June 18, 2010

On a photo-shoot with Lakshmi Prabhala

Floral mosaic patterns and Koranic verses on the inner walls of the Ashoor Khana.
During the 1908 Musi floods, the Ashurkhana was flooded up to 6 feet and the mosaic artwork washed away. In this picture, you can see the paint below, and the shiny, intricate mosaic above.


Sunday 13 June, I went for a photo-shoot to Charminar with my photographer-friend Lakshmi Prabhala (who I met through this blog). She had decided on a not-so-well-known place she had not visited before. This was the Ashoor Khana, a place of mourning, which is frequented by muslims during Moharram. Just 10 minutes from the Charminar main road, is a gate that leads to the Ashoor Khana. One walks into a compound through a large green gate, and sees old buildings along the compound. It is quiet, despite the hustle of Charminar traffic outside, and there is an old world charm about the place and the poeple who are in charge. Met a genteel young man with the Hyderabadi tehzeeb; he's the 9th generation to be taking care of this place.

The Bade Shahi Ashoor Khana was built in 1594 by Sultan Mohammed Quli Qutb Shahi, ruler of the Qutub Shahi dynasty. It is a classic example of Indo-Iranian architecture, and is a house of mourning in memory of the martyrdom of Imam Hussain.

Lakshmi Prabhala's detailed writeup is here, along with her signature photographs.

Also visited another Ashoor Khana in Dabirpura. It was pouring cats and dogs, but we managed to go in and have a look.