Charminar, which is synonymous with Hyderabad is one of the magnificent structures built by Mohammad Quli Qutub Shah, the fifth ruler of the Qutub Shahi dynasty and also the founder of the City, in Hijri 1000 (A.D.1591-92). This is a square structure measuring 31.95 mts. on each side with imposing arches spanning a distance of 11mts. There are four minarets, each having three storeyes, rising to a height of 56 mts. The spiral staircase inside the minarets has 149 steps leading to the top with 12 landings. The double screen of arches on the roof and the ornamental arches on the minarets add to the aesthetic value.
The notable feature of Charminar is the location of a mosque on the western section of the second floor, probably one of the most beautiful of this period. There are forty-five mushallas (prayer spaces) with an open courtyard in front.
The structure is also known for its profuseness of stucco decorations and arrangement of balustrades and balconies. The floral designs are varied and delicately executed. It was a synthesis of Mughal and Hindu architecture executed by the local artisans.
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 plague. In the middle of the eighteenth century, Bussy the French Commander made Charminar his headquarters.
The four clocks were added later, on the four cardinal directions in the year 1889. At the base of Charminar was originally a Vazu (water cistern) at the center with a small fountain for customary ablutions, before offering prayers in the mosque.
Entrance fee: Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) – Rs. 25 per head & Foreigner: Rs.300/-
(Free entry for children below the age of 15)