Located at the heart of the city of Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh and the city’s most iconic structure, Charminar is one of the most historically significant monuments of the country and is of religious importance as well. Nestled on the east bank of the Musi River, Charminar is a cultural landmark and is dubbed as the Arc de Triomphe of the east with four minars or pillars in all sides. This iconic structure was built by Sultan Muhammed QuliQutbto mark the eradication of the epidemic cholera that had ravaged the city in the 16th century. The monument is a magnificent example of Indo-Islamic architecture, with four grand arches that face each of the cardinal directions. The structure is made of granite and lime mortar, and it is adorned with beautiful stucco work and intricate carvings.The name Charminar literally means "four towers" in Urdu, and the monument is so named because of its four minarets that rise to a height of 56 meters. The minarets are each adorned with a small balcony that offers stunning views of the surrounding city.The old city of Hyderabad was inhabited around this majestic structure which is still apparent in its traffic ridden and chaotic bazaars with their labyrinth by-lanes filled with hawkers, bangle sellers, and food stalls.A visit to the city of Nizams is incomplete without taking in the infectious vibe of the place where it all began.
Timing – 9:30am to 5:30pm All days
Entry Fee – INR20 for Indians and INR250 for Foreigners
Built 400-years ago by Sultan Muhammed QuliQutb Shah, the 5th Sultan of the illustrious Qutb Shahi dynasty, Charminar is the centerpiece around which the city of Hyderabad is inhabited. A significant part of the history of Hyderabad, the Sultan constructed this edifice right after he shifted his capital from Golkonda to Hyderabad. According to historians, the scarcity of water and the plague that affected Golkonda compelled Quli Qutub Shah to construct a new city for his people. The sultan prayed for the end of the epidemic that was killing his people and promised to build a monument at the spot wherehe first saw the signs of the disease receding. He is said to have traveled to the top of a hill called Kulsumpura and saw a vision of a chariot with four horses, which he took as a sign from God. He then ordered the construction of Charminar at the foot of the hill.
Another legend that is associated with the construction of Charminar is that the Sultan saw his beloved, the gorgeous Baghmati, at the current site and the built a monument representing his love unending love for her. This romantic legend gained popularity among the masses but does not go along with the historical dates. Apart from this, the inscriptions carved during laying off the foundation stone translates as ‘’Fill this of mine city with people as You have filled the river with fishes O Lord’’, which indicates that the construction of Charminar was simultaneous with the founding of the city.
Charminar was originally built as a mosque, and it still functions as a place of worship. It has a prayer hall on the second floor which is large enough to accommodate hundreds of worshipers at a time. The monument also has several other rooms and galleries, which were used for various purposes over the years.Charminar has a rich history and has witnessed many important events over the centuries. During the Qutb Shahi dynasty, it was a center of culture, learning, and commerce. The surrounding area was known as the Charminar market, and it was a hub of activity, with shops selling everything from textiles to jewelry to spices.
After the fall of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, Hyderabad came under the rule of the Mughals, the Nizams, and eventually the British. Charminar continued to be an important landmark and cultural symbol of the city, and it was even used as a meeting place during the Indian independence movement.Today, Charminar is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Hyderabad. Visitors can climb to the top of the minarets for a panoramic view of the city, explore the market area, and experience the rich history and culture of the region. The monument has also become a symbol of Hyderabad's identity and a source of pride for its residents.
The Charminar has been constructed at the juncture of the historical trade route that links the market of Golkonda with the port city of Machhilipatnam. From the time of its construction, the city of Hyderabad was designed keeping the Charminar as its centerpiece and is sprawled around in four quadrants along the four fundamental directions. The structure was designed by Mir Momin Astarabadi of the Qutb Shahi dynasty who played a crucial role in the layout and preparation of the monument along with the new city. Several architects from Persia were also invited to offer additional designs and suggestions.
The structure of the Charminar is a perfect square with individual side measuring 20m each. The inspiration for the structure has been taken from the shapes of Shiya Tazias built to commemorate the tragic death of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Hussain, at the battle of Karbala. The four grand arches of the structure are 11 m each and open to four different lanes on each side. The four minarets on each corner 56m high that houses two balconies and are adorned with small delicate domes and detailed carvings on the exterior walls. Inside these minarets, there are spiral staircases with 149 steps and 12 landings. The entire structure is a fine specimen of the Indo-Islamic architectural style with plenty of Persian influence as well. while the arches and the small domes are made according to the Islamic architecture, the minarets show Persian architectural influence. The intricate stucco floral designs on the ceilings, balconies, and exterior walls speak of Hindu architectural influence as well.
The oldest mosque of the city is inside the second floor of Charminar on the western roof while the eastern part of the structure served as the king’s court during the time of Sultan Qutb Shah. There are two galleries one over the other with the main gallery consisting of 45 uncovered prayer spaces that can accommodate more people during the Friday prayers.
The best time to visit Charminar and Hyderabad is between the months of October to February. This is the winter season in Hyderabad, and the weather is pleasant with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 28°C.Visiting Charminar during the winter months is ideal because the weather is comfortable, and you can explore the city without being bothered by the heat.The winter months are also the festive season in Hyderabad, with several festivals such as Diwali, Christmas, and New Year's being celebrated during this time. The streets around Charminar arebeautifully decorated during the festive season, and you can witness the city's vibrant culture and traditions.
Charminar is famous for its intricate architecture and fascinating history which makes it one of the most renowned structures in India.
Charminar was built by Muhammad QuliQutb Shah in 1591 to thank the god to save his people from the plague that engulfed the city.
Yes, you can go inside Charminar after paying an entry fee and witness the structure and the praying halls.