Beating in the heart of the city, Charminar is a precious gem of Hyderabad city, and pride of the country India. It is a heritage left by the Qutb Shahi Dynasty to mark the brilliance of its sultanate. The oldest mosque constructed in the ‘City of Nizams’ is also established in this massive example of Indo Islamic architecture Charminar, which itself means four minarets and justifies the construction of the monument.
Nestled near the bank of the river Musi, this ultimate monument was the idea of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shahi which became tangible in the year 1591 AD. It was constructed when the Sultan changed the former city to the present Hyderabad due to an extreme shortage of water. However, there are more stories related to it but marking the beginning of a new era sounds the most realistic.
Also considered as the ‘Arc de Triomphe of the East’, Charminar is the heartbeat of the old city of Hyderabad. The monument is taken into consideration to further expand the city so you will be able to notice the development around it. One of the examples is the expansive Laad Bazaar, which is surrounding the elegant masterpiece and brimming with mouth-watering delicacies, authentic street food, colorful lacquer bangles, shining pearls, excellent jewelry and many more things to take home.
How to Reach Charminar
Hyderabad Bus Stop or Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station, as it is locally known, is 2.4 KM away from the very famous Charminar. Being a tourist hub, the city has very good commuting facilities. You can catch a bus to cover this 10 mins journey or hail an auto-rickshaw to take you there.
You may also consider booking an online cab for a hassle-free ride. And if you are self-driving then you can use your motorcycle, car or even a bicycle.
Best Time to Visit Charminar
The best time to visit Charminar is in the months of winter as other seasons are not suitable for strolling around the city. Here is a description of each of the seasons:
Winter: The months from October to March are the winter months of the city. The city receives an average temperature of 13 degrees celsius and it could go as high as 28 degrees celsius. This makes the whole experience pleasant and memorable.
Summer: The months from March to mid-June are the summer months. This coastal city receives high temperatures and unpleasant humidity in these months. You can expect the average temperature to be 25 degrees celsius whereas the maximum temperature can go as high as 40 degrees celsius.
Monsoon: In the months from June to September, the city receives heavy rainfalls which gives rise to the already unbearable humidity. With temperatures hovering between 24 to 27 degrees celsius, the heavy rainfalls would make your visit extremely uncomfortable.
What Not to Miss at Charminar
Attractions near Charminar
The Charminar is the base for expanding the city further and hence it is loaded with numerous places to visit around it. Here is a list of some of the must-not-miss places around the monument:
1. Laad Bazaar: Also known as Chudi Bazar, Laad Bazaar is the oldest market in the city. It has been established since the Qutb Shahi days. ‘Laad’ means lacquer, which justifies the popularity of the market for selling bangles, especially made up of lacquer. Traditionally made ‘soorma’ from the market is a must-buy!
2. Mecca Masjid: One of the oldest mosques of Hyderabad, Mecca Masjid is situated in the vicinity of Charminar. You can easily commute to witness another example of the grandeur of Qutb Shahis. It is a massive example of Islamic architecture. But you may note that only people of the Islamic religion are allowed to enter the mosque.
3. Salar Jung Museum: Located on the banks of the Musi River, Salar Jung museum is one of the three national museums of India. It is a massive window to peek into the bygone era. The astounding fact of the museum is that all the artifacts present in the museum are collected by one man.
4. Chowmahalla Palace: Former seat of the Asaf Jahi Dynasty, this palace served as the official residence of the Nizams of Hyderabad. You can witness the glorious palace and two courtyards built inside it. Also, do not miss the dining hall called ‘Khilwat’.
Things to do near Charminar
Hyderabad is a historical city which has brought along cuisines, monuments, culture, traditions and many more things from the past. Here are some of the exclusive things you could do in the city near Charminar:
1. Eat: Hyderabad has a legacy of delicacies from the kitchen of Mughals. You would love to eat various splendid recipes prepared with authentic techniques. Hyderabadi Biryani is one of the most famous cuisines in the city.
2. Shop: As the monument is settled in the middle of the Laad Bazaar, you may like to shop for some souvenirs for your friends and families. Pearls, Lacquer Bangles, Bidri artifacts, soorma, and many more things are there in the market which you can stuff in your bags to take back home.
3. Travel: Charminar is located in the heart of the city and all the renowned places are in the vicinity of the monument. So, it is highly suggested that you should visit all of them like Golconda Fort, Mecca Masjid, etc.
4. Worship: The city of Nizams, Hyderabad is loaded with mosques and temples from the bygone era. You should definitely go to them to pay your tribute to the almighty. However, if that is not your call then you must go there to check out the brilliant architecture of them like Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple, Shri Jagannath Temple, Hyderabad, etc.
Other Essential Information About Charminar
- Location: Charminar Rd, Char Kaman, Ghansi Bazaar, Hyderabad, Telangana 500002
- Timings: 09:30 am to 05:30 pm on all days of the week
- Entry fee: INR 5 for Indian Tourists; INR 100 for foreign tourists
- Visitor's Facility: You will have access to the oldest market in the city where you can eat various authentic cuisines and shop for local artifacts. As the monument is settled in the middle of the city, you will find almost all the renowned heritage sites in the vicinity of it. Also, you can climb up the structure to get a panoramic view of the city and even pay a visit to the oldest mosque in the city.
- Parking Facility: Charminar Parking, Charminar Parking Lot and High Court Parking are the various options for parking your car near Charminar at nominal charges.
- Distance from Hyderabad bus stand: 2.4 KM via Salar Jung Road
History of Charminar
The massive structure of Charminar was built in 1591 AD by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shahi. However, there are a lot of tales related to the reason for the construction of the monument. And there is no proof in favor of any of them so it can not be said which is true. Some people say that the reason behind it is a celebration of the end of a disastrous plague in the former city settled in Golconda Fort.
Whereas the others say that it was constructed to mark the flourishing establishment of the Qutb Shahis. You will even hear some people telling you that the mosque was built in the honor of the wife of the Sultan or it is the exact place where the Sultan saw his future wife for the first time. However, the foundation stone of the monument is inscribed with a prayer to the almighty to filling the city with people.
Architecture of Charminar
Charminar is a magnificent example of Indo Islamic architecture, which is not only the crown of the Hyderabad city but is also renowned in the entire country. You will find flavors of the Persian style of construction gelled up with Indian and Islamic styles of architecture. The entire monument is constructed using granite and lime-mortar transcending the on-lookers back to the long-gone times.
Legends also state that there is a secret tunnel underneath the masterpiece, which was meant for the escape of the royal family to the Golconda Fort in times of crisis. Moreover, you can also climb up the stairs constructed in the minarets to witness a splendid view of the hustle-bustle of the nearby areas. In the latter days, many restorations were done and four clocks were also added in the year 1889.
Also, the surrounding market called Laad Bazaar has flourished and expanded which was said to be existing since the Qutb Shahi times. Everything around has changed, but the beauty of the monument is still fresh as it ever was.
Interesting Facts about Charminar
There are a lot of interesting facts about the renowned Charminar. It is not only a heritage site but a bundle of fascination too.
1. The monument is the most researched historical site on Google.
2. A model of Charminar using 50 kilograms of chocolate was created by Lindt chocolatier Adelbert Boucher in September 2010.
3. The reason for the establishment of the great Charminar is still a mystery.
4. In ancient times, the monument was used as a base for planning the further development of the city.
5. It is believed that it has a secret tunnel underneath which was constructed as an escape route for the royal family in times of crisis.
6. It is said that the Sultan built the monument at the exact place where he saw his future wife for the first time.
7. The monument houses the oldest mosque of the Hyderabad city.
Places to eat near Charminar
The city of Nizams, Hyderabad has a vast variety of cuisines from the Mughal kitchens and you should not miss on the best places which serves the finest quality of food:
1. Farasha Cafe and Bakery: Decorated with simplicity, Farasha cafe serves an excellent range of coffees, fast foods, finger foods, and bakery items. You must go to the place and enjoy delicious food in the calm and serene environment. Irani Chai is a must-try from the cafe!
2. Hotel Shadab: Started as a small canteen, Shadab is now a renowned place and one should definitely go there. It serves exquisite Hyderabadi cuisines in a family-friendly environment.
3. Al-Akbar Fast Food Corner: Al-Akbar serves a vast range of street food and one should definitely pay a visit here. You can try various fast food recipes made from chicken for which people flock to the place.
4. Hotel New Udupi Anand Bhawan: Settled in South India, Hyderabad must give options for lip-smacking South Indian foods. New Udupi completes your wish for the same and serves amazing recipes of south India. You must not miss on their Vadas and Thalis as these are the most loved dishes of the place
Tips before visiting Charminar
Here are some tips which might come handy while your time of exploration:
1. Make sure to hike up the stairs in the minarets to witness a spectacular view of the old city.
2. Make a list of the things you would like to buy from the local market before you head there as it is brimming with traditional items worthy of taking home.
3. Munch on the local street food being served in the market to taste the local flavor of the city. Irani Chai is a must-try!
4. The city of Nizams is overflowing with authentic recipes from the Mughal Kitchens. You should not miss the opportunity to hog on all of them. Hyderabadi Biryani does not need a mention!
5. As the area will be flooded with tourists and locals alike, make sure to park your vehicle in the parking to escape the delay.