Hyderabad lies at the heart of the Deccan. The ocean is too far away to moderate the weather. A dry, sun-baked landscape of giant boulders, yellowing grass, menacing thorn and scrub forest greets the visitor. Temperatures swing between extremes. One can wake up to a cold morning, only to feel the sun beat down with all its might by high noon. No wonder then, that the people of the Deccan chose their clothes with an eye on the elements. Here’s an excerpt from Auguste Racinet’s Le costume historique.

“The illustrations here show the last chiefs of the Hindustani Kingdom of Telingana, of which Golconde was the capital… (on the left) Djihan-Khan, wearing an unusual turban, quite unlike that worn by Muslims in that it comes over the forehead in a point. Made of fine silk, it is held in place by a golden ribbon with pearls and an emerald in the centre. At its top is a golden jewel, representing the sun, set with large rubies; this fastens a spray of fine feathers that bend down under the weight of two diamonds. A band of pearls and fine stones is attached at the base of the feathers and hangs down on either side of the turban like a necklace. An under-jerkin covers all the upper body, and is fastened by a belt at the waist. Rich and poor alike wear this type of costume, designed to give protection against the sudden changes of weather characteristic of the region. Wide silk trousers taper down beneath the jerkin to a narrow fit at the ankle. Then come velvet slippers, slightly turned up at the toes and leaving the heels exposed. Over this costume, Djihan-Khan wears a wide robe of an almost transparent muslin, held by a silver-plated belt that is inset with precious stones. Beneath it are two sashes of cashmere with gold bordering – a badge of rank.”

Image Attribution: The image above is sourced from Wikimedia Commons and based on a plate from the French historian and illustrator Auguste Racinet‘s Le costume historique. Racinet lived from 1825-1893 and was famous for his depictions of costumes worn by people from around the world.