Jun 5, 2010

2 Beautiful Ashurkhanas

An Ashurkhana (also called Imambara) is a place where Shia Muslims gather during Moharram to mourn the death of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, in the battle of Karbala. Moharram is the first month in the Islamic calendar, and the day of Ashura, the 10th day of Muharram, was when Imam Hussain was martyred in Karbala, and is observed as a day of grief and mourning.

The Badshahi Ashurkhana was built by Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the founder of Hyderabad. This was the second building he built in Hyderabad, just a couple of years after he built the Charminar. The two monuments are located about a kilometer apart. Additions were made to the original structure later in the Qutb Shahi reign, as well as by the Asaf Jahi rulers.

The Ashurkhana's interiors are covered with enameled tiles covered in beautiful calligraphy,  that still retain their original colours and shine. The caretaker there, whose name was Hussain, was extremely friendly and knowledgeable, and gave us heaps of information about the monument. The Ashurkhana houses several relics or Alams of the martyrs of Karbala, that are displayed only during Moharram.
The very simple entrance that you will miss if you are not careful
Other structures in the Ashurkhana complex
Stunning enamelled tile work on the walls
Images from Shia monuments around the world
A cluster of switches and regulators
A framed image of the Ashurkhana's Alams displayed during Moharram
The other Ashurkhana we saw was the Alawa-e-Bibi, also called Bibi ka Alawa, built by the Asaf Jahi rulers. We found this quite by chance. We were looking for the Badshahi Ashoorkhana, when a gentleman on the road wrongly directed us to this one. It was a happy mistake, as we got to see two beautiful Ashurkhanas instead of just one.

Hazrat Fatima-e-Zehra, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad and the mother of Imam Hussain, is called Bibi. The holy relic in this Ashurkhana is a piece of the wooden plank on which she was given her final ablution by her husband, before she was buried. This Alam came to Golconda from Karbala during the rule of the Qutb Shahi sultans, but was housed in the Bibi-ka-Alawa only when it was built by the Asaf Jahi rulers.
Alawa-e-Bibi
The Ashurkhana seen through the green doorway
Another friendly caretaker
PS: If I have any facts wrong, please correct me, I'll be glad to learn.

5 comments:

  1. very nice collection of photos. I liked the historical perspective for the photo-shoot. Quite interesting. keep up the good work :)

    cheers,
    k

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  2. I would love to spend some time in Hyderbad some day clicking away. So much more interesting than my hometown Bangalore and Mumbai where I live now.

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  3. Fabulous shots Madhu:-)

    Visiting after a loooong time....love the documentary style.

    Arch

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  4. EXCELLENT PHOTOGRAPHS EVEN WHILE TRAVELLING IN AUTO.GOOD WORK KEEP IT UP BEST OF LUCK.
    SHAHID
    NEW DELHI
    JAN 27,2012

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  5. Anonymous12:21 AM

    Nice work also try to Visit Moula Ali http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moula-Ali

    ReplyDelete