The Charminar is a monument and mosque in Hyderabad, India. The structure was built in 1591 AD. It is the most famous building of Hyderabad and also one of the most famous buildings in India. It was built by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shahi (1580- 1611) who was the fifth and most celebrated ruler of the Qutub Shahi dynasty of Golconda to celebrate the end of a deadly plague.
According to historians, On an auspicious day ,’When the Moon was in the constellation of Leo, and Jupiter in its own mansion’, the sultan issued a decree that a new city be built outside the fort.It should be ‘unequalled in the world and a replica of paradise itself.Therefore, the city was planned incorporating many features of the mythical Islamic heaven.Surah 47, 14;56, 28:7,47; and 55 of the Quran gives a complete description of the heavens.
For centuries this city is often identified with this majestic monument, which stands at the center of the old city in its entire splendor amidst the colorful LAD BAZAR with its glittering traditional bangles.
Hyderabadis take much pride in the tall Charminar and make it a point to take their out-station friends to witness its magnificence.
Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the poet king of Golconda laid the foundation stone of the city. Muhammad was perhaps wearing black robes as a mark of mourning for Muharram but he recited the famous manajat (prayer) about filling the city with people like fish in an ocean. And so it was.
A city of magnificent palaces, shopping arcades, parks with flowing streams soon developed rapidly around the monument which was completed by 1596 and the people started calling it Baghnagar and Hyderabad.
The city built for the love of Bhagmati
Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah says:
“Ay Qutb Shah
Nabi ke sadqe mein Bhagmati se milkar…
Khud ko Qutb Shah ki dasi samajh kar khoob saj sajakar ayi hai.”
(By the grace of Nabi you have met Bhagmati… She who has decked up just for you).
While most Persian histories record the name of the city as Hyderabad, the first among them, Ferishta called it Baghnagar.
THE LOVE STORY
Bhagamati was a mystic Hindu queen of Muslim sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah and is considered a myth by some historians. Qutb Shah was the fifth sultan of the erstwhile Qutb Shahi Dynasty who ruled over the Golkonda region of South India in the 16th century. Whether the old names of the city shown variously as Bhagnagar or Bhagyanagarrelate to Bhagmati or not, also remains controversial
Muhammed Quli Qutub Shah married Bhagamati in the year 1589 CE and remained with her until his death in 1611 CE. The sultan bestowed the title of Hyder Mahal on Bhagmati. Quli Qutub Shah and Hyder Mahal had a daughter named Hayat Baksh Begum, who was married to Qutub Shah’s nephew Muhammed Quli. Sultan Muhammed Quli succeeded the throne soon after the death of Muhammed Quli Qutub Shah.
Whatever be the reason, Charminar has withstood the ravages of time and even the wrath of Mughul Emperor Aurangzeb, who in 1687 while destroying buildings of Hyderabad had also placed a cannon in front of Charminar, but someone told him that there was a mosque on the second floor of the monument and that saved the monument.
The Deccan Heritage Trust and several organisations in the city celebrated the 425 years of Hyderabad on Saturday by releasing 24 vintage picture postcards of the VI Nizam Mahboob Ali Pasha and of Charminar. A lithograph dating back to 1830, technically the first image of Charminar, was released for the first time to the public.
Recalling the founders of the city and the legacy they left behind on the occasion of Hyderabad’s 425 years
Sheher baqi hai, mohabbat ka nasha baqi hai
Tu nahin hai teri chashm-e-nigaran baqi hai
~ Makhdoom Mohiuddin
Charminar is often called “The Arc de Triomphe of the East”It is a square edifice with four grand arches each facing a cardinal point that opened once upon a time into four royal streets. At each corner stands an exquisitely shaped minaret, more than 55 meters high with a double balcony. A bulbous dome crowns each minaret with dainty petal like designs at the base.
A beautiful mosque is located at the western end of the open roof and the remaining part of the roof served as a court during the Qutb Shahi times.
About 149 winding steps guide the visitor to the upper floor. Once atop, the solitude and serenity of the beautiful interior is refreshing. The space in the upper floor between the minarets was meant for Friday prayers. There are forty-five prayer spaces.
Built with granite and lime-mortar, the Charminar is a fine example of the Cazia style of architecture. The intertwined arches and domes are typical of the Islamic architecture. The graceful floral motif atop the Charminar is enchanting!
The untold Charminar by Syeda Imam