Charminar, Hyderabad Deccan.
Charminar meaning "Mosque of the Four Minarets"
and "Four Towers" is the most famous mosque and monument
in the city of Hyderabad, capital of the state of Andhra Pradesh, India.
Charminar has the signature style of Islamic architecture.
This great tribute to aesthetics looks sturdy and solid from a
distance but as one moves closer, it emerges as an elegant and
romantic edifice proclaiming its architectural eminence in all its detail
and dignity. Charminar looks equally spectacular at night
when it is illuminated. Apart from being the core of the city’s
cultural milieu, it has become a brand name.
Charminar is a beautiful and impressive square monument.
Each side measures 20 m, and each of the corners has a tall,
pointed minaret. These four gracefully carved minarets soar to
a height of 48.7 m above the ground, commanding the landscape
for miles around. Each minaret has four stories, marked by a
delicately carved ring around the minaret. Unlike the Taj Mahal,
Charminar's four fluted minarets of Charminar are built into the
main structure. 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.
The actual masjid occupies the top floor of the four-storey structure.
Madame Blavatsky reports that each of the floors was meant for a
separate branch of learning - before the structure was transformed
by the Imperial British administration into a warehouse for opium and liqueurs.
Each side of the structure opens into a plaza through giant arches
that overlook four major thoroughfares, which once were royal roads.
The arches dwarf other features of the building except the minarets.
Each arch is 11 m wide and rises 20 m to the pinnacle from the plinth,
which is a large table raised seven or eight feet from the ground with
steps that go up to it. Today, the four arches each have a clock, which
was installed in 1889. This monument is equally graceful on the inside
having intricate designs. The painstaking details result in a graceful and
quite elegant look.
The monument overlook another beautiful and grand
masjid called Makkah Masjid. The area surrounding
Charminar is also known by same name.
A thriving market still lies around the Charminar, attracting
people and merchandise of every description.
In its heyday, the Charminar market had some
14,000 shops; today the famous markets known as Laad Baazar
and Pather Gatti, near the Charminar, are a favourite of both
tourists and locals alike for jewellery,
especially known for exquisite bangles and pearls respectively.
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.
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, but "was forthwith repaired" at a
cost of Rs 60,000. In 1824, the monument was replastered
at a cost of Rs 100,000.