Overview

  • Features: Monument with four minarets and the oldest mosque in Hyderabad located on the second floor
  • Opening Times: 9am to 5:30pm, daily
  • Best Time to Visit: Late October to early November
  • Duration: 30 mins to 1 hour
  • Travelled By: Bus
  • Cost: Indian/foreigner Rs 5/100
  • Address: Charminar, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
  • Type: Monument

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Summary

If you’re reading this article, chances are that you’re planning a trip to Hyderabad and you want to visit the Charminar. Being the signature landmark of Hyderabad it is front and centre on most people’s itineraries and deservedly so. However, before you go, read the article below which has interesting facts about Charminar Hyderabad, detailed information about its history and architecture, as well as frequently asked questions about this attraction.

Interesting Facts About Charminar Hyderabad

 

If you’re reading this article, chances are that you’re planning a trip to Hyderabad and you want to visit the Charminar. Being the signature landmark of Hyderabad it is front and centre on most people’s itineraries and deservedly so. However, before you go, read the article below which has interesting facts about Charminar Hyderabad, detailed information about its history and architecture, as well as frequently asked questions about this attraction.

 

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Interesting Information About Charminar Hyderabad

  • Charminar is the iconic landmark of the South Indian city of Hyderabad
  • Charminar means “Four Towers” (char minar)
  • Charminar was constructed on the intersection of the historical trade route that connects the markets of Golconda with the port city of Masulipatnam
  • The city of Hyderabad was designed keeping the Charminar as the centrepiece of the city
  • The Charminar was built to serve as a mosque and madrasa (Islamic school of learning)
  • The monument is made of granite, limestone, mortar and pulverised marble
  • It is of Indo-Islamic architecture style, incorporating Persian architectural elements
  • The spiral staircase inside the minarets has 149 steps leading to the top with 12 landings
  • There is a legend of an underground tunnel connecting the Golconda fort to Charminar

 

 

Charminar History

In the heart of the Old City stands Hyderabad’s signature landmark, Charminar. It was built in 1591 by King Muhammad Kuli Qutb Shah, the fifth ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty and also founder of the city of Hyderabad in 1591-92 A.D. Capped with four soaring minarets and holding the city’s original mosque on its roof, the Charminar has been the showpiece of the city since construction was finished in 1612 A.D. There are various theories regarding the purpose for which the Charminar was constructed. According to one legend, the location marks the spot where Qutb Shah first saw his lover, the beautiful Hindu dancer Bhagmati. Another story says he built it to celebrate the founding of Hyderabad. However, it is widely accepted that the Charminar was built at the centre of the city to commemorate the eradication of a deadly plague epidemic caused by Golconda’s water shortage.

 

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The Charminar was constructed on the intersection of the historical trade route that connects the markets of the Golconda with the port city of Masulipatnam. Mir Momin Astarabadi, Qutb Shah’s prime minister, played a leading role in preparing the layout plan for the Charminar along with that of the new capital city, Hyderabad. The city was designed keeping Charminar as a centrepiece. The city was spread around the Charminar in four different quadrants and chambers. Additional eminent architects from Persia were also invited to develop the city plan. The structure itself was intended to serve as a Mosque and Madrasa (Islamic school of learning). The monument is made of granite, limestone, mortar and pulverised marble. It is of Indo-Islamic architecture style, incorporating Persian architectural elements.

 

 

Charminar Architecture

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The Charminar is a square structure with each side 20 meters (66 feet) long, with four grand arches each facing a fundamental point that opens into four streets. At each corner stands an exquisitely shaped minaret, 56 meters (184 feet) high each having three storeys rising to a height to 56 metres. Each minaret is crowned by a bulbous dome with dainty petal-like designs at the base. Unlike the Taj Mahal, Charminar’s four fluted minarets are built into the main structure.

The spiral staircase inside the minarets has 149 steps leading to the top with 12 landings. The double screen of arches on the roof and the ornamental arches on the minarets add to the aesthetic value.

 

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The structure is also known for its profuseness of stucco decorations and arrangement of balustrades and balconies. The floral designs are varied and delicately executed. The architecture is a synthesis of Mughal and Hindu elements executed by local artisans.

There is also a legend of an underground tunnel connecting the Golconda fort to Charminar, possibly intended as an escape route for the Qutb Shahi rulers in case of a siege; the location of the tunnel is unknown.

 

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A mosque is located at the western end of the open roof on the second floor; the remaining part of the roof served as a court during the Qutb Shahi times. The actual mosque occupies the top floor of the four-storey structure. A vault that appears from inside like a dome, supports two galleries within the Charminar, one over another, and above those a terrace that serves as a roof, bordered with a stone balcony. The main gallery has 45 mushallas (covered prayer spaces) with a large open courtyard in front to accommodate more people for Friday prayers. The 2nd floor, home to Hyderabad’s oldest mosque, and upper columns are not usually open to the public, but you can try your luck with the man with the key.

 

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The clock on the four cardinal directions was added in 1889 and there is a Vazu (water cistern) in the middle with a small fountain for Ablution before offering prayer in the Charminar Mosque.

 

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Today, Charminar is the hub of a busy commercial area, where the grand mosque and palaces of the erstwhile rulers are surrounded by the Old City’s sprawling bazaars selling everything from saris and perfumes to cabbages and computers.

The structure is illuminated from 7pm to 9pm.

 

 

FAQs About Charminar Hyderabad

Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions about Charminar. If you have any other questions, please leave them in the ‘Comments’ section below and we will endeavour to reply to them as soon as possible.

 

Where is Charminar located?

Charminar is located in the city of Hyderabad in South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

 

Who built Charminar?

Charminar was built by King Muhammad Kuli Qutb Shah, the fifth ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty and also founder of the city of Hyderabad.

 

When was Charminar built?

King Muhammad Kuli Qutb Shah built Charminar in 1591.

 

Why was Charminar built?

There are various theories regarding the purpose for which the Charminar was constructed. According to one legend, the location marks the spot where Qutb Shah first saw his lover, the beautiful Hindu dancer Bhagmati. Another story says he built it to celebrate the founding of Hyderabad. However, it is widely accepted that the Charminar was built at the centre of the city to commemorate the eradication of a deadly plague epidemic caused by Golconda’s water shortage.

 

What is the height of Charminar?

The Charminar with its four minarets measures 56 meters (184 feet) in height.

 

 

How to get to Charminar?

The most affordable way to get to the Charminar is by local bus. There are various buses into the heart of the city from the suburbs of Hyderabad.

The most efficient way is to take a metered auto rickshaw or taxi to the centre of town. A metered auto rickshaw or taxi is the best mode of private transport as you don’t have to haggle for an honest fare upfront.

Of course, there are private cars with chauffeurs that can be arranged from a travel agency or hotel of your choice.

 

 

Charminar Timings

The Charminar is open daily from 9am to 5:30pm. The best time to visit is on weekday mornings to avoid the crowds that arrive by midday. Weekends are the busiest with locals visiting with their families.

 

 

Tell us what you think. Are you planning to visit Charminar in Hyderabad? If you’ve been here before, what did you most like about this attraction?

We love to hear from you so please leave your comments below. 

 

Charminar Map