Located in Hyderabad, Charminar is the most famous mosque of the city. Charminar literally translates into “Four Towers” or “The Tower of the four Minarets”. The very name of the monument or the mosque is an exemplification of the structure that consists of four Minars that look towards the heaven. The four Minars apparently refers to the first four Caliphs or Khaliphas of Islam.
The stories that go around, regarding the construction of Charminar are many. One story says that it was built by Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah who was the primary ruler of the city at that time. It is said that at some point of time, the city was beseeched with plague. On observing the plight of the common people, he prayed for their well being hoping for eradication of the plague. After the fulfillment of his prayers; he had ordered the construction of this mosque at the very place where he had sat for his prayers. The second tale is that Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah had built the Minar dedicating it to his beloved wife. The third story says that it was built in order to mark the intersection of the four roads of the city. Nevertheless, it could be that all the stories are simply a myth or it could also be that all the stories have some truth to them.
It is interesting to observe the way the present city of Hyderabad sprang up around the mosque, with the mosque as the centre of attraction. Situated in the heart of Hyderabad, the Charminar is an important religious emblem attracting commoners and visitors alike from all corners of the country. The mosque has witnessed the growth and prosperity of the city as it changed its form, shape and culture with the rolling of time from one decade to another. The reverence of Charminar in the city of Hyderabad can be equaled to the significance that the Statue of Liberty has for the city of New York.
The materials used for the construction of the mosque are a hybrid of mortar, lime and granite, blended together. The area surrounding the Char Minar is famous for its market of pearls, the precious jewel that the city of Hyderabad is famous for. The areas like “Char-kaman” and “Mitti-ka —sher” are known for their kundan jewellery, enamel jewellery, temple sarees, pieces of silver, pearls and crystals. Even the pearl market is very fanmous for its variety of the designs and patterned jewellery. The influence of western designs has been witnessed over the years on the pearl jewellery that were earlier made according to traditional style only.
In short, the monument of Char Minar is a compulsory visit for all those visiting and exploring the city for the first time.
The writer is a correspondent at Youth Ki Awaaz.