Charminar Hyderabad, Timing, Ticket, History, Location, Architecture, How to Reach, About Charminar, Bhagyalakshmi Temple at Charminar.
Built year: 1591 CE
Who built it: Muhammed Quli Qutb Shah, the 5th Sultan, Qutub Shahi Dynasty
Time taken: Approximately 1 year
Location: Hyderabad, Telengana, India
Why was it built: To commemorate the end of the plague.
Materials used: Granite and Lime-mortar
Architectural Style: Islamic
Visit Timing: 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM, all days of the week
Entry Fee: Rs. 5 for Indian Nationals/ Rs. 100 for Foreign nationals
The city of Hyderabad, with its delightful blend of the ancient and the modern, presents to the onlooker an interesting skyline with modern buildings standing shoulder to shoulder with fascinating 400 year old edifices. It boasts of some fine examples of Qutab Shahi architecture – the Jami Masjid, the Mecca Masjid, Toli Masjid, and of course, the impressive symbol of Hyderabad, the Charminar.
The Charminar is a massive arch built by Mohammed Quli Qutab Shah, in 1591 to commemorate the end of the plague in the city. The symbol of the city, the Charminar, is an impressive square monument with four minarets. The arch is illuminated daily in the evening, an unforgettable sight indeed.
The monument is a magnificent square edifice of granite, built upon four grand arches facing North, South, East and West. These arches support two floors of rooms and gallery of archways. At each corner of the square structure is a minaret rising to a height of 24 meters, making the building nearly 54 meters tall. It is these four (char) minarets (minar) that give the building, its name ‘Charminar’. Each minar stands on a lotus-leaf base, a special recurrent motif in Qutub Shahi buildings.
The first floor was used as a madarasa (college) during the Qutub Shahi period. The second floor has a mosque on the western side, the dome of which is visible from the road, if one stands some distance away. A spectacular view of the city may be had from the roof of the Charminar, although, due to severe overcrowding of the minarets, only visitors with special permission from the Archaeological Survey of India, Hyderabad Circle are allowed to go to the top of the minarets. The clocks above each of the four archways were added in 1889.
Walking around the Charminar area, one is constantly surprised by vestiges of the past intermingling with the present. Towards the Southeast of the Charminar is located imposing edifice of the Nizamia Unani Hospital. About 50m to the West, the line of shops in Lad Bazaar is interrupted by an old, crumbling brown wall, which marks the entrance to the old Nizama’s Jilau Khana (parade ground). The grounds are now being used for the development of a large commercial complex. Further down, a road to the left leads to the Khilawat Complex (Chowmahalla Palace). The Lad Bazaar road terminates in a square called Mahaboob Chowk where a large 19th century clock-tower looms over a delicate white mosque of the same period.
The Charminar is about 7 km from Hyderabad railway station. It is 5 km from Hyderabad bus station. Excellent private transport is available from all parts of the twin-cities. Called the “Arc De Triumph of the East”, Charminar symbolises Hyderabad. As old as the city itself, the four imposing towers of this edifice stand in the heart of the old city as a hallmark of the Qutub Shahi era.
The Charminar was built in 1591 by Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah, the fifth sultan of the Qutub Shahi dynasty of India. There are varying legends as to why he built the magnificent structure. One account says that the sultan built it in honor of his wife, Bhagyamathi (or Bhagmathi), together with the construction of Hyderabad itself. Another, more popular, legend is that the sultan built it to honor a promise to Allah when he prayed for an end to a plague that ravaged the new city. The building got its name from its four minarets, which were possibly meant to honor the first four caliphs of Islam. Another legend also holds that a secret tunnel runs underneath the monument that connects the palace at Golconda to it should the royal family need to escape but so far, no such tunnels have been found.
Architecture and Build
The Charminar is in a square shape, with the four minarets in each of the corners. The sides measure 20 meters each, and the minarets stand at a height of 48.7 meters from the ground. Every side of the Charminar opens into a plaza and through giant arches that overlook four major thoroughfares. The arches also dwarf the other features of the building except the minarets, and these could be the reason why the Charminar was given its other nickname. The minarets, on the other hand, have four stories each, marked by a carved ring. There are 149 winding steps inside each, which the visitor can use to climb up in order to glimpse a breathtaking view of the city. At the western end of the Charminar’s roof is a mosque–the oldest in Hyderabad. Atop the building are 45 prayer spaces where the devout can worship. The first floor has beautiful balconies where one can also get a fantastic view of the city.
Islamic architecture is characterized mostly by the deployment of arches, minarets, and domes in order to make a unified whole, and the Charminar answers to this principle impressively. In spite of this, though, it still has several features that answer to Hindu architecture, and as a whole, it embodies elements of the temple architecture of South India, a fitting testament to the Hindu and Islam-influenced culture of Hydebaran and the dynasty that built it.
Bhagyalakshmi Temple at Charminar
At the base of the Charminar is a small temple called as “Bhagyalakshmi Temple” which has been the centre of controversy for quite some time. Defying the irony of a temple present at one of the major Islamic sites, there have been arguments regarding its age. The Hindu newspaper published an image in 2012 claiming that the temple is not as old as the Charminar. Asserting that it’s a recent structure, it clearly stated that no temple existed in the photographs taken of the Charminar in 1957 and 1962. Whether a new addition or an older presence, the Bhagyalaskmi Temple is a fascinating little structure built just at the base of the opulent Charminar. People sightseeing this place, often pay their respects at the temple.
How to Reach
Charminar is located at a distance of 5 km from the Hyderabad Bus Station. APSRTC (Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation) runs regular buses from every part of the city. You can also reach Charminar by hiring an autorickshaw or a taxi from any point in the city.
Charminar is well-connected by road to all parts of the city. Multiple TSRTC buses connect the monument with key railway and bus stations. Autos are readily available from all parts of the city.