The Charminar, Hyderabad's best known landmark was
built 1591 by Sultan Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah to appease the force
of evil savaging his new city with epidemic and plague. Standing
in the heart of the old walled city and surround by lively bazaars,
the Charminar ('four tower') is a 56m high triumphal arch.
The arch is notable for its elegant balconies, stucco decorations
and the small mosque, Hyderabad's oldest, on the 2nd floor.
An image of the grace every packet of Charminar cigarettes,
one of India's most popular brand. There are good views over the
old city from the top of the minarets. Charminar, the hub
of the city, has four wide roads radiating in the four cardinal
directions. The four minarets command the landscape for miles.
The structure is square, each side measuring 100 feet, with a
central pointed high arch at the center. The whole edifice contains
numerous small decorative arches arranged both vertically and
horizontally. The prominently projected cornice on the first floor
upholds a series of six arches and capitals on each façade,
rising to the double-story gallery of the minarets. The projected
canopy, ornamental brackets and decoration in stucco plaster add
graceful elegance to the structure. On the upper courtyard, a
screen of arches topped by a row of square jall or water screens
lends a fragile charm to the sturdy appearance of charminar. This
courtyard was used as a school and for prayers at the mosque.
An underground path is believed to connect armine with the Golconda
fort. The minarets, their domed finials rising from their lotus-leaves
cushion, rise to 180 feet from the ground. An interesting 17th-century
description of the monument comes from Thevenot: That which
is called the four towers, is a square building, of which each
face is ten fathom broad and about seven high. It is opened on
the four sides by four arches
. Often called "The
Arc de triomphe of the East", Charminar was built
in 1591 by Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah and is a beautiful structure
with four intricately carved minarets. Enormous in its size, this
imposing monument exudes a charm that is more than 400 years old!".
Charminar is surrounded by markets and many other structures
which adds to its grace. Shahali Banda, Laad Bazar, Kali Kaman
and Patthar Gatti flank charminar on its four sides. The structure
here show mixed Indian and Mughal architectural styles.
From glass bangles to pure pearls, and from handicrafts to gun
metal showpieces the City offers a host of articles to the tourist.
The favorite place for almost every tourist is Laad Bazaar, a
famous bazaar adjacent to the historical Charminar. The
accent here is on color, glitter and sheen. This is true of not
only bangles but everything at Laad Bazaar. The Mehboob Chowk,
a torpid looking quadrangle with an imposing tower in the middle
marks the end of the Bazaar. Situated at an altitude of 1722 ft;
Hyderabad has salubrious climate with low humidity during the
greater part of the year. In April and May temperatures may go
up to 40 degree centigrade but during the rest of the year the
climate is temperate and during December and January it is cool.
Adjacent to Charminar is the Mecca Masjid, one of the largest
mosque in the world (accommodating up to 10,000 worshippers) Construction
began in 1614, during the reign of Sultan Mohammed Quli Qutub
Shah, but wasn't finished until 1687, by which Mughal emperor
Aurangzeb had annexed the Golconda kingdom and completed this
Masjid in 1693. It is a grand edifice with a huge courtyard which
can accommodate nearly ten thousand men at prayer. Tavernier has
provided a graphic description of the mammoth boulders cut to
size and carted for use in the building of the mosque. The minarets
look rather stunted in comparison with the grandeur of the whole
massive structure. But it looks more Mughal then Qutub Shah in
its perfect granite finish and vast courtyard. A particular stone
brick in the mihrab is believed to have been brought from Mecca.
The name is derived from the Grand Mosque at Mecca on which it
is patterned. The hall measures 67 mt. by 54 Mt. and is 23 Mt.
in height. Fifteen arches, five on each of the three sides, support
the roof. A high wall to provide the Mehrab blocks the western
side. Each of the two octagonal columns on either side are made
out of a single piece of granite, It took about 8000 Masons and
laborers and 77 years to complete. At each end are two huge octagonal
columns made out of a single piece of granite each topped by an
arched gallery that is crowned by a dome.
Mosques - The other two mosques-the Jami Masjid and the
Toli Masjidare small and modest structures. Mohammed Quli
Shah built the Jami Masjid in 1592, after founding Hyderabad.
]Muse Khan, a supervisor of works at the Mecca Masjid, levied
a damri for every rupee spent on the building of the Mecca Masjid.
With these collections he built the Toli Masjid, near the Purana
Pul. Two buildings, the Badshahi Ashur Khana and Darul Shifabuilt
in 1594are much dilapidated and in need of large scale repair.
city straddles the Musi river which, in 1908, had caused much
destruction by flooding the city. Under the supervision of Indias
greatest engineer Sir M. Vishweshvarayya, two large reservoirs,
Osman Sagar and Himayat Sagar were constructed to save the city
from devastation by floods in the future. If there is some time
left, a visit to the Nehru Zoological Park is recommended for
a short lion safari and observing the wild beasts moving about
freely in their expansive compounds. The crocodile hatchery is
very informative for the young and the curious. One of the most
visited places in the city is the Salar Jung museum.
The collection at this unique museum was put together by Mir Yusaf
Ali Khan (Salar Jung III), the Prime Minister of the Nizam. It
contains about 43,000 art exhibits and 50,000 books. Some of these
have been collected from all over the world. The sculptures, wood
carvings, miniature paintings armor, and weaponry, precious stones
and jewels displayed here leave visitors spellbound. Two of the
best pieces at the museum are the "Veiled Rebecca",
a delicated marble statue of a woman seen through a veil and "Marguerite
and Mephistopheles", a double figure wood carving. The ivory
chairs and turbans of Tippu Sultan and the swords
to be the world's largest one-man collection, the famous Salar
Jung Museum houses around 35,000 antiques and art objects collected
by Salar Jung III, a former Prime-Minister of, the Nizam. The
museum's 36 halls display an intriguing array of treasures, the
finest crystals and porcelain, an assemblage of statues that includes
the veiled Rebecca & Margarita-Mephistopheles, miniature paintings,
illuminated, manuscripts, fabulous jewelled weapons, including
the Empress Noorjahan's dagger and the Nawab's own diamond-encrusted
sword, priceless collections of jade, ivory and bronzes and a
fascinating variety of clocks. The most important historical exhibits
are the turban and ivory chairs of Tipu Sultan of Mysore
The name originates from the Telgu words "Golla and Konda"
or "Shepherd's Hill" after neighbourings Warangal. A
clap under the canopy of the Fateh Darwaza can be heared at the
far summit palace. Famous KOHINOOR DIAMOND of the British Crown
was mined from this area. This legendary citadel built on a 120
meter high granite hill is surrounded by battlemented ramparts.
Once the capital of the Qutub Shahis, the fort is enclosed within
eight massive gates studded with large pointed iron spikes. One
of the most remarkable features of this fort is its advanced acoustics.
The forts acoustics are remarkable: sound of hands clapping
in the Grand Portico can be heard in the Durbar hall at the top
of the hill. Also, the design of the ventilation reveals the brilliant
planning of the architects. The ventilation is designed to let
in a flow of fresh cool breeze which is a respite from the heat
of summer. An hour-long light-and-sound show is held daily except
Mondays. This massive fort is 11 km in perimeter and its walls
are 15 to 18 ft high. The whole fort is built in granite and is
flanked by 70 ramparts and 8 huge gates. Previously the whole
fort was surrounded by a deep gorge but slowly this was filled
up. While entering from the main gate of the fort, if one claps
below the dome, echoes are heard in a Darbar hall some 128 meter
The majestic and imposing monument which lies on the Western outskirts
of Hyderabad city - Golconda Fort, unravels with it the 400 years
of the rich cultural heritage of this city. Outside the Fort are
two separate pavilions built on a rocky eminence - the Taramathi
Gana Mandir and the Premathi Nritya Mandir from where the legendary
sisters Taramathi and Premamathi resided. They gave their performance
on a circular dais atop a two-storied structure, the Kala Mandir,
which was visible from the king's durbar (king's court) on top
of the Golconda Fort. Although in a dilapidated condition, efforts
are on to revive the glory of the Kala 'Mender by organizing the
Deccan art festival annually. Close to the fort are the beautiful
domed monuments, the Qutb Shahi Tombs built with Islamic architecture.