,” says Mohammad Sarfaraz who has been running Huma Collections for the past nine years.

The practice of gifting has gone up in the past few years and sales this year have shot up to 300% from the previous year, Sarfaraz says.

Shops stock Arab Lungis for boys of around 14 years as well as for adults. Lungis are priced between Rs 1,500 and Rs 7,500. About 60-70% of customers buy lungis which are priced at Rs 1,500. The garment is available in white, grey, brown, maroon. Most people mostly prefer dark colours, Sarfaraz says.

Sarfaraz says that he sells a number of other Arabic goods which are manufactured in Java, Indonesia but imported from Saudi Arabia. These include Arab clothing, Arab footwear, Arab Gowns.  

64-year-old Mohammed Abdul Hakim is a regular at Huma Collections. “I buy three lungis of Rs 1,500-2,000 range every time I visit. During Ramzan I buy nine lungis for my sons, brothers and everyone in the family. I can use these lungis for at least six to eight months. I don't wear lungis when I go out; I prefer wearing them at home.”

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