Badshahi Ashurkhana, Hyderabad

An ashurkhana is a gathering place for Shia Muslims for ceremonies, especially those connected with the Day of Ashura, the time of remembrance of the martyrdom of Hussain.  The Badshahi Ashurkhana is located near the Charminar in the heart of Hyderabad.  It was built around 1594.  It is a small, but beautiful, especially attractive because of its intricate tile work.

We visited the site with our guide, Jonty (, who recounted the story of the death of Hussain and explained the importance of Muharram and the role of the ashurkhana.  The death of Hussain at the Battle of Karbala marks the main split in Islam  between the Suni and Shi’ite communities.  The division is of great relevance to the world political situation today.

The site is well worth a visit.  The walls were damaged during a flood, so the bottom part of the walls have paint instead of tie.  It would be especially interesting to go during the month of Muharram.  The mourning period is the first ten days of Muharram.  Shi’ites fast, recount the death of Hussain and his followers, and perform acts of community service.


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