Barkas, Hyderabad

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Coordinates: 17°19′07″N 78°28′56″E / 17.318595°N 78.482298°E / 17.318595; 78.482298

Barkas (Urdu: بارکس‎, (Telugu: బర్కాస్) is a neighbourhood in Hyderabad, India that before Indian independence served as the military barracks of the Nizam of Hyderabad. It is known for being inhabited mainly by the Chaush community, who are direct descendants of the Hadhrami Arab military men and bodyguards hailing from the Hadhramaut region of South Arabia, now part of the Republic of Yemen. Barkas is now in the old city area of Hyderabad. The name "Barkas" is believed to be derived from the English word "barracks".

Barkas was a colony of employees of the Nizams, the sovereigns of the erstwhile princely state of Hyderabad. As they were surrounded by hostile rulers in the Deccan, the Nizams (who considered themselves agnatically descended from the first Caliph Abu Bakr) put their trust in the tall and strongly built Arabs. Their personal army was mainly recruited from Arabs. Their numbers grew and the Arabs were settled in barracks on the outskirts of the walled, gated city.

One can savour Iranian dishes like Harees (meat cooked with crushed wheat and spices), Biryani (rice cooked with chicken) and Mandi (made from rice basmati, lamb or chicken, and a mixture of spices) in many places in Hyderabad. But the sweet version of Haleem, known by the name Harees, is only available in Barkas.


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