At cultural hub — Charminar

Keeping fond memories of Salar Jung Museum, we headed towards Charminar. Manouvering through the narrow road filled with autos and pedestrians. It was a bumper-to-bumper traffic and the vehicvles were moving very slowly. Pedestrains walking on roads and crossing the road was a common sight and honking horns was in vain, for they rarely bothered about vehicles passing through. As it was turning dark, we wondered if we would get any parking space. But fortunately, we found a parking lot near Charminar itself.

When we reached the place, it was 5.35 pm, five minutes late, as the closing time was 5.30 pm!

We had to console ourselves taking pictures outside the spot and envy those who were enjoying the beatuy of the city from the minar 😦

Interestingly, we found a temple dedicated to a Hindu Goddess near Charminar.

I wished that I had visited Hyderabad in my school and college days. It would have helped me immensely in my History papers.

Mohammed Quli Qutab Shah constructed Charminar in 1591 to mark the end of plague in Hyderabad.

Charminar is a massive and impressive structure with four minarets. It has four imposing arches facing four directions. A row of small vaulted niches ornament each of the four arches. Charminar is square in shape and each side measures 100 feet.

The minar is a two-storied building with the first floor being covered. The balconies on the floor provide a great view of the surrounding areas. A small mosque adorns the top floor. The mosque is situated on the western side facing Mecca. The mosque is said to be the oldest surviving mosque in Hyderabad.

The four minarets of the Charminar dominate the landscape of the region. The minarets, their domed finials rising from their lotus-leaves cushion, rise to 180 feet from the ground. The whole structure contains various small and ornamental arches arranged in vertical and horizontal fashion. The cornice on the first floor upholds a series of six arches and capitals on each portico, rising to the double-story gallery of the minarets. The projected canopy, decorative brackets and decoration in stucco plaster add graceful elegance to Charminar. On the upper courtyard, a screen of arches topped by a row of square jalis or water screens provides a delicate charm to the look of Charminar. Inside the minarets 149 winding steps guide the visitor to the top floor, the highest point one can reach, which provides a panoramic view of the city. All the four arches have a clock each installed in 1889.

The beautiful colossus in granite, lime, mortar and, some say, pulverised marble, was the heart of the city then. Initially, the monument with its four arches was so proportionately planned that when the fort was opened one could catch a glimpse of the bustling Hyderabad city as these Charminar arches were facing the most active royal ancestral streets. 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 in case of a siege, though the exact location of the tunnel is unknown.

They say that the Charminar market had some 14,000 shops and we went to get the feel of shopping in the famous markets known as Laad Baazar and Pather Gatti. The markets are favourite of both tourists and locals for jewellery, especially known for exquisite bangles and pearls. The colourful shops sell items like glass bangles, pearls, jewellerys, traditional Muslim gear and Mughla delicacies.

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