A mood of mourning pervaded in the old city of Hyderabad as "Yaum - e - Ashura" was observed on Tuesday with solemnity and somberness.
It was all black and blood during the historic "Bibi - ka - Alam", the traditional mourning procession by Shias.
"Yaum - e - Ashura" or the 10th day of Muharram, the first month of Islamic calendar, is observed in memory of the martyrdom of Prophet Mohammed's grandson Imam Hussain and his followers at the battle of Karbala.
With the processions, mourning and other rituals, people remember the great sacrifices of Imam Hussain and his followers who refused to bow to despotic and tyrannical authority.
'Tazia' processions were also taken out in other towns of Telangana and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.
Meetings recalling the supreme sacrifices of the martyrs of Karbala and fasting marked the day in both the state.
People also organized feeding of the poor and distributed water and 'sharbat' (juice) to observe the day.
There were scenes of communal harmony as Hindus and Muslims came together in several parts of Telangana to take out "alams" in a traditional manner.
The traditional "Bibi - ka - Alam" procession in the old city of Hyderabad passed off peacefully amid tight security arrangements.
Blood oozed out from the heads and chests of hundreds of bare - chested Shia mourners who flagellated themselves with sharp - edged objects.
Amid cries of "Ya Hussain" and recitation of marsiyas (elegies) and noha - khwani (poems expressing sorrow), various groups of barefoot youths using knives, blade - encrusted chains and other sharp - edged weapons, inflicted injuries on themselves to show solidarity with the sufferings of the martyrs.
Others were seen weeping and beating their chests.
The massive procession began in the afternoon from "Bibi Ka alawa" in Dabeerpura with the "alam" or insignia of the martyrs kept on a decorated elephant.
The "Bibi ka alam" is believed to contain a piece of wooden plank on which Bibi Fatima Zehra, daughter of Prophet Mohammed, was given the final ablution.
The "alam" was installed over 430 years ago during the Qutub Shahi period.
The procession passed through various parts of the old city including historic Charminar and thousands of people, irrespective of religion and caste, stood along the roads to pay their respects.
Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar made offering to the "alam".
Prominent personalities, including politicians, officials and family members of Nizam, the ruler of erstwhile Hyderabad state, made the offerings enroute the procession, which will culimate after the sunset at Chaderghat on the banks of Musi river.
Water and "sharbat" were distributed from the stalls set up at various places in the old city of Hyderabad, which has the second highest population of Shia Muslims in the country after Lucknow.
The Sunni Muslims observed the day by fasting and holding meetings to remember the sacrifices of Imam Hussain and his followers who were martyred in 61 Hijri or 680 CE at Karbala in present day Iraq.
The fasting is observed on two days - ninth and 10th or 10th and 11th Muharram.
Elaborate security arrangements were made for peaceful and smooth conduct of the procession in Hyderabad.
Closed - circuit television cameras were also installed on the procession route to keep a tight vigil.
Police also imposed restrictions on traffic movement at various points of old city.
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, in his message on the occasion, said that Muharram commemorates the supreme sacrifice made by Imam Hussain.
"Remembrance of goodness and sacrifice signifies the true spirit of Moharram.
Let us emulate the spirit of sacrifice on Muharrum which embodies humanism which is central to Islam, " he said.