Monday, 10 December 2012


The Charminar, built in 1591, is a monument and mosque located in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India.. The landmark has become a global icon of Hyderabad,listed among the most recognized structures of India. The Charminar is on the east bank of Musi river. To the northeast lies the Laad Bazaar and in the west end lies the granite-made richly ornamented Makkah Masjid.

The English name is a transliteration and combination of the Urdu words Chār and Minar, translating to "Four Towers"; the eponymous towers are ornate minarets attached and supported by four grand arches.

Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutab Shahthe, the 5th ruler of the Qutub Shahi Dynasty built Charminar in 1591
AD, shortly after he had shifted his capital from Golkonda to what is now known as Hyderabad. He built
this famous structure to commemorate the elimination of a plague epidemic from this city. He is said to have prayed for the end of a plague that was ravaging his city and vowed to build a masjid (Islamic mosque) at the very place where he was praying. In 1591 while laying the foundation of Charminar, Quli Qutb shah prayed: "Oh Allah, bestow unto this city peace and prosperity. Let millions of men of all castes, creeds and religions make it their abode, like fish in the water." The Mosque became popularly known as Charminar because of its four (Persian/Hindi char = four) minarets (Minar (Arabic manara) = spire/tower). 

It is said that, during the Mughal Governorship between Qutb Shahi and Asaf Jahi rule, the south western minaret "fell to pieces" after being struck by lightning and "was forthwith repaired" at a cost of Rs 60,000. In 1824, the monument was replastered at a cost of Rs 100,000.

Charminar has the signature style of Islamic architecture. The structure is made of granite, limestone, mortar and pulverised marble. 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 Golkonda to Charminar, possibly intended as an escape route for the Qutub Shahi rulers in case of a siege, though the location of the tunnel is unknown.

The Charminar is a square structure with each side 20 meters (approximately 66 feet) long, with four grand arches each facing a fundamental point that open into four streets. At each corner stands an exquisitely shaped minaret, 56 meters (approximately 184 feet) high with a double balcony. 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. There are 149 winding steps to reach the upper floor.the sturcture also known as profuseness of stucco decorations and arrangement of balustrades and balconies.

A mosque is located at the western end of the open roof and the remaining part of the roof served as a court during the Qutub 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 covered prayer spaces with a large open space in front to accommodate more people for Friday prayers.

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.

The above text courtesy form the website.

The Charminar in Hyderabad was constructed in 1591 by Mohammed Quli Qutab Shah. He built the Charminar to mark the end of plague in the Hyderabad city. Since the construction of the Charminar, the Hyderabad city has almost become synonymous with the monument. The Charminar is a massive and impressive structure with four minarets. In the evening, with illumination, the great Charminar looks even greater. With the passage of time the Charminar occupied so much importance that it became the heart of all bustling activities. It is in the bustling bazaars around the Charminar that you find the traditional nahari stalls and kulchas of Hyderabad. Hyderabad is one of those few cities, which have a fine blend of modernity and tradition.

The Charminar has four imposing arches, which face the four main directions. A row of small vaulted niches ornament each of the four arches. The Char Minar is a two-storied building with the first floor being covered. The balconies on this floor provide a great view of the surrounding areas. A small mosque adorns the top floor of the Charminar. This mosque is situated on the western side of the Charminar facing Mecca, the holy city of the Muslims. This mosque is said to be the oldest surviving mosque in Hyderabad city. Charminar, the hub of Hyderabad city, has four wide roads going in each direction. The Charminar is square in shape, each side measuring 100 feet, with a central pointed high arch at the center.

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 the 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 muscular look of the Charminar.  

The above text courtesy from the website of

In my collection i have a vintage post card of Charminar published by Archaeological Department. This my Charminar vintage post card.

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