Monday, July 23, 2007

The jewel of Hyderabad - The charm of the 400-yr-old Charminar seems everlasting.

Located in the midst of bustling traffic and bangle sellers, Charminar stands authoritatively tall even as the city around it has evolved from the old Nizam era to a bustling metro now.

From curious tourists to canoodling couples who climb the dark narrow stairs to look at Hyderabad from atop Charminar, the charm of this 400-year-old lime, mortar and granite monument seems everlasting, with hundreds of visitors clocking in to take a peek of Hyderabad's history from the Charminar every day. The structure looks magnificent when illuminated at night. The top floor of the four-storeyed structure provides a panoramic view of the city and the Golconda Fort.

Be it the innumerable jharokhas on the first floor landing of the monument that women look through dreamily or the fountain in the monument's ground floor leaving water droplets and smiles on the faces of visitors to the floral designs on its granite floor and the intricate designs on the arches - Charminar's beauty lies not just in its
architectural but even in its historical significance.

While some believe that Charminar was built by Quli Qutub Shah for his lady love Bhagmati at the same place where her hut was situated, other historians say that it was the first 'people's monument'. "Charminar is the only Muslim monument in the country that was built to mark the end of a disease - a devastating plague. The monument was built by Quli Qutub Shah both in the memory of people who had been wiped out by the plague and to thank god for containing the spread of the disease," says Jitender Das of the Archaeological Survey of India.

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