The Charminar monument is an internationally recognized icon in the center of Hyderabad. With its minarets and domes, it showcases typical Islamic design. In one corner sits a beautiful mosque where mass prayers take place on Fridays. Tourists rarely leave the city without taking a trip to Charminar and the surrounding markets, which are filled with food and jewelry. The monument was built in 1591 to celebrate the end of a plague epidemic in Hyderabad.
Admire the intricate details of the architecture with its four grand arches, balconies and domes. The monument is made from granite, limestone and marble. Look up at the four 95-foot (29-meter) minarets that give the structure its name, Charminar, meaning Four Towers.
The monument is divided into four floors. Climb the 149 steps to the top floor. At one end of the open roof is a mosque, which has 45 extra prayer spaces to accommodate the crowds that come for mass prayer on Fridays. From the top floor you can enjoy the peaceful ambiance and panoramic views of the bustling city below.
Huge arches support the monument on the ground level. Peer through to a pond on one side and markets on the other.
Browse the Laad Bazaar and Pather Gatti markets for handcrafted jewelry. At the stalls, try some traditional Indian food, such as biryani, a spicy rice dish, and haleem, a rich stew made of lentils and meat. Each January, many vendors sell kites to celebrate the Sankranti festival and the beginning of spring. Come to Charminar at night to take photos of the illuminated monument’s traditional Islamic design when it is bathed in dramatic yellow, green and blue lights.
Charminar is located in the center of Hyderabad, just to the south of the Musi River. The monument has its own bus stop. Those coming by train should head for the Yakutpura Railway stop and walk 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) to reach Charminar. While in the area, visit the magnificent Chowmahalla Palace, a 10-minute walk away.