Hyderabad is a city that is steeped in history and culture. As a resident of Hyderabad for all my life, I have seen the city change and grow, but there is one landmark that has remained constant throughout the years – Charminar. Charminar is the heart of Hyderabad and has a special place in the hearts of its people.
In this article, I will take you on a journey through the history, architecture, and culture of Charminar. I’ll also share with you ten reasons why you should visit this monument, whether you’re a first-time visitor or a regular to Hyderabad.
Charminar, a monument synonymous with the city of Hyderabad, literally means – “4 Minars” or “4 Towers.”
10 reasons why should you visit this historical monument
- Experience the hustle-bustle: Charminar is located in the heart of the Old City, and visiting the landmark is an opportunity to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of a bustling Indian market.
- Admire the architecture: The Indo-Islamic architecture of this monument is a sight to behold. Visitors can take in the intricate carvings, stonework, and minarets of the structure from up close.
- Explore the surroundings: The area around Charminar is rich in history and culture. Visitors can explore nearby landmarks like Laad Bazaar, Mecca Masjid, and Chowmahalla Palace.
- Learn about Hyderabad’s history: Charminar is an important landmark that is steeped in the history of Hyderabad. A visit to this place is an opportunity to learn about the city’s past and its cultural heritage.
- Taste the local cuisine: Hyderabad is famous for its biryani, and visitors to Charminar can indulge in some of the city’s best food at nearby restaurants like Shah Ghouse and Shadab restaurant.
- Shop for souvenirs: Laad Bazaar is a popular market that is known for its bangles and pearls. Visitors can shop for souvenirs and take home a piece of Hyderabad’s rich culture.
- Attend a religious ceremony: Mecca Masjid, which is located near Charminar, is one of the largest mosques in India. Visitors can attend a prayer service or witness the Friday namaz at the mosque.
- Enjoy a panoramic view: The view from the top of Charminar is breathtaking. Visitors can take in panoramic views of the Old City and the surrounding landmarks.
- Capture Instagram-worthy photos: Charminar is an iconic landmark that makes for great photo opportunities. Visitors can capture Instagram-worthy photos from different angles and perspectives.
- Immerse in local culture: Visiting this monument is an opportunity to immerse oneself in the local culture of Hyderabad. Visitors can interact with locals, learn about their customs and traditions, and get a taste of life in the Old City.
History of Charminar:
Charminar was constructed in 1591 by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the fifth ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty. The purpose of this structure was to mark the center of the city, as well as to commemorate the end of a plague epidemic that had ravaged the city.
The four minarets of Charminar are said to represent the first four caliphs of Islam, and the structure was built in just one year. Legend has it that there was a secret underground tunnel that led from Charminar to Golconda Fort, but this has never been proven.
It is believed that originally, the movement through the arches was unobstructed. The platform underneath the minarets was supposedly added later.
Some people call Charminar the “Arc de Triomphe of the East.”
Architecture of Charminar
Charminar is a magnificent structure that combines the Indo-Islamic style of architecture. The four minarets of this magnificent monument are 56 meters high and each has four levels, with a spiral staircase leading to the top. The structure is made of granite, limestone, and pulverized marble, and is adorned with intricate carvings and stonework. The arches and domes of Charminar are typical of Islamic architecture, and the structure is a visual representation of the fusion of cultures that is so characteristic of Hyderabad.
There are spiral staircases with 149 winding steps in each of the four minarets, leading to the upper stories of the monument. The 1st floor of this architectural marvel had a madrasa, and a mosque is located on the 2nd floor.
Surroundings of Charminar
Charminar is located in the heart of the Old City of Hyderabad, and there are several landmarks in its vicinity that are worth exploring. Laad Bazaar is a bustling market that is famous for its bangles and pearls. It is a must-visit for anyone who wants to experience the colors and sounds of the city. Mecca Masjid is one of the oldest and largest mosques in India and is located just a short walk from this place. Chowmahalla Palace is another nearby landmark that is worth exploring. This palace was once the seat of the Nizams of Hyderabad and is a testament to the opulence and grandeur of their reign.
This iconic landmark is open to visitors from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm every day, and the entry fee is Rs. 5 per person. The best time to visit this place is early in the morning or late in the evening when the crowds are smaller and the temperature is cooler.
The easiest way to reach Old City is by taking a taxi or an auto-rickshaw, but it is also accessible by bus or Rapido – the popular 2-wheeler taxi. Visitors should be prepared to climb a steep staircase to reach the top of Charminar, but the view from the top is well worth the effort.
Charminar is more than just a landmark – it is a symbol of Hyderabad’s rich culture, history, and heritage. A visit here is an opportunity to experience the sights, sounds, and tastes of Hyderabad, and to learn about the city’s past and its people. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a regular to Hyderabad, Charminar is a must-visit landmark that should be on every traveler’s itinerary.
- In 1756, Monsieur Bussy, the French general, and his troops occupied the building for a few days. A century later, in 1884, the guards of the Afghan city police were stationed in it.
- In 1886, the Charminar was declared a protected monument.
- Charminar was a place used to make proclamations and to announce the accession of kings to the throne. The last proclamation was made in 1911 when Nizam Mir Usman Ali Khan ascended the throne.
1. Visit this monument at night. It looks amazing when it’s lit up.
2. Try out the Irani chai and Osmania biscuits at Nimrah Hotel near Charminar. But remember, the Irani Chai is an acquired taste. You will either love it or hate it.
3. Visit the Laad Bazaar and the Mecca Masjid next door. Laad Bazaar is the market for bangles, and Mecca Masjid is another historical landmark in Hyderabad city.
1. Wear comfortable shoes.
2. Avoid the place on Fridays. It can get quite crowded because of Friday prayers.
Entry Fees to climb the monument:
1. Rs 5 per person for Indians
2. Rs 100 per person for foreigners
Alternatively, you can walk around the monument and the marketplace nearby.
9.30 am to 5.30 am on all days
What to do next?
Check out my article on 41 amazing places to visit in Hyderabad