Hyderabad: Muslims across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on Saturday celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr with religious fervour and gaiety.
Tens of thousands of Muslims offered Eid prayers at Eidgahs or open grounds and mosques in twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad and in the other towns of Telangana and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.
Attired in the new clothes and wearing skull caps, men and children thronged Eidgahs and mosques since morning for the `Namaz-e-Eid`, marking the culmination of the holy month of Ramadan.
The `Imams` or priests in their sermons exhorted Muslims to introspect and lead the lives in accordance with Koran and Sunnah, the holy life of Prophet Mohammed.
They advised Muslims to continue the good deeds of Ramadan for success in this life and the Hereafter. They underlined the need to have empathy towards poor.
The priests also made `dua` (supplication) for unity among Muslims and for peace across the world especially in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Palestine and Egypt.
The biggest congregation was held at the historic Mir Alam Eidgah in Hyderabad. The historic Makkah Masjid, Hocky Grounds, Military Grounds, Secunderabad Eidgah and Madannapet Eidgah also saw huge gatherings.
Police made elaborate arrangements for the smooth conduct of the Eid prayers by imposing traffic restrictions.
Hyderabad Police Commissioner Mahender Reddy, who supervised the arrangements, said 15,000 personnel were deployed in the city for peaceful and smooth conduct of prayers.
A festive mood prevails in Muslim neighbourhoods as people greeted each other. Muslims constitute 30 percent of Hyderabad`s nine million population.
Minister for Commercial Taxes T Srinivas Yadav participated in the prayers at Nallagutta Masjid in Secunderabad and greeted Muslim brethren.
Eid was celebrated with religious fervour in nine other districts of Telangana. Major congregations were seen in the towns of Warangal, Karimnagar, Nizamabad, Adilabad, Nalgonda and Mahabubnagar.
The Eid was also celebrated with gaiety in Andhra Pradesh. Muslims offered Eid prayers in Kadapa, Kurnool, Anantapur, Nellore, Vijayawada, Guntur and other towns in the state.
After month-long fasting, Muslims began the celebrations with prayers and greeted each other and people from other communities.
Before offering prayers, every Muslim family paid Fitra or charity (Rs.100) on behalf of each member as per the Islamic rules so that the poor can also celebrate the festival.
Well to do families also paid `Zakat` or 2.5 percent of Islamic tax on their wealth to the poor and needy in accordance with one of the basic tenets of Islam.
After the prayers, Muslims visited the houses of relatives and friends to offer greetings.
Guests were treated to sheer khorma (special sweet made of vermicelli, milk and dry fruits) and other dishes.
The shopping for Eid continued throughout the night and till Saturday morning. Markets around historic Charminar in the old city and other parts of the city were abuzz with shopping.
Governor of the two states ESL Narasimhan, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, his Andhra Pradesh counterpart N Chandrababu Naidu and leaders of various political parties greeted Muslims.
Muslims constitute 12.43 percent of Telangana`s population of 3.51 crore. They constitute 6.92 percent in the five crore population of Andhra Pradesh.