Well, what’s a trip to Hyderabad without visiting the Charminar? Even though I was in Hyderabad for only one day, I decided that I will visit Charminar, no matter what. So, after the Salar Jung Museum and Chowmahalla palace, I headed straight to Charminar!
Ok, I do agree that the Charminar captured by my camera doesn’t look as big or majestic as other photos available on the Internet, but this is a more realistic version. I have seen some night photos/long shots of the Charminar which look amazing, but then with finite amount of time to spend in this place (and due to the lack of long-shot photography skills), this is what I was able to get.
Actually, I took an auto to the Chowmahalla palace from Salar Jung Museum. The auto guy said, 40 rupees fixed. I thought WoW. He didn’t know that I came from Chennai and in my town, fixed prices often start from something higher than the amount quoted by him 🙂 While going, the auto-guy was quite conscious of ‘over-charging’ me and gave me a lot of tips. He showed me how to go to Charminar by walk, he showed me the bus-stand from where I could get a bus back to the terminus where I wanted to go next, etc. Oh, it was so refreshing to see such a helpful auto-guy 🙂
Actually, when I started from the Chowmahalla palace, it was around 5:00 PM. If I had gone straight to the Charminar, I would have been able to climb above the spiral stairs and enjoyed the view from near the clock (in the above picture). I could have even taken photos from there and enabled you people to see the view from there too. Little did I know that the timings for going up the stairs in the Charminar closes by 5:30 PM!
I could have still made it had I just traveled straight from the palace. It takes just ten minutes, by walk. But on the road I saw one shop selling masala dosa. I was like ‘Wow’. I went in to eat one but since the food is much tastier in Hyderabad (compared to Bangalore), I couldn’t resist eating two of them (Butter masala)! 45 minutes. I lost precious 45 minutes there, and hence I was not able to climb the Charminar. It’s ok, I guess I can use this excuse to visit this place once again when I go there 🙂
So, I was able to only watch these people from outside 🙁 But the butter masala dosa was too good – don’t miss 😉 Now for some gyan on Charminar – ‘Char”Minar’ means Four Minarets. As you can see in the photos, there are four tall (56m) towers/minarets in the corners of this square structure, which measures – 20m x 20m. It seems that the Charminar was built in 1591 AD by Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the fifth ruler of Qutb Shahi dynasty. It seems it was built to commemorate two events – The shift of capital from Golkonda to proper Hyderabad and the elimination of a plague epidemic from the city.
It seems each minaret has four stories and this structure is actually a mosque. There is place on the upper floor of Charminar for people to pray. Back then, it was at the center of the four royal roads connecting the main administrative areas of the city. It seems the Laad bazaar and Pather Gatti markets near Charminar are very famous for jewelery (bangles) and pearls. No, I didn’t buy any 🙂
This is the best shot of Charminar I was able to get. Near to the Charminar, there is one more mosque (actually the biggest mosque in South India and third biggest mosque in India) – Mecca Masjid. Before going there, I asked one shop-keeper if I can go inside (as I was not a Muslim) and he told me, ‘Just go. How can anyone know that you are not a Muslim?’. But since I didn’t want to incite any Hindu-Muslim problems (my small contribution to maintaining cultural harmony) and the websites clearly mentioned that entry to the mosque is restricted only to Muslims, I decided not to go inside. Here are two photos that I took from outside the mosque though.
You can find more information on this Mecca Masjid from here.