Hyderabad: Eid-ul-Azha was celebrated Monday with religious fervour and gaiety across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
The day began with Muslims, attired in their best, offering Eid prayers at Eidgahs or open grounds and mosques in both the states.
Tens of thousands offered prayers in Hyderabad and nine other districts of Telangana and all 13 districts of neighboring Andhra Pradesh.
After the prayers, Muslims sacrificed goats or other cattle commemorating the great sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim.
Imams and khateebs (who deliver sermons) exhorted Muslims to imbibe the spirit of sacrifice and follow Prophet Ibrahim, who offered to sacrifice his son Prophet Ismail to please Allah. The Almighty replaced Ismail with a sheep just as Ibrahim was about to sacrifice him.
Also known as Bakrid or Eid-e-Qurban, it is the second major festival of Muslims.
The meat of the sacrificed animal is distributed equally in three parts. The person making the sacrifice keeps one part for his family while the other two are distributed among relatives and the poor.
The streets of the Muslim-majority old city of Hyderabad wore a festive look while butchers, coming from other districts, did brisk business.
Hectic activity was seen in many parts of the city as the sale of goats continued throughout the night. The goats and sheep were sold for Rs.6,000 to Rs.8,000 each.
The sacrifice can be made during the three-day celebrations, with Monday being the first day.
Islamic seminaries and socio-religious organisations were busy receiving the animals' skins, the proceeds of which are used for their activities.
Muslims families prepare special dishes of meat to celebrate the Eid. The visitors are also treated with sweets.
The biggest congregation in Hyderabad was held at the historic Mir Alam Eidgah where thousands people offered prayers.
The historic Mecca Masjid, Madannapet Eidgah, Hockey Ground Masab Tank and Military Ground Mehdipatnam witnessed other big congregations. Prayers were also held in hundreds of mosques in the city.
During their speeches before the prayers, the imams also prayed for peace and prosperity in the country.
Eid was also celebrated in Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Nalgonda, Mahabubnagar, Adilabad, Warangal and other towns of Telangana.
In Andhra Pradesh, huge Eid congregations were seen in Vijayawada, Guntur, Kurnool, Kadapa, Anantapur and other towns of the state.
This is the first Eid-ul-Azha after the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
Governor of both the states, E.S.L. Narasimhan, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and his Andhra Pradesh counterpart N. Chandrababu Naidu greeted Muslims on the occasion of Eid.