February 2, 2009

Commemorating Muharram in Taj Ganj of Agra, India

Location: Taj Ganj, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India(27° 10′ 48″ N, 78° 1′ 12″ E)
Date: 8 Jan 2009; 7.00am
Camera: Canon 400D with Sigma 17-70/f2.8-4.5

Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar and the most sacred month after Ramadan. The month is now primarily associated with the period of mourning observed by Shias in commemoration of the martyrdom of Ali’s son and Muhammad’s grandson Hussain. (Ali was the 4th Caliph and the separation of Sunnis and Shias stemmed from the belief of Shias that Ali should have been the first caliph and that the caliphate should pass down only to direct descendants of Mohammed via Ali, the Prophet’s cousin and son-in-law).

This festival starts at the 1st day of Muharram and lasts for 10 days until 10th of Muharram. Muharram is not a festival in the celebratory sense as it mourns the Karbala tragedy when Imam Hussain, grandson of Prophet Muhammad, was martyred in the early days of Islamic history. It is observed in different ways in various parts of India.

In Agra, profusely decorated taziyas (bamboo and paper replicas of the martyr's tomb) are carried through the city’s Muslim quarters. Mourners beat their drums to a frenzy, yelling “Hussain, Hussain” in “collective sorrow”. Unlike many other Muslim communities where Muharram is commemorated with show of grief and sorrow by chest-beating and inflicting wounds on their own bodies, it is less dramatic and more fun in nature in Taj Ganj.

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1 comment:

Makemytrip said...

Nice post! One of India's celebrations that depicts their richness in culture, tradition and history.
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