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Night view of the Charminar View from South Charminar in Hyderabad, India A replica of the Charminar built in the Bahadurabad locality of Karachi, Pakistan in 2007 Charminar illuminating at night Charminar built in 1591 AD, is a landmark monument located in Hyderabad, India. The two words Char Minar of Urdu language are combined to which it is known as Charminar (English: Four Towers). These are four ornate minarets attached and supported by four grand arches,[1][2] it has become the global icon of Hyderabad and is listed among the most recognized structures of India.[3] The Charminar is on the east bank of Musi river.[4] To the northeast lies the Laad Bazaar and in the west end lies the granite-made richly ornamented Makkah Masjid.[1][2]



Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the fifth ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty built Charminar in 1591 AD,[5] shortly after he had shifted his capital from Golkonda to what is now known as Hyderabad.[6] He built this famous structure to commemorate the elimination of a plague epidemic from this city. He is said to have prayed for the end of a plague that was ravaging his city and vowed to build a masjid (Islamic mosque) at the very place where he was praying. In 1591 while laying the foundation of Charminar, Quli Qutb Shah prayed: "Oh Allah, bestow unto this city peace and prosperity. Let millions of men of all castes, creeds and religions make it their abode, like fish in the water."

The mosque became popularly known as Charminar because of its four (Persian/Hindi char = four) minarets (Minar (Arabic manara) = spire/tower).[7]

It is said that, during the Mughal Governorship between Qutb Shahi and Asaf Jahi rule, the south western minaret "fell to pieces" after being struck by lightning and "was forthwith repaired" at a cost of Rs 60,000. In 1824, the monument was replastered at a cost of Rs 100,000.

In its heyday, the Charminar market had some 14,000 shops. Today the famous markets known as Laad Baazar and Pather Gatti, near the Charminar, are a favour, of tourists and locals alike for jewellery, especially known for exquisite bangles and pearls respectively.

In 2007, Hyderabadi Muslims living in Pakistan constructed a small-scaled quasi replica of the Charminar at the main crossing of the Bahadurabad neighborhood in Karachi.[8]


The structure is made of granite, limestone, mortar and pulverised marble. Initially the monument with its four arches was so proportionately planned that when the fort was opened one could catch a glimpse of the bustling Hyderabad city as these Charminar arches were facing the most active royal ancestral streets. There is also a legend of an underground tunnel connecting the Golkonda to Charminar, possibly intended as an escape route for the Qutb Shahi rulers in case of a siege, though the location of the tunnel is unknown.[9]

The Charminar is a square edifice with each side 20 meters (approximately 66 feet) long, with four grand arches each facing a cardinal point that open into four streets. At each corner stands an exquisitely shaped minaret, 56 meters (approximately 184 feet) high with a double balcony. Each minaret is crowned by a bulbous dome with dainty petal like designs at the base.

A beautiful mosque is located at the western end of the open roof and the remaining part of the roof served as a court during the Qutb Shahi times.

There are 149 winding steps to reach the upper floor. Once atop, the solitude and serenity of the beautiful interior is refreshing. The space in the upper floor between the minarets was meant for Friday prayers. There are forty-five prayer spaces.[1]

Charminar has the signature style of Islamic architecture.[10] This great tribute to aesthetics looks sturdy and solid from a distance and, as one moves closer, it emerges as an elegant and romantic edifice proclaiming its architectural eminence in all its detail and dignity. Charminar looks equally spectacular at night when it is illuminated. Apart from being the core of the city s cultural milieu, it has become a brand name.

Charminar is a beautiful and impressive square monument. Each of the corners has a tall, pointed minaret. These four gracefully carved minarets soar to 48.7 m above the ground, commanding the landscape for miles around. Each minaret has four stories, marked by a delicately carved ring. Unlike the Taj Mahal, Charminar's four fluted minarets are built into the main structure. The top floor, the highest point one can reach, provides a panoramic view of the city.[11]

The actual mosque occupies the top floor of the four-storey structure. Madame Blavatsky reports that each of the floors was meant for a separate branch of learning before the structure was transformed by the Imperial British administration into a warehouse for opium and liqueurs.[12]

A vault that appears from inside like a dome, supports two galleries within the Charminar, one over another, and above those a terrace that serves as a roof, bordered with a stone balcony. The main gallery has 45 covered prayer spaces with a large open space in front to accommodate more people for Friday prayers.

The monument overlooks another beautiful and grand mosque called Makkah Masjid.[13] The area surrounding Charminar is known by same name. A thriving market still lies around the Charminar, attracting people and merchandise of every description.


An artistic monument of Charminar made of 50 kilograms of chocolate and taking three days of labor, was on display at The Westin, Hyderabad, India. Lindt chocolatier Adelbert Boucher created the scaled model of Charminar which was on display on September 25 and 26, 2010.[14]

Commercial Area

Charminar is famous for many things, which cater to all the needs of the people of Hyderabad. The area is famous for Laad Bazar which is very famous for the Bangles, also called "Chudiyaan", mainly worn by women. The area is also famous for its variety of shops mainly Laxmi Vishnu Jewellers for Gold Jewellery, Agra Mithai Bhandar for sweets and so on. During the season of Sankranthi, the area is completely crowded with vendors selling kites.

See also

  • Qutb Shahi dynasty
  • History of Hyderabad
  • Tourist attractions in Hyderabad
  • Hyderabad state


External links

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