Culture · Events · Heritage · People

Bade Namaz


Muslims in the city of Hyderabad thronged to the largest mosque, the Mecca masjid on 17 Aug 2012, to offer their prayers on this holy day. Women offer their prayers from the premises of the Unani Hospital.

Text below from Wiki:

Also known as Jumu’ah-tul-Wida. Jumu’ah-tul-Wida  (Arabic: جمعة الوداع‎ meaning Friday of farewell, also called al-Jumu’ah al-Yatimah Arabic: الجمعة اليتيمة‎ or orphaned Friday) occurs on the last Friday in the month of Ramadan before Eid-ul-Fitr. Some Muslims regard this jumu’ah as the second holiest day of the month of Ramadan and one of the most important days of the year. Some Muslims spend a large part of their day on Jumu’ah-tul-Wida doing ibadah.

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Events · Heritage · People · Street

Lashkar Bonalu 2012

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After the Bonalu kicks off at Golconda fort it is celebrated in Secunderabad. The Mahankai Bonalu Jathara  is probably the most grand celebration of the Bonalu in the twin cities with the largest turnout. The energy and the spirit of the festival must be experienced to be believed.

The preparations for the festival happen on a grand scale where flowers and pots are decorated. The arrangements are made for separate queues for the devotees.

The text below is from Times of India.

A slice of history, women with colourful pots, a man dancing to the sound of reverberating drum beats and what have you?

The festival’s history can be traced to as recent as the 18th century, unlike most other festivals whose ancestry can be traced back to the hoary past. The story has it that in 1813, Suriti Appaiah, a ‘doli’ bearer in a military battalion, was transferred to Ujjain. Cholera broke out in Hyderabad around that time claiming thousands of lives.

Appaiah and his associates went to the Mahankaal temple in Ujjain and prayed that if people were saved from the epidemic, they would install the idol of Mahankali in Secunderabad. On their return, they installed a wooden idol of the goddess in Secunderabad in July 1815. This was replaced with a stone statue in 1964.

Following brahminical traditions, all hoary Hindu festivals are marked by astrological precision: their timings marked in terms of the sun/moon entering certain constellations in certain months. But Bonalu is a festival of the farming and lower classes and is certainly not brahminical. So the timing of the celebrations are not so rigorous.

Bonalu is celebrated in various parts of the city on different days, all Sundays. On the first Sunday of ‘aashaada’, celebrations are held at the temple at Golconda fort. On the second Sunday, at Ujjain Mahankali in Secunderabad, and the third Sunday, at the Matheswari temple of Lal Darwaza in Old City.
B Narsing Rao, a social activist says: “The celebrations begin at theGolconda, on July 22, followed by Secunderabad on July 29 and at the OldCity on August 5”.
Bonalu involves the worship of Kali and her various forms. She destroys disease and keeps pestilence at arms length. Narsing Rao adds: “Three deities — Maisamma, Pochamma and Elamma, are worshipped. The performances are marked by an element of agression. Potharaju, a masculine power, is believed to weed out all evils. Earlier, they used to sacrifice a he-buffalo. Now, goats or chickens are sacrificed to ward off the ‘evil spirit’. During Bonalu, colourful brass pots, smeared with haldi and kumkum, and decorated with neem leaves are offered to the goddess. The pots usually contain a mixture of raw rice, jaggery, and milk. Sometimes, curd is also used. G Shankar, who lives near the Mahankali temple in Secunderabad, says: “A month before the actual festival begins, there is a ritual called ‘ghatam’, wherein the deity is decked up with flowers and taken to the doorstep of those who cannot come to the temple”.
He adds: “On the first day of Bonalu, ‘phalaru bandulu’, a buffalo cart, laden with fruits is taken around (phalaru means fruits and bandlu, cart). On the second day of the festival, a ritual known as ‘rangam’ is held. Here, a woman stands on a wet clay pot and makes predictions. This is held mostly between8.30 am and 9.30. An hour later, a procession is taken out on an elephant up to Mettuguda. Earlier, Mettuguda was the border of the city. To this day, the tradition continues”.
“There’s a lot of revelry attached to the festivities. Since animal sacrifice is banned at the temples, people mostly do it at home”, says Shankar.
“Bonalu is celebrated in the Old City too. There are three main temples that celebrate the festival: Akkanna Madanna temple in Haribowli, Muthyalu temple in Shah Ali Banda and the Mahankali temple at Lal Darwaza.”
However, of these, celebrations at the 400-year-old Akkanna Madanna temple are the most popular. A bonalu procession is taken around the area on an elephant with the image of goddess Mahankali. Ayub Khan, who has seen Bonalu celebrations for long says that fifty years ago, Muslims too would participate in this festival. “In fact, one year, a Muslim was the potharaju.” Ujjain Mahankali temple’s executive director K Krishnaswamy says: “Every year, lakhs of devotees congregate to pay obeisance to Mahankali. Since some areas in Bidar and Maharashtra were part of the Nizam’s dominions, people from those areas also come here to take part in the celebrations”.Other than these big temples, many villages have their own version of the festival. Gandicheru, a tiny hamlet tucked away near theRamoji Film City, celebrates it by worshiping a small idol of Poshamma mata, decorated with vermillion and turmeric.
Lalithamma, who has been part of this for over 50 years says: “Every year, a family spends around Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 for Bonalu. We start decorating the pots with haldi, kumkum and neem leaves and by evening, we are all set for the procession. This goes on till midnight”, she says. “The purpose behind this ritual”, chips in another veteran Gangamma is that “our children should remain healthy” Source: Times of IndiaHyderabad21 July 2007

Daily Life · People · Street · Urban

Kids rallying amidst celebrations of the Milad-un-nabi 2012.

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Culture · Still Life

Its amazing that we get to learn new things on a photowalk. In this case, every Tuesday and Saturday rahu-pooja is performed between 3-5 pm which involves lighting lamps in half a lemon. One’s desires are said to be fulfilled if this ritual is performed.

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Architecture · Heritage · Still Life · Windows

Simplicity usually is very captivating. I often like to capture details in architecture, esp when they are graphic. This monument has its own story to tell too, but it shall have to wait till the next few posts!

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Architecture · Heritage · Monument · People

Mahboob Chowk Mosque

Mahboob Chowk is  slightly ahead of the Lad Bazaar area, and gets its name from the Nizam VI Mahboob Ali Pasha. It has a clock tower and mosque beyond it. The shops near the clock tower sell metallic decorative pieces, locks, tools, books.  The mosque was built in 1817 and has a definite old world character. The mosque is situated on the top floor, and at the lower level there are many shops that sell fruits, and food, naan and kebabs. The expenses of mosque are met by the rent paid by these vendors to the mosque committee. This is a tradition that has continued for many years.

On a days leading upto Eid-ul-Fitr,  I was in search of a place where an iftar party would occur and asked a few shop owners at Lad Bazaar. They informed me of a few places but the closest was at Mahboob Chowk mosque. I went to the mosque at the specified time and climbed the flight of stairs after asking if it was alright to do so. As I reached the topmost step I looked around to ask once again (just to be doubly sure).  A gentleman took my query and just as he was about to answer, the mosque lit up and he was awe -struck and gasped “mashaallaah”. As a monument, the mosque is neither huge nor grand in comparison to many others in the vicinity. But the festive mood and the time of the day(twilight) in addition to the illumination made it all the more charming. I took a few shots -(but I am yet to see a photograph that can give you goose-bumps). After I took a few pictures at the start of the Iftar party, I was invited to join them. Not quite sure if I should, I politely thanked them. They insisted I accept at least the dates. (Dates are often eaten to break the fast during Ramazan) I accepted, said my silent prayers and was grateful for the experience. Some experiences do not need a camera to document, and sometimes a camera is not capable of documenting entirely.

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