Hyderabad: Eid-ul-Fitr, the Muslim festival which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, was celebrated Sunday with religious fervour in Hyderabad and across Andhra Pradesh.
Clad in new clothes and wearing scull caps, thousands of Muslims offered prayers at Eidgah (open prayer ground) and hundreds of mosques in the state capital amid tight security.
The recent blasts cast a shadow on the festivities with relatively low turnout of the devout at the historic Mecca Masjid, where the blast during Friday prayers on May 18 had killed nine people.
The biggest congregation was at the historic Mir Alam Eidgah, where an estimated 300,000 people offered Eid prayers. Prominent religious scholar Moulana Hameeduddin Auqil Hussami delivered the sermon while imam of Mecca Masjid Moulana Abdullah Qureshi Al-Azhari led the prayers.
Seeking forgiveness from the Almighty Allah, the people prayed for peace, harmony and well being of the entire humanity.
Massive security arrangements were made for the Eid prayers at all Eidgahs and hundreds of mosques in Hyderabad and its twin city Secunderabad.
The sense of insecurity among citizens was heightened following the Aug 25 twin blasts at a park and a popular food joint that killed 44 people.
The city remained on alert ever since the near-simultaneous blasts as intelligence agencies warned that some suicide bombers could be on the prowl. The frequent checking and heavy police presence had their impact on the Eid shopping in the old city, famous for its centuries-old markets.
However, the road from Musi River to the historic Charminar was abuzz with activity till early hours of Sunday as thousands did last minute shopping for the festival.
Muslims celebrated the Eid having ‘sheerkhorma’ (a special sweet dish made of sewian or vermicelli with dry fruits) and other lip-smacking dishes.
Scenes of communal harmony were witnessed as non-Muslims greeted their Muslims near Eidgahs and mosques immediately after the prayers. They also visited the houses of their Muslims friends to greet them on the occasion.
Eid was also celebrated with traditional fervour in all major towns of the state.
Muslims constitute 35 percent of the six million population of Greater Hyderabad while they account for nine percent in the state’s population of 76 million.