Charminar – Hyderabad’s ’shaan’

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.


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As we turned left, I saw the Charminar up ahead … Hyderabad 2010 112

… 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.

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looking at this, both the daughter and I marveled at how lace like the edges were

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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!

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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.

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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.


15 Responses to “Charminar – Hyderabad’s ’shaan’”

  1. […] Chitra Aiyer | Charminar, Hyderabad’s ’shaan’ chitra-aiyer.com/blog/2011/01/charminar-hyderabads-shaan.html – view page – cached 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. A post about our visit with many pics. Tags […]

  2. Very nice to see pictures. I rarely go around looking for pictures of landmarks unless I am going to be visiting. So it is fun to see Hyderabad through your lens. I remember that laad bazaar was what took you to Hyderabad. Waiting to see pictures of bangles.

  3. Being born and brought up in Hyderabad. this post interested me. A great way of presenting your travelogue. Wonderful pics too, guess you were using UV filters and polarizers, weren’t you? I liked the pics and the narration.

    Keep blogging
    Victor
    p.s. btw it is Mecca and not Makkah masjid ;-)

  4. Ty Mytri. Hyd posts - there will be many.

    Victor, thanks - glad you liked the post and pics.
    No filters or polarizers.
    I knew it was Mecca, but on Wikipedia, the Hyd masjid alone is spelt Makkah. So, I went out of the way to spell it that way …. Now, I am lost.

  5. My bad. U can rely on Wiki info, than mine.

  6. If I was a Hyderabadi, I would probably be spending a lot of time in and around here. I have been here a few times and each time I discover something else to do. And there’s the lovely charminar itself. The last trip, I just went around hunting for the best Biryani and it was yum!

  7. The places around charminar has an old world charm and one can shop here for attars, bangles and pearls., even dresses (embroidery work) come at prices as less as rs.250.

    BTW did you notice the hindu temple beneath the minar, a symbol of hindu-muslim bhai-bhai.

  8. These pics are brilliant - I am surprised that you managed to get the blue hues of the sky without a CPL. Very difficult to get in a city.

  9. Lovely pics of the 4-minar.

    Hearty congrats for all your achievements, Chitra aka Chitra EOS (Extra Ordinary Soul) 1000D IER! Need I say that you have an unCANNONY ability to click at the exact moment!

    When are you releasing the coffee table book?

    Best wishes for all your future endeavours.

    bellur rk

  10. Lov the picz Chitra…
    some of the perspective r fantastic..i might hav stopped after 1 descent shot, after seeing this stream, got new iDEAS. Thank u
    Rgds

  11. Very interesting and informative travelogue. We were in Hyderabad for three years before coming to Bangalore. You find the old world charm in Hydbad that’s mississing in Bangalore. I only we tookmore care of our heritage sites.

  12. You planned your Hyd trip based on what you saw in your lil one’s comprehension worksheet!! :D Totally awesome that is. So quirky too!

    Like the fotos a lot - the blue of the skies make such a lovely contrast

  13. Lovely series! It’s been quite some time since I visited your blog…lots to catch up with!

  14. Lovely pictures! :)

  15. Chitraji,

    can you please let me know which camera you have used for taking pictures? wonderful pictures.
    Best wishes.

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