Muharram, also called Peerla Panduga is an important festival in the state of Telangana. Muharram is a festival marked by processions. During this occasion, a relic called Alam is taken out as a procession. Ashurkhana, representing a group of Sufi Shrines, is the area where the procession takes place, Many Muslims and even Hindus take part in this festival by chanting Ya Hussain as they participate eagerly in this procession.
In Dabeerpura area of Hyderabad, Hindus are considered alambardaar, which means standard-bearers at the famous shrine of Bibi Ka Alawa. Hindus throng in thousands to worship the holy relic of Alam since it is believed that a darshan of this Alam gives them solace and peace of mind. On this special day of Muharram, Hindus visit Sufi shrines. Peerla Panduga is actually an occasion of sorrow when the Hindu devotees respect the sentiments of their Islamic brothers and and participate in a solemn procession.
The deities are brought from the forest to a spot for a period of 10-12 days when more than one crore devotees offer prayers and gift ‘bangaram’, which is pure jaggery to the deities. The entire place reverberates with divine chants and elaborate arrangements are made for this Jathara with thousands of buses arriving with pilgrims.
The Badeshahi Ashurkhana in Hyderabad has a rich 400-year old history and is also home to the maximum crowds during this festival. Thousands of Hindus visit this shrine, especially during the 9th and 10th day of the festival. Several foreign tourists also witness the proceedings of these festivities. The final day involves Alam being carried on top of an elephant as a procession from Bibi ka Alawa towards Masjid-e-Ilahi. The festival is also celebrated in many rural regions of Telangana close to Sufi shrines or Durgahs.