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 nameless 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 little desert emirate for his trade in rare tribal rugs from across Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran’s most dangerous regions, Riyaz Bhat, the rug man himself, 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 1600 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.
He might also tell you of his adventures through Kashmir & Afghanistan – interchangeable license plates, millions of rupees in cash, and trading of rugs against Yaqoob & Karakul Sheep through some of the world’s riskiest places.
Be sure to budget several hours examine his treasures from around the globe – his lectures will be punctuated by chances to slip out of your shoes and take each artful tapestry for an almost sacrilegious walk.
And if you’re looking to buy, be prepared to spend a lot – they may be worth every penny, but these hard-earned treasures are not traded for cheap.
Know Before You Go
Take Al Mergab Road from Family Food Center until Doha Clinic. Nearby.