Let’s start with the name because I know you’re thinking it. According to an online source, the store has no association with their namesake organisation and have their books regularly checked by the local authorities to make sure everything is running…lets say, ‘by the book’.
The Taliban store isn’t one you just come across and walk into. In fact, if you walk past it, you wouldn’t take a second look. It looks very old and run down. But once inside, after the initial feeling of claustrophobia and mild unease, you see tailoring accessories in every colour from ceiling to floor and excitement kicks in.
This is the place to come to if you are a hard core tailoring expert, looking to create costumes for shows or dances or looking to buy basic material to create an outfit.
They have a large collection of patterned borders lined across the walls of the store that cost between 5 and 20 riyals per meter (1 USD= 3.65 QAR). They also have iron on cloth and stone patches in Indian designs and spools of ribbon hung across the low ceilings. You get 5 meters of ribbon for anywhere between 1 and 4 riyals.
I even have a ‘where’s Waldo’ puzzle for you. Can you find my lost husband in the store?
A few of their walls are lined with containers filled with buttons priced between 2-10 riyals per dozen. I also found strings and packets of plastic beads in different colours between 5 to 12 riyals per packet. A lot of cute stuff among a lot of tacky stuff.
These guys take zips seriously. An entire wall dedicated to zips of every colour priced at 1 riyal for a pair.
The most fascinating part of the store is their collection of thread. My mom sows and my grandmother used to sow too. I grew up around tailoring. Yet, I have never seen these many spools in one place! They even have metallic thread in different colours. The thread is priced at 2 riyals for 3 or a dozen for 6 riyals.
You can also buy basic fabric in cotton, chiffon or satin for approximately 6 riyals per meter. You get bling fabric with all of the 80’s disco fever in it for…dance costumes?
They have ready-made Indian outfits for sale, mostly salwars, anarkalis, kurtas for men. Don’t bother, not any good.
They also carry tailoring accessories like measuring tapes, chalk, hooks, press on buttons, instruments to cut leather and scissors -you know those hardcore ones your mom never let you touch and would only be used to cut cloth or knight someone? Those.
They even have a door that looks like a wall of ribbons, that secretly opens into…a room of ribbons!
Timings: 8:00 am to 11:00 am and 3:30 pm to 10:00 pm, Fridays-3:30 pm to 10:00 pm
Contact number: +974 44371093
Tips: The plus side of the Taliban store is you have plenty of choice. The down side, you have to wade through a lot of stuff in a very tiny, cramped and dark store and hope there aren’t too many people inside at the same time. The staff aren’t too bothered, but will of course help you if you insist. Language could be a problem if you don’t speak Hindi, Urdu or Arabic. But don’t let that deter you, just point at stuff, you’ll do fine. Parking is tough, try to get dropped off.