“Oh God, bestow unto this city peace and prosperity. Let millions of men of all castes, creeds and religions make it their abode, like fishes in the water.” ~ Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, while laying the foundation of Charminar in 1591.
Charminar literally means “four minarets”, soaring to a height of 56 meters (183.7 feet) above the ground. It is the most important landmark of Hyderabad, a 400-year-old city in India. A masjid occupies the top floor of the four-story structure.
Locally available granite, sand and lime mortar were used to build this monument. The design is an assimilation of Indo-Islamic style of architecture.
Charminar is surrounded by countless shops and restaurants, attracting people and merchandise of every description; it gets very busy after 4 pm. This isn’t really my favorite place to be during the rush hour, where the crowd tends to get a bit less friendly (lots of pushing and shoving). But you can get the best deals on gorgeous glass bangles and pearls (if you know the art of bargaining). Tip: always go shopping with a local.
The Charminar is most beautiful at night. If, just for a brief moment, you stand and look at it, momentarily forgetting about the crowd and traffic, you’ll find yourself transported into a different era.