The Kashmir Handcrafts Emporium looks like any other unassuming purveyor of Middle Eastern trinkets, sandwiched between a Lebanese shawarma shack and a mirror store on one of Qatar’s many dusty streets.
Up its rickety steep staircase however, hides a sultan’s bounty of finely crafted Arabian carpets, and the trade of Doha’s notorious Rug Man. Known across this desert emirate for his trade in rare rugs from across Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran, Riyaz Bhat, will educate the curious customer on the finer points of rug purchasing and carpet artistry.
With all the skill of a showman Bhat will unfold the 1,600 knot-per-square-inch silk rugs handcrafted by his own family, smooth as velour, and tell you the tales of origin for every intricate design on its surface. His family has been producing intricate silk carpets for generations.
Bhat might also tell you of his adventures through Kashmir and Afghanistan—interchangeable license plates, millions of rupees in cash, and trading of rugs against Yaqoob and Karakul Sheep through dangerous situations.
Be sure to budget several hours examine his treasures from around the globe, as Bhat’s lectures will be punctuated by chances to slip out of your shoes and take a test walk across some of the artful tapestries. If you’re looking to buy, be prepared to spend—these hard-earned treasures are not traded for cheap, but they are worth every penny.
Know Before You Go
Take Al Mergab Road from Family Food Center until Doha Clinic. Nearby.