Sunday, March 8, 2009

Charminar (Hyderabad)

Charminar, meaning "Four Towers" or "Mosque of the four minarets" is one of the most important monuments in the city of Hyderabad, capital of the state of Andhra Pradesh, India.
Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah built the monument in 1591 shortly after he had shifted his capital from Golkonda to what now is known as Hyderabad. Legend has it that the building honors a promise Quli Qutb Shah made to Allah. He supposedly had prayed for the end of a plague and vowed that he would build a masjid on that very place. The masjid became popularly known as Charminar because of its four (Farsi char = four) minarets (Minar (Arabic manara) = spire/tower), which possibly honor the first four caliphs of Islam. The actual masjid occupies the top floor of the four-story structure. (Madame Blavatsky asserted that each of the floors was meant for a separate branch of learning .) There is a legend that an underground tunnel connects the palace at Golconda to Charminar to give the Qutb Shahi royal family an escape route should they need it during a siege. However, the exact location of the tunnel is unknown.
In 1591 while laying the foundation of Charminar, Quli prayed: Oh God, bestow unto this city peace and prosperity. Let millions of men of all castes, creeds and religions make it their abode. Like fishes in the water. True to the legend, the city blossomed into a synthesis of two cultures.

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