Charminar Hyderabad is among the top 10 historical places in India, and it is one of those marvels that is soaked knee-deep in history.
Charminar located at the heart of Hyderabad, west-central Telangana state, south-central India situated on the eastern banks of Musi River with the Makka Masjid, another popular Qutub Shahi architecture, in the neighborhood. Hyderabad’s principal landmark and city symbol were built by Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah in 1591. According to one legend, the Hyderabad area was reeling from a destructive plague at the time that Muḥammad Qulī Quṭb Shah was shifting his capital from nearby Golconda to the new city. The ending of the plague was memorialized by building a mosque, now recognized as Charminar because of its four towering and unique minarets, each on the building’s four corners. Its four minarets believed to stand for the first four Prophets of Islam. It is currently preserved by the Archeological Survey of India.
The Charminar is a majestic creation in Indo-Saracenic style. It is composed of lime mortar and granite with stucco decoration. The square structure measures 20 meters to aside. Each side faces one of the cardinal directions and has a pointed arch that is 11 meters wide at the base and reaches 20 meters high at its apex. A multisided column rises on each corner of the structure and, atop a lotus-leaf base, continues upward until it culminates in a minaret with a dome-shaped roof 49 meters above the ground. Each minaret is accessed by a spiral staircase on its inner wall and consists of four levels, each of which covers the walkway around the exterior wall. Over the domes of the main structure are two stories. The first was once used as a madrasah, Islamic college in the Quṭb Shāhī era, and the second houses a small mosque. In attachment to the mosque, there are 45 other prayer areas. The Charminar’s roof and minarets provide picturesque glimpses of Hyderabad, prominently the well-known Golconda Fort to the west and the Lad Bazaar adjacent to the Charminar which is known for its traditional bangles decorated with colored glass and stones.
Various folklores and tales have been flowing about Charminar for a long time. One of them is that it was built at the exact location where Quli Qutb Shah saw his future queen Bhagmati for the first time! Another one talks about Charminar having an underground tunnel connected to the Golconda fort. However, due to lack of evidence, many such stories about Charminar history have been rejected by scholars and historians alike.
At the base of the Charminar is a small temple called “Bhagyalakshmi Temple” which has been the center of controversy for quite some time. Defying the irony of a temple present at one of the major Islamic sites, there have been arguments regarding its age. In 2012, The Hindu newspaper published an image declaring that the temple is not as old as the Charminar. Declaring that it’s a contemporary structure, it openly said that no temple existed in the photographs of the Charminar captured in 1957 and 1962. Whether a new addition or an older presence, the Bhagyalaskmi Temple is a fascinating little structure built just at the base of the opulent Charminar.
The beauty of Charminar Hyderabad does not simply lie in its structure, but also in what the structure means to the people and its symbolic importance. The mosque is always filled with people offering prayers. The area surrounding Charminar is bustling with energy at all times. Innumerable shops are selling innumerable things! But that is what Charminar Hyderabad represents; it is beautiful and larger-than-life, yet grounded amidst the everyday-life. It is sacred and mundane at the same time.
Very few of us know that Lindt chocolatier Adelbert Boucher created a scaled model of the Charminar as a tribute to the city’s most iconic architecture, out of 50 kilograms of chocolate which was displayed at The Westin, Hyderabad, in September 2010
You can reach Charminar by road to the city. Multiple buses connect the monument with key railway and bus stations. Autos are readily available from all parts of the city. The monument has its bus stop. Those coming by train should head for the Yakutpura Railway stop and walk 1.6 kilometers to reach Charminar. You must visit the grand Chowmahalla Palace, a 10-minute walk away from Charminar.
The Charminar is at the heart of Hyderabad’s central bazaar, a puzzle of roads crowded with shops, markets, stalls, and shoppers. Charminar is also famous for the lip-smacking dishes and great bargain shopping. The market around Charminar never stops to throb and is recognized for its ‘Chudi Bazaar’, Market of Bangles where you can buy the numerous colorful jewelry, try the actual ‘Hyderabadi Biryani’, and make your eyes lovelier with the ‘Soorma’ – a traditional Kohl made, particularly in Hyderabad. This is the perfect place to indulge in roadside eateries while filling your shopping bags with little trinkets. Charminar timings are from 9.30 AM to 5.30 AM every day, with an entry fee of merely Rs.5 for Indians and Rs.100 for foreigners. You can climb to the 1st floor for a view of the district. The 2nd floor, home to Hyderabad’s oldest mosque, and the upper columns are not open to the public. The structure is illuminated from 7 pm to 9 pm it is bathed in dramatic yellow, green and blue lights.
It is created with a variety of stones like marble, mortar, granite, and limestone. The affection of this structure will leave you awestruck!