Hisham Barbhuiya Oct 04 2014

What to Do, Where to Go on Eid al-Adha?

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Eid al-Adha, known as Bakr-Id in India, is considered to be the greater of the two Eid festivities held in the Muslim world. It stretches on for a period of four days across continents, based on the sighting of the moon. The motions of the day are more or less the same world over. However, when it comes to what exactly needs to be done on this day (these days rather) is a perplexing concern for many people in urban centers. Given that this day is marked as a national holiday, there are a couple of options to be tried out in the adjoining cities of Chennai and Bangalore.

A file photo of children on Eid al-Adha in Bangalore (Photo Courtesy – K Sunil Prasad)

In order to explore in these cities, one needs to be a little contended when compared to Hyderabad and the Malabar region, where festivities are a great affair and can be felt in the atmosphere. The beaches, the malls as well as a couple of historical sites such as the Tipu Sultan Palace and, the Marina Beach are great options. With the cities being just 5-6 hours away, you can actually celebrate in both the places in one single day.

How to begin the day?

If you are a perfume enthusiast, especially the traditional non-alcoholic ones called attar, head to the nearest mosque in order to get them. Though big brands will not be selling their products there, you can go for the lesser-known ones and I can guarantee you as a user that they will not disappoint you. Make sure you grab the one made of rose or gulab.

Goats for sacrifice in Chennai

The day begins with the Salat/Namaz in congregation, whose prime aim is to emphasise on racial and ethnic unity. It is an occasion to remind all that no matter who we are, everyone is equal in the eyes of the Almighty as we pray shoulder-to-shoulder. Once the prayer is done, it is time for the ritual sacrifice of the animal. The meat and skin is then distributed to the poor, relatives as well as relished at home. You can join friends and visit common friends to distribute the sacrificial meat and socialize a bit. Then comes the humanitarian work. You can lend a helping hand to the poor in order that they receive their share of meat as charity as well as animal skin.

The early morning prayer in Pristina, Kosovo (Photo Courtesy – Visar Kryeziu/AP)

Come back home and you can join a family as they light a bonfire and prepare the meat barbecue style. Cooking habits may vary from family to family, region to region. Never leave a friend’s house without eating that prepared meal, as it is an event which everyone greatly anticipates.

An Eid feast being prepared in Malaysia

Eid Tourism in Chennai and Bangalore

Having experienced and celebrated the festival in both the cities, I can say that there are a couple of places you can look forward to. One of them in Bangalore is the Tipu Sultan Palace. Visit this place and get to know how this great king lived in a modest manner. Head out to the eating hubs of Shivajinagar and Frazer Town nearby, and you will not be disappointed as a foodie. The only word of caution being that most eateries may be closed on the first day of Eid. To avoid this from happening embark on such a visit on the eve of the festival.

You may get plenty of Eid delicacies and discounts in the shopping malls of the city. However, my personal advice is that you can go on a short journey to Chennai (5-6 hours away) by mid-day in order not to miss the festivities there. Bear in mind that Chennai has good shopping and eating options too.

The best place and time to reach Chennai on Eid day is Triplicane/Light House during sunset. By this time cool breeze from the Bay of Bengal will start blowing towards you and soon enough families and youngsters alike start flooding down to the Marina Beach creating a carnival like atmosphere. Carry your own mat along to spread out on the sands and reflect. Your moment may not be so private, yet private amidst the crowds. See the children playing around you in the water and a different dimension of life can be discovered here.

Best Mall to Try Out

Finally, as you plan to wind your day up you can visit the best location I can think of personally, to dine as well as to shop. Moreover, it is almost adjacent to the Marina Beach. Yes, I am referring to the Chennai Citi Centre mall. Here you can go up to the food court right on top and enjoy the various Arabian and Mughlai delicacies as you sit and stare at the beach. What makes it special for me is its location near the beach. You will get a feel of Eid festivities here too.

Eid – a special occasion for the little ones (Photo Courtesy – onislam.net)

Eid – a special occasion for the little ones (Photo Courtesy – onislam.net)

If you plan every step before hand, Eid al-Adha in these two cities will be a memorable occasion for you, given the proximity. Make sure that you book the tickets well in advance in order to avoid the festive occasion rush as this time round, the festival nearly coincides with Dasara.

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