Adamjee Lukmanjee

Adamjee Lukmanjee & Sons

Adamjee Lukmanjee & Sons trace the arrival of their founder back to the mid-19th century on soil which at that time was called ‘Ceylon.’ The Dawoodi Bohra Adamjee Lukmanjee had travelled across the seas from the Gulf of Kutch as had others from the Bohra community, in search of their fortune on foreign shores.

The word ‘Bohra’ is derived from a word of Gujarati origins (vohru), meaning ‘to trade’ – and most Bohras were in fact astute businessmen of a number of different nationalities but all conversant with a dialect of Gujarati known as Dawat-ni-zaban. For a very long time, the community has been the stalwarts of the country’s import export trade, making their money as middlemen.

It is said that Bohras consider loyalty to the land they reside in as part of their faith, and Lukmanjee and his progeny have remained exemplary Sri Lankans.

From simple beginnings, he worked hard to gain a foothold in the bustling trading business in Pettah. His sole proprietorship flourished in time and he became a pioneer coconut oil manufacturer.

The tradesman relocated his thriving manufacturing and trading enterprise to Grandpass in 1907, and proceeded to make prudent investments in property and plantations. The family had truly arrived and put down roots in the island when in the early 1920s, the Adamjee Lukmanjee family bought the beautiful Lakshmigiri – the stately home of A. J. R. de Soysa on Thurstan Road.

In this home, the family were honoured to house the Head of the Community Syedna Taher Saifuddin on all of his five visits to Sri Lanka, and in commemoration of which the mansion was renamed Saifee Villa.

Anywhere, a Bohra is hard to miss. And Lukmanjee would have cut a dashing figure as he probably stepped off one of those large and hardy shipping vessels known as buggalows with his luxuriant beard, cap of gold lace and flowing snow-white robes in the 1850s.

Over a century later, despite setbacks and losses, a new generation of his progeny have worked hard to reestablish the company’s position as a prominent exporter – but ever mindful of the principles and values with which Adamjee Lukmanjee conducted his trading.

Like others of his community, he made a mark: as a business baron, as a landed proprietor, as a man who had come to seek his fortune and stayed to raise a family.

Adamjee Lukmanjee: set long-lasting traditions in trading.