The first thought when I saw the Charminar was ‘hey, this isnt as imposing as I thought it would be!’ The Charminar was a pleasant sight amidst the hustle and bustle of the busy streets in the old part of Hyderabad. The proportions of this beautiful structure almost makes it sweet-looking; it really is one of the nicest monuments I have seen.
We parked the car at the Chowmahalla palace. And after seeing the palace, we walked to Charminar. See map below. ‘A’ is Chowmahalla and ‘B’ is Charminar.
… and I was really surprised to not find it belittling! This is in spite of having seen many many pics of it all over the internet.
Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the 5th ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty built Charminar at the end of the 16th century, shortly after he had shifted his capital from Golkonda to what is now known as Hyderabad. Apparently, 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 mosque at the very place where he was praying. The mosque became popularly known as Charminar because of its four minarets.
The structure was at one time the heart of the city. There is also a legend of an underground tunnel connecting the palace at Golkonda to Charminar, possibly intended as an escape route for the Qutub Shahi rulers.
I was also pleasantly surprised to see it very elegantly designed – again, the surprise factor was about not finding it imposing at all, even when we walked right under it! The carved intricate details were very beautiful.
looking at this, both the daughter and I marveled at how lace like the edges were
We could see people at the first storey, however, we didn’t go up ourselves. It was in the middle of the afternoon and the place was very very crowded. We didn’t want to wear the kids out. We had already spent a few hours at the Chowmahalla palace and we still had to walk around in the neighbourhood. Perhaps another time!
Some interesting trivia excerpts about the Charminar from Wikipedia:
- The actual mosque occupies the top floor of the four-storey structure.
- 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. Sad!
- In 2007, Hyderabadi Muslims living in Pakistan constructed a replica of the Charminar in Karachi.
Charminar overlooks another beautiful and grand mosque, the Makkah Masjid. Will post about it soon. Here’s a view of the Charminar from the Makkah Masjid.
the little boy is my son enjoying running behind the goats at the Makkah masjid ..
The famous Laad bazaar is right near the Charminar. It is famous for its exquisite bangles; it is the daughter’s 2nd grade school comprehension worksheet about the Laad bazaar that got me planning our Hyderabad trip. Will post about the Laad bazaar too.
All pics in this post are mine. Please do not use them without my permission.