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           The Charminar is as much the signature of Hyderabad as the Taj Mahal is of Agra or the Eiffel Tower is of Paris. Often called "The Arc de triumph of the East", Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah, the founder of Hyderabad, built Charminar in 1591 at the centre of the original city layout. Legends has it that it was built as charm to ward off a deadly epidemic raging at that time. Four graceful minarets soar to a height of 48.7 m above the ground. Charminar has 45 prayer spaces and a mosque in it. The Charminar is a square edifice with four grand arches each facing a cardinal point that opened once upon a time into four royal streets. At each corner stands an exquisitely shaped minaret, more than 55 mt. in height with a double balcony. A bulbous dome crowns each minaret with dainty petal like designs at the base. A beautiful mosque is located at the western end of the open roof and the remaining part of the roof served as a court during the Qutub Shahi times.

Built with granite and lime-mortar, the Charminar is a fine example of the Cazia style of architecture. The intertwined arches and domes are typical of the Islamic architecture. The graceful floral motif atop the Charminar is enchanting.The Charminar depicts the Indo-Saracenic tradition - a symbiosis of the Hindu and the Muslim traditions, which has woven the magic of a rich Deccani culture. The nightly illumination of Charminar is spectacular. 


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