For the film, see Charminar (film). For other uses, see Char Minar bidi (disambiguation).
The Charminar ("Four Minarets"), constructed in 1591, is a monument and mosque located in Hyderabad, Telangana, India. The landmark has become a global icon of Hyderabad, listed among the most recognized structures of India. Charminar has been a historical place with mosque on the top floor for over 400 years and also famous for its surrounding markets. It is one of the tourist attractions in Hyderabad. It is where Many local festivals are celebrated in Charminar area like Ramzaan. The Charminar is situated on the east bank of Musi river. To the west lies the Laad Bazaar, and to the southwest lies the richly ornamented granite Makkah Masjid. It is listed as an archaeological and architectural treasure on the official "List of Monuments" prepared by the Archaeological Survey of India. The English name is a translation and combination of the Urdu words Chār and Minar or meenar, translating to "Four Pillars"; the eponymous towers are ornate minarets attached and supported by four grand arches.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the current caretaker of the structure, mentions in its records, "There are various theories regarding the purpose for which Charminar was constructed. However, it is widely accepted that Charminar was built at the center of the city, to commemorate the eradication of Cholera", a deadly disease which was wide spread at that time.Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah had prayed for the end of the plague that was ravaging his city and vowed to build a Mosque at the very place where he prayed. According to Jean de Thévenot, a French traveller of the 17th century whose narration was complemented with the available Persian texts, the Charminar was constructed in the year 1591 CE, to commemorate the beginning of the second Islamic millennium year (1000 AH). The event was celebrated far and wide in the Islamic world, thus Qutb Shah founded the city of Hyderabad to celebrate the event and commemorate it with the construction of this building.:17–19Due to its architecture it is also called as arc de triomphe of the east.
Historian Masud Hussain Khan says that the construction of Charminar was completed in the year 1592, and that it is the city of Hyderabad which was actually founded in the year 1591.:4 According to the book "Days of the Beloved", Qutb shah constructed the Charminar in the year 1589, on the very spot where he first glimpsed his future queen Bhagmati, and after her conversion to Islam, Qutb Shah renamed the city as "Hyderabad". Though the story was rejected by the historians and scholars, it became popular folklore among the locals.:3,12
Qutb Shah was also among the early poets of Dakhani Urdu. While laying the foundation of Charminar, he performed the prayers in Dakhini couplets, which are recorded as follows::4
During the Mughal governorship between Qutb Shahi and Asaf Jahi rule, the southwestern minaret "fell to pieces" after being struck by lightning and was repaired at a cost of Rs. 60,000. In 1824, the monument was replastered at a cost of Rs. One lakh.
The fifth ruler of the Qutub Shahi dynasty, Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, built the Charminar in 1591, after shifting his capital from Golkonda to Hyderabad. Charminar has become a local and national landmark as well as a global icon of Hyderabad.
The Charminar was constructed at the intersection of the historical trade route that connects the markets of Golkonda with the port city of Machilipatnam.:195 The Old City of Hyderabad was designed with Charminar as its centerpiece. The city was spread around the Charminar in four different quadrants and chambers, segregated according to the established settlements. Towards the north of Charminar is the Char Kaman, or four gateways, constructed in the cardinal direction.:170 Additional eminent architects from Persia were also invited to develop the city plan. The structure itself was intended to serve as a Mosque and Madraasa. It is of Indo-Islamic architecture style, incorporating Persian architectural elements.
The Charminar masjid 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 minarets of Taj Mahal, Charminar's four fluted minarets are built into the main structure. There are 149 winding steps to reach the upper floor. The structure is also known for its profusion of stucco decorations and the arrangement of its balustrades and balconies.
The structure is made of granite, limestone, mortar and pulverized marble and it weighs approximately 14000 tones. 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 Golconda fort to Charminar, possibly intended as an escape route for the Qutb Shahi rulers in case of a siege, though the location of the tunnel is unknown.
A mosque is located at the western end of the open roof; 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 which 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. There is a vazu (water cistern) in the middle, with a small fountain for ablution before offering prayer in the Charminar mosque.
The area surrounding Charminar is also known by the same name. The market in the areas is famous for jewellery and garments. The monument overlooks another grand mosque called the Makkah Masjid. Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the 5th ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, commissioned bricks to be made from the soil brought from Mecca, the holiest site of Islam, and used them in the construction of the central arch of the mosque, hence its name.
A thriving market exists around Charminar: Laad Baazar is known for its jewellery, especially exquisite bangles, and the Pather Gatti which is famous for its pearls. In its heyday, the Charminar market had some 14,000 shops.
In 2007, Hyderabadi Muslims living in Pakistan constructed a small-scaled quasi replica of the Charminar at the main crossing of the Bahadurabad neighborhood in Karachi.
Lindt chocolatier Adelbert Boucher created a scaled model of the Charminar out of 50 kilograms of chocolate. The model, which required three days' labour, was on display at The Westin, Hyderabad, India on 25 and 26 September 2010.
The "Charminar Pedestrianization Project" was instituted by the then combined Government of Andhra Pradesh in partnership with the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation. The project was initiated in 2006 with an investment of Rs 35 crore. Out of Rs.35 crore, the share of Central government funds stood at Rs 12.28 crore while the State government gave Rs 5.26 crore. However, the project did not see the light of day due various factors such as Telangana movement, illegal encroachments by hawkers, vehicular traffic, and illegal street vendors. Later during January 2017, the new Government of Telangana introduced a 14-member French Delegation to takeover the project to assess the feasibility in developing the monument as an eco-friendly tourism and heritage destination. The team has inspected surrounding areas such as the Gulzar house, Macca Masjid, Lad Bazar, and Sardar Mahal. Subsequently, the project took over on a brisk pace and is expected to be completed by May 2018.
UNESCOWorld Heritage Site-Tentative List
Charminar, along with the Qutb Shahi Monuments of Hyderabad: the Golconda Fort, and the Qutb Shahi Tombs, were included in the "tentative list" of UNESCOWorld Heritage Site. The Monument was submitted by the Permanent Delegation of India to UNESCO on September 10, 2010.
There is a temple named Bhagyalakshmi Temple located at the base of Charminar. It is the center of controversy concerning its age. In 2012, The Hindu newspaper published an old photograph showing that the temple structure never existed. The Hindu also released a note asserting the authenticity of the photographs, and clearly stated that there was no temple structure in photos taken in 1957 and 1962. Additionally, it showed photos that provide evidence that the temple is a recent structure - a temple structure can be seen in photos taken in 1990 and 1994. Also, a temple is seen in a photograph taken in 1986 which is kept in the Aga Khan Visual Archive, MIT Libraries’ collections, United States, but not in the earlier ones.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Charminar.|
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Charminar, which stands a picturesque and centre of attraction for the global city Hyderabad, was built in the year 1591 AD during Qutub Shahi’s reign as an indication that a new city is going to be founded here. Some historians say it was meant to be a thanksgiving for deliverance against a plague but there are many stories about it. But basically it was meant to be the centre of the “garden city of Hyderabad”.
Char-Minar means “Four minarets” and is built on a square platform with steps going to the top. On the western side of the second storey was a mosque where the King would climb up to pray. Around the Charminar were fountains and the whole atmosphere was meant to replicate the city of Isfshan in Iran.
As on today, Charminar–Icon of Hyderabad” stands in the middle of busy market area with traffic buzzing all around, making it rather difficult to access.
When we enter after buying a ticket (Rs 5 for Indians, Rs 100 for foreigners) we can climb to the top of the first storey from where we get a panoramic vew of the surroundings including the Mecca Masjid to the right and the Unani Hispital (Hospitsl for Indian Medicine) on the left. To the west one can see the overflowing Laad Bazar (Bangle Market) street with hardly any space to move around!!
Unfortunately the iconic monument is in a state of disrepair and maintenance is much needed.Hope the authorities will do the needful at the earliest.