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"Called as the 'Arch of Triumph of the East', the Charminar has been the best known landmark of Hyderabad. With its four minars and the huge arches dominating the surroundings, Charminar is the center of Hyderabadi culture and a symbol of Andhra Pradesh Tourism."
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Historical Monument – Charminar, Hyderabad

The Grand Charminar
The Grand Charminar

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The Pride of Andhra

Situated in the heart of Hyderabad, Charminar has become the most famous face of the city. In fact it is the most recognized monument in entire Andhra Pradesh. It is around Charminar that entire Hyderabad developed into a world class city. Famous for its unique architecture, the exquisite arch of glory is the masterpiece of Qutb Shahi Dynasty. Also called as 'The Arc de triomphe of the East', Charminar is called so, because of the four Minars that adorn all the four corners of the monument. Some even believe that the four minars may be depicting the first four khalifs of Islam.

The Story Behind Charminar

The magnificent monument was built in the year 1591 by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah. It is said that he built it to signify the eradication of plague shortly after he shifted his capital from Golconda to Hyderabad. He had vowed to build a Masjid at the very place if the plague ended. And accordingly, he built the Charminar. The top floor of Charminar has a Masjid which has 45 covered praying spaces. There is more open space to accommodate more people during Friday Namaaz (Prayers). There are around four floors which were all meant to be used for imparting education. But the British used it as a warehouse for opium and liquor. It is said that during the Mughal rule, the south eastern minar was destroyed by a lightning strike. It was then rebuilt in the year 1824.

The Speciality of Charminar

Charminar is built of granite and lime mortar which were available locally. One gets to see exquisite forms of Indo Islamic architecture in Charminar. The amalgamation of Indian style and Islamic style is clearly visible in the monument. Though more emphasis is given to Islamic architecture. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that, instead of minars being built separately, like in Taj Mahal, they are infused in the main structure itself. Charminar is a square monument that rise to a height of 20 m, The pointed minarets on all the four corners rise further 28.7 m to total a height of 48.7 m from the ground. All the minarets are divided into four storeys that look like rings encircling the minaret. Apart from the minaret, other dominating feature of the monument are the four huge arches on all sides of the Charminar. They are 11 m wide and 20 m high. Notice the clock that has been put up on top of all the four arches. At the top of Charminar, there are two galleries and a terrace. From inside, the galleries are scintillatingly beautiful with walls filled with moldings and carvings. To reach the upper floor, you have to climb 149 steps through the minarets. One is not allowed to go above that. Even from this position, one gets a mesmerizing view of the nearby areas of Old city Hyderabad.

And to get even more mesmerizing view of Charminar, the best time is at night when the monument is illuminated from top to bottom. Along with the Charminar, one can count the nearby market too, as an attraction for the tourists. In this market you can get everything from traditional to modern, though it is better to go for traditional items. It is said that during its peak, the market had more than 14,000 shops in it and people coming from all India to buy and sell items.

You would not want to miss out on this marvel for anything in the world. Such is the sheer brilliance and charm of Charminar that it puts even the most modern buildings to shame. A landmark for Hyderabad, it is a pride for the entire Andhra Pradesh.

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