This beautiful structure is the Charminar mosque, which translated means “four towers.” The Charminar was built by connecting four minarets/towers, which support circular double balconies, with four beautiful arches made of granite, limestone, and pulverized marble. The towers/minarets are about 184 feet high. Visitors can climb the spiraling staircases inside the minarets to reach the double balconies and enjoy the spectacular view!
Charminar was built in 1591 and has several legends surrounding it. One legend claims there is an underground tunnel located beneath the structure for quick escape. The most widely accepted origin myth contends that there was a plague in the city and Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah prayed for it to end. The mosque was reported to have been built on the exact location where his prayers were offered. He was also a poet and many of his prayers were poems. This prayer was written as a Dakhini couplet and translated into English:
Fill this my city with people as,
Thou hast filled the river with fishes O Lord
The Original Dakhini Urdu script is visually attractive:
میرا شہر لوگوں سے مامور کر
راكهيو جوتو دريا میں مچھلی جيسے
Telugu Translation is also lovely:
నేను ప్రజలు ఆజ్ఞాపించాడు
రాఖ్ యు నదిలో చేపలు వంటి అప్ అవరోధం,
Over the years, Charminar has undergone routine maintenance and repairs. One time it was struck by lightning and was immediately repaired to its original state of beauty. Stucco ornamentation covers many surfaces, including the ceiling.
Charminar is still used for prayers on Fridays. There is a fountain in the center which is used for ceremonial washing before praying. At one time, the area around Charminar had about 14,000 shops!
At least one of them must have sold chocolate. The famous Swiss chocolatier, Adelbert Boucher, visited India several times in order to create miniature chocolate models of Charminar and the Taj Mahal for the Lindt Chocolate Company.
Charminar is an amazing feat of beauty, architecturally and chocolatey!