HYDERABAD: What do you think is more exciting, Eid or the night before? Well, many might agree to disagree that it’s Eid. The Laylat al-Jaiza, or Night of the Rewards, is a night where it’s as if time expands itself to offer an exhilarating experience of the Ramzan season, maybe the best of the entire year in the Old City. This night makes one lose their senses to the wealth of emotions and create memories in the abundance of the city that is Hyderabad — offering unique ways to make an everlasting impression of its liveliness.
It is abuzz with hundreds of touts/street vendors screaming at the peak of their voices independently and yet, in harmony. A visit to Charminar even at 2 am on the night before Chaand Raat, is a celebration in itself. Perhaps, it’s a place — the ‘Charminar’ in the skyline — or probably the food offered with the view, or the myriad scents arising from attars, oud, florists or just people.
Perhaps it’s just people who make it all happen — the hyperlocal Hyderabadis who throw open jewellery boxes like treasure in front of their customers. On Sunday, a night before the Chaand Raat, Charminar was not well lit with the artificial lights, but revered. Mecca Masjid was not crammed but turned into a shelter for families that grew tired after shopping in the winding streets of Charminar. Devotees carried a face of utter devotion and submission in the aura of the chandelier-ornate mosque. Here are a few glimpses of Charminar before Chaand Raat.