The Charminar or 4 Minarets is a historical monument that was built by the Qutub Shahi Dynasty during the late 16th century. Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah who was the ruler of Golkonda built the monument to commemorate the founding of the city of Hyderabad an important trade route. The structure is known for the signature 4 minarets, which are built in a marvelous Indo-Islamic style. The second floor of the structure also houses a mosque, which is also a remarkable work of medieval architecture.
Hyderabad tour is incomplete without a visit to Charminar. An amazing blend of Indo-Islamic architecture, Charminar represents the glorious history of the city. Built in 1591 by Sultan Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah, Charminar is a square-shaped structure which is 56 meters high and 30 meters wide. Popularly known as ‘Arc de Triomphe of the East’, Charminar was constructed in the honour of Bhagmati, wife of Sultan Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah; immediately after he had shifted his capital to Hyderabad, which was earlier in Golconda. The name Charminar, which means “four (chaar)” “pillars (minars)” came from its structure which consists of four intricately carved pillars, one on each side.
The inspiration of this design is said to have come from Shia “tazias” which have been built in the honour of son-in-law of Prophet Mohammad, Hussain. This square shaped architecture has towers in each of the four corners with all the sides of 20 metres in length. It has been built of granite and lime mortar. Each side opens into a plaza through giant arches, overlooking four major thoroughfares. Each arch has a width of 11 metres and height of 20 metres. The minarets cover a length of 48.7 metres from the ground to the apex. Each minaret of the building has four storeys. One can see the motif of Qutub Shahi buildings in the way each minaret has been constructed over base which looks like lotus leaf.
There are 45 prayer spaces in Charminar which is still visited by people, especially on Fridays. On the top floor of Charminar, there is a small mosque.
If you are a art lover and enjoy exploring the grandeur of decades old architecture, then not only Charminar, pay a visit to Mecca Masjid, Toli Masjid and Jami Masjid, a few finest exemplary of Qutub Shahi architecture.
Although one can explore the unique beauty of this majestic monument at anytime during the year, the best time to visit Charminar is between the months of October and March. Charminar looks mesmerizing with lighting in evenings which is a sight one mustn’t miss. Charminar timings for visiting are from 9 AM till 5.30 in evening. Although visitors are not allowed to enter the building after 5 pm, you can still have enjoyable time shopping and eating in the market which has sprawled across Charminar.
Shopping at Laad Bazaar is quite popular; promising an experience in itself. The good news is that one doesn’t have to spend huge amount of money to experience the beauty of this historical monument. This is because the entry fee is also negligible and the market is best for showing your bargaining skills! Charminar entry fee is only Rs. 5 for Indian visitors while Rs. 100 for foreign tourists. Along with entry fee for Charminar, there are also camera fees and others as per the applicability.
While visiting Charminar, you will have many other sightseeing options as well. One can visit other popular tourist attractions such as Chow Mohalla Palace, Shahali Banda, Kali Kaman and Patthar Gatti and Mecca Masjid which are situated nearby.