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Charminar

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 fašade, 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.


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