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Charminar

Charminar is a monument located in the City of Hyderabad which is the capital city of the State of Andhra Pradesh in South India.
Charminar is one of the most important landmarks of the city. The monument was built by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah in 1591 to commemorate the eradication of plague, shortly after he had shifted his capital from Golconda to what now is known as Hyderabad. Legends tell that the emperor Quli Qutb Shah prayed for the end of plague and took the vow to build a mosque on that very place. He ordered the construction of the mosque which became popular as Charminar because of its four characteristic minarets. The top floor of the four-storeyed structure has a mosque which has 45 covered prayer spaces and some open space to accommodate more people in Friday prayers.
The Charminar is a beautiful and impressive square monument, with each side measuring 20 m, and each of the edges having a pointed high minaret. It derives its name from these four gracefully carved minarets which soar to a height of 48.7 m above the ground, commanding the landscape for miles around. Charminar literally means 'Four Minars'. Each minaret has four storeys, each looking like a delicately carved ring around the minaret. Every side opens into a plaza through giant arches, which overlook four major thoroughfares and dwarf other features of the building except the minarets. Each arch is 11 m wide and rises 20 m to the pinnacle from the plinth. Once upon a time each of these arches led to four royal roads. Each of the four arches has a clock which were put up in 1889. The monument overlooks another beautiful and grand mosque called Makkah Masjid.
There are two galleries within the Charminar, one over another, and above those a terrace that serves as a roof, bordered with a stone balcony. It is vaulted underneath and appears like a dome. There is a large table raised seven or eight feet from the ground with steps to go up to it. Nothing in the town seems so lovely as the outside of that building. A thriving market still lies around the Charminar attracting people and merchandise of every description. In its heyday, the Charminar market had some 14,000 shops, a unique conglomeration of a grand oriental bazaar. The whole market around the Charminar is crowded with shops which sell glass bangles in rainbow colours.
Unlike Taj Mahal, the fluted minarets of Charminar are built into the main structure. Inside the four-storied minarets 149 winding steps guide the visitor to the upper floor, the highest point one can reach, and providing a panoramic view of the city. There are 45 prayer spaces with a large open space in front to accommodate more for Friday prayers.
Built with granite and lime mortar, Charminar is a fine example of the Cazia style of architecture. The Charminar looks spectacular particularly in the nights when it is illuminated. This graceful monument is very beautiful on the inside, and is particularly known for its carvings and moldings. The painstaking details result in a graceful, lace-like look.


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