Charminar stands graciously amidst the hustle and bustle of this Old City area of Hyderabad. This beautiful majestic building, built with granite, lime, mortar and crushed marble (as per some locals), is one of the major landmarks that has been adorning the city of Hyderabad for the past 400 years.
Charminar is built on a history that reflects in its architecture and elegance. This graceful building is a square-shaped structure with the four beautiful minarets or towers that are about 48 metres in length from the ground, on all its four sides. On the apex part of this minaret you can see a dome below which there are small arch-shaped windows running around. This dome is adorned by petal-like pattern and is capped by a brass spire.
The building has four imposing arches, about 20 meters tall, facing the four directions with a row of small domed arches on each of the four arches. When you observe the carvings on these domes, you will find them very elaborate and worth appreciating. The entire building basically has two floors while each of the minarets has four storeys with delicately carved ring shaped balconies around. Arch-shaped windows run all along the balcony on the first floor. Inside these minarets there are spiral staircases (about 149 steps) that take you to the top most point. This is the peak where one can reach and get the panoramic view of this dynamic city at its foot.
On the western side of Charminar, on the roof of this monument, there is a small mosque, which is said to be the oldest surviving mosque in Hyderabad. The remaining part of the roof was used as a court in Qutub Shahi times. There are nearly 45 prayer spaces on the top of this building. To the eastern side of this prayer space, there is a spacious veranda with small and large arches in the middle. The minarets and the arches (there are about 32 arches) that beautify almost entire Charminar complex, portrays a clear picture of the Islamic architecture but the structure as a whole symbolises the elements of South Indian Temple architecture.
In the hay days of the Nizam rule, Charminar was surrounded by beautiful gardens and fountains with some prominent complexes and palaces like Mecca Masjid, Jamay Masjid, the Chow Mohalla Palace, Khilwat Mahal etc, in its near vicinity. Today, you can find the sprawling colourful bazaars (the famous Lad Bazaar) or the markets surrounding this historical monument. A great place to go shopping, you can just grab on some of the distinguished objects of Hyderabad like Hyderabadi pearls, the Lad bangles, bridal wear of numerous variety and many traditional souvenir artefacts. There are small food joints around, amidst the small shops, selling traditional local delicacies that are world famous.