Hyderabad: When the city shivered in harsh winters, or ran to find shelter when it rained cats and dogs, it was the Tibetan refugee markets in Koti and Chaderghat that helped many.
That was the past. The days when the markets managed to retain their own charm despite scores of brand outlets sprouting across the city and the days when those from far would reach Chaderghat to purchase sweaters, blankets and other woolen wear are no longer to be seen.
Now, online portals have hit the Tibetans in Hyderabad hard. The business has turned dull, and people no longer bother to travel far to buy winter or monsoon wear. Many of the Tibetans have now disappeared from the city, shifting their business to Andhra Pradesh and different hill stations across the country.
In the vicinities of the Imlibun bus station alone, there used to be hundreds of Tibetan refugees selling winter wear which, they claimed were made of authentic wool. The scene has changed. It is difficult to even find their shops in Koti or Chaderghat.
According to Tseriy Yangdan, a trader at the Tibetan refugee market in Chaderghat, there are only 10 people left now, with hundreds of them leaving for ‘better pastures’.
“We used to have 100 stalls in this market, however, due to steep fall in the business, many have left Hyderabad,” she said, adding that profits were hard to come by these days.
The refugee market has a wide collection, ranging from hand gloves, mufflers, shawls and monkey caps to sweaters, jackets, blankets and other warmers.
Sweaters and jackets are sold in a price range of Rs 300 to Rs 2,000 depending on their quality. Most of the winter clothes being sold here are made in Dehradun, Nepal, Himachal Pradesh and Ludhiana.
Usually, Tibetan refugees come to the city in October and set up their stalls and run their business till January. After the season, they return to their residences elsewhere in the country. Their livelihood is mainly dependent on winter clothing.
Another trader, Dawa Dolma, said online shopping was the major blow to their business. “Apart from this, every lane is now dotted with winter cloth stores, which has dented our business sharply,” she added.
Meanwhile, vendors from various parts of the country such as Rajasthan, Haryana, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh are also doing brisk business with the advent of winter in the city. The prices have gone up slightly compared to that of last year, mostly on fancy items.