Situated bang in the heart of the old city of Hyderabad, the Charminar (Urdu ‘Char’ meaning Four and ‘Minar’ meaning Tower) is one of the most recognized monuments in India. It is the architectural icon for the city of Hyderabad, equivalent to the likes of the Taj Mahal of Agra or the Eiffel Tower of Paris and is the most searched historical site of the city on Google. The imposing monument stands regally tall amidst the colorful bangle shops in the labyrinthine Laad Bazar of the old city and presents a beautiful glittering sight after nightfall (7pm-9pm). It is currently maintained by the Archeological Survey of India. The Charminar is situated on the eastern banks of Musi River with the Makka Masjid, another famous Qutub Shahi architecture, in the vicinity.
This 400-years-old structure was built by Sultan Muhammed Quli Qutb Shah, the 5th Sultan of the illustrious Qutb Shahi dynasty. An inseparable part of the history of Hyderabad, the Sultan built the monument right after shifting his capital from Golkonda to Hyderabad. Historians opine that the inadequacy of water and plague forced Quli Qutub Shah to construct a new city. He prayed to the Almighty to end his people’s suffering and pledged to build a mosque at the very site where he prayed. Another legend says that the Sultan saw his beloved, the beautiful Baghmati, at this very site and built the monument as a symbol of his eternal love for her. Though this legend gained popularity, it seems inaccurate when tallied with historical dates. In addition, the couplets inscribed during laying of the foundation stone translate as “Fill this of mine city with people as You have filled the river with fishes O Lord.”, indicating that the construction was concurrent with founding of the city.
When was it built: 1591 CE
Who built it: Muhammed Quli Qutb Shah, the 5th Sultan, Qutub Shahi Dynasty
Time taken: Approximately 1 year
Where is it located: Hyderabad, Telengana, India
Why was it built: To commemorate the end of the plague.
Dimension: The base is square, each side 20m in width. Four arches on each side are 11m wide and 20 m in height. The four minarets stand at a height of 56m from the plinth.
Materials used: Granite and Lime-mortar
Architectural Style: Islamic
Visit Timing: 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM, all days of the week
Entry Fee: Rs. 5 for Indian Nationals/ Rs. 100 for Foreign nationals
How to Reach: Charminar is well-connected by road to all parts of the city. Multiple TSRTC buses connect the monument with key railway and bus stations. Autos are readily available from all parts of the city.
Lesser Known: As a tribute to the city’s most iconic architecture, Lindt chocolatier Adelbert Boucher created a scaled model of the Charminar out of 50 kilograms of chocolate which was displayed at The Westin, Hyderabad, between 25 and 26 September, 2010.