Photographer's Note

Charminar meaning "Four Towers" or "Mosque of the four minarets") is one of the most important monuments in the city of Hyderabad, capital of the state of Andhra Pradesh, India.

Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah built the monument in 1591 shortly after he had shifted his capital from Golkonda to what now is known as Hyderabad[1]. Legend has it that the building honours a promise Quli Qutb Shah made to Allah. He supposedly had prayed for the end of a plague and vowed that he would build a masjid on that very place. The masjid became popularly known as Charminar because of its four (Farsi char = four) minarets (Minar (Arabic manara) = spire/tower), which possibly honour the first four caliphs of Islam. The actual masjid occupies the top floor of the four-story structure. (Madame Blavatsky asserted that each of the floors was meant for a separate branch of learning .) There is a legend that an underground tunnel connects the palace at Golconda to Charminar to give the Qutb Shahi royal family an escape route should they need it during a siege. However, the exact location of the tunnel is unknown.

The Charminar is a beautiful and impressive square monument. Each side measures 20 m, and each of the corners has a tall, pointed minaret. These four gracefully carved minarets soar to a height of 48.7 m above the ground, commanding the landscape for miles around. Each minaret has four stories, marked by a delicately carved ring around the minaret. Unlike the Taj Mahal, Charminar's four fluted minarets of Charminar are built into the main structure. Inside the minarets 149 winding steps guide the visitor to the top floor, the highest point one can reach, which provides a panoramic view of the city.

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Additional Photos by Sreya Dutta (envisage) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Silver Note Writer [C: 39 W: 26 N: 36] (207)
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