Things to do in Charminar-  A complete travel guide

Intricate carvings, towering minarets, and a history to tell – that’s Charminar. When we refer to the rich cultural heritage and history of India, we talk about the various eras that the country witnessed. We also talk about the numerous influences that have shaped the present cultural and social practices in the country. While most of history is in the books, monuments like the Charminar stand testament to such times. If you are looking to explore the wonders of Charminar and other historical sites in Hyderabad, a convenient and comfortable way to travel is by booking a car rental. Although development has engulfed most such monuments, they still manage to offer an insight into the essence of the old city and its charms. Charminar, in Hyderabad, is a historical monument that has four minarets with intricate carvings that attract visitors from around the world.

Table of Content

  1. About Charminar
  2. History about Charminar
  3. Architecture of Charminar
  4. Facts about Charminar
  5. Comprehensive guide to cover Charminar
  6. Things to do in Charminar
  7. Places to visit near Charminar
  8. How to plan a trip to Charminar
  9. How to reach Charminar
  10. Best time to visit Charminar
  11. Travel tips for visiting Charminar
  12. Charminar timings and entry fee
  13. Hotels and restaurants near Charminar
  14. Why visiting Charminar should be on your next travel list
Things to do in Charminar

About Charminar

Charminar was built in 1591 by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the fifth ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty. This iconic monument has four minarets that stand tall at 56 meters (184 feet) above the ground. The minarets has intricate carvings and stucco work that are indicative of the times they were constructed. From the top of the minarets, you can get some mesmerizing views of Hyderabad. The area around the monument has evolved into a vibrant market famous for bangles and traditional items.

History about Charminar

Charminar, Hyderabad

Most monumental structures built in the past had a strong reason behind their construction. Here is the Charminar story. During the late 16th Century, Hyderabad was suffering due to a plague epidemic that was taking thousands of lives. Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah of the Qutb Shahi dynasty who was the ruler of Hyderabad at that time prayed that if the plague ended, he would build a monument to mark the end of the horrors. This led to the birth of the monument in the heart of the old city in 1591.

Over the years, the monument has become an iconic structure of Hyderabad and synonymous with the rich culture and heritage of the city. The impressive Charminar architecture and the vibrant atmosphere of the market surrounding it attract thousands of tourists from around the world.

Architecture of Charminar

Charminar architecture

The Qutb Shahi style of architecture is a unique combination of Persian and Indian architectural styles. Charminar is the best example of the Qutb Shahi architecture. It is built using granite and lime mortar, materials that were widely used in monuments at that time. It has four 56-meter-tall minarets and a square base of 20 meters on each side. Additionally, it has four ornamental arches facing east, west, north, and south. Each arch is 11 meters wide and 20 meters in height. Every arch has a gate that opens into a courtyard.

  • East Gate: This was known as Kali Kaman or the Black Gate and was used by the Royal Family.
  • West Gate: This was known as the Makkah Gate as it opened in the direction of the holy city of Mecca
  • North Gate: This led to the mosque that was built on the top floor of the Charminar
  • South Gate: This led to Char Kaman or a junction of four roads

The artisans used were skilled and their craftsmanship can be seen in the carvings and stucco work on the minarets. You can also find geometric patterns, calligraphy, and floral motifs on them.

Apart from its structural beauty, the Charminar is also an engineering marvel. The minarets work as ventilation shafts that help the circulation of air inside the structure. It also has functional drainage and water supply systems.

Facts about Charminar

Here are some intriguing and interesting facts about the Charminar:

  • The four minarets have names. They were named after the first four Khalifs of Islam – Ali, Hasan, Hussain, and Muawiya.
  • There is a mosque at the top of the Charminar. You need to climb 149 winding steps to get there
  • Apart from the Indo-Islamic and Persian styles of architecture, the Charminar also has some influences from the South Indian architectural style
  • It is believed that the Charminar was constructed within a year with more than a thousand workers working round the clock
  • The Charminar market dates back to the Qutb Shahi era and is the oldest market in Hyderabad

Every historical place has a legend. According to some local stories, the monument has a secret underground tunnel that opens at the Golconda Fort. As legends go, there is no confirmation of its existence.

Comprehensive guide to cover Charminar

When you visit Charminar, you have n excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrancy of the culturally rich city and explore the lively Charminar market. You can also experience the amazing local flavors and marvel at various historical monuments. By the end of the day, you can go for a quiet stroll by the Musi River to complete a fulfilling day.

Things to do in Charminar

Here is a quick guide to help you explore Charminar to its fullest:

  • Architecture and Design: The first thing that you will notice is the unique architectural style of the Charminar. This style is common across structures built during that era blending Indian, Islamic, and Persian styles. Standing outside, make sure that you spend time observing the intricate designs and carvings on the arches, base, and minarets.
  • Staircase: After you have completed exploring the monument from the outside, enter it from the central arch and start climbing the winding staircase. With 149 steps, this is a unique architectural feature that leads to the mosque at the top and panoramic views of the city.
  • Mosque: This is a small square-shaped structure at the top of the monument. The walls and ceilings of the mosque are decorated with intricate stucco work, floral motifs, and calligraphy. While the carvings and designs are a testament to the craftsmanship of the artisans, the calligraphy in Arabic script includes verses from the Quran, as well as other religious texts and phrases.
  • Clock: The Charminar wasn’t originally designed with clocks. In the early 20th century, the Nizams of Hyderabad added a clock on each minaret. These clocks were built by an English clockmaker and are an important part of Charminar’s unique character and charm.
  • Charminar Bazaar: If India is a land of bazaars, then the Charminar Bazaar is the best example of it. Also known as Choodi Bazaar or Laad Bazaar, it is a popular shopping destination for bangles, jewelry, and various other goods. Narrow lanes, colorful shops, haggling shoppers, and loud noises are characteristic of any bazaar in India and the Charminar Bazaar is no different.
  • Food: Hyderabad’s cuisine has an intriguing amalgamation of Turkish, Mughal, and Telugu cuisines. A food tour of the Charminar is a must to explore the various dishes on offer and tantalize your taste buds.

Places to visit near Charminar

Charminar procession

If we look at the top tourist destinations in India, then Charminar will find its name on the list. It offers a range of experiences to visitors including historical monuments, shopping, wildlife, and delicious local cuisine. Here are some places to visit in Charminar:

  1. Qutub Shahi Tombs: Located one kilometer north of the Golconda Fort and around nine kilometers from Charminar, the Qutub Shahi Tombs are among the oldest monuments in Hyderabad. They are splendid mausoleums of the Golconda rulers with stunning architecture and gardens. You can take a bus or hire a taxi to reach the tombs from Charminar. The entry fee is Rs.10 per adult, Rs.5 per child, and Rs.20 for a still camera
  2. Mecca Masjid: With a capacity of around 10,000 people, this is one of the largest mosques in India. It is famous for its architecture and relics displayed inside. The bricks used to create the central arch of the mosque were made using soil brought from Mecca that gave it the name Mecca Masjid. It is located at a walkable distance from Charminar. There is no entry fee for the masjid.
  3. Chowmahalla Palace: Built around 200 years ago, the Chowmahalla Palace stands as a testament to the era of the Nizams. It resembles the Shah Palace of Tehran, Iran. It is not open on Fridays and is open from 10 am to 5 pm on all other days. You can walk from Charminar to Chowmahalla Palace within 10 minutes. The entry fee is Rs.50 per adult for Indians, Rs.10 per Indian child below 12 years, Rs.200 per person for foreign tourists, Rs.50 for a still camera, and Rs.100 for a video camera.
  4. Nehru Zoological Park: With more than 1500 species of birds, reptiles, and mammals and spread over an area of around 380 acres, the Nehru Zoological Park is located close to Mir Alam Tank – a 200-yer-old masonry dam in the world. It is at a distance of around 5 km from Charminar. You can take a bus or hire a cab to get there within 15-20 minutes. The entry fee is as follows:
    • Weekdays: Rs.60 per adult, Rs.40 per child (3-10 years), Rs.120 for a still camera, and Rs.600 for a video camera
    • Weekends and Holidays: Rs.75 per adult, Rs.50 per child (3-10 years), Rs.120 for a still camera, and Rs.600 for a video camera
    • Toy Train: Rs.20 per adult and Rs.10 per child below 10 years
    • Lion and Tiger Safari: Rs.50 per adult and Rs.30 per child below 10 years
    • Buggy or Battery Operated Vehicle: Rs.60 per adult and Rs.40 per child below 10 years
    • Fish Aquarium: Rs.10 per person
    • Nocturnal Animal House: Rs.20 per adult and Rs.10 per child below 10 years
    • Film Shooting: Rs.8,500 per day for shooting, Rs.1,500 per day for generator trucks, and Rs.1,000 per day for a car/jeep

How to plan a trip to Charminar

If you are a history or architecture enthusiast, then a visit to Charminar is a must. Hyderabad has a lot to offer and the area surrounding the monument is steeped in history and culture. Hence, it is important to plan your trip ahead of time. As is the case with most popular tourist destinations, Charminar attracts a lot of tourists, especially over weekends and holidays. Hence, if possible, plan your trip on a weekday and try to avoid Fridays and evenings as these are times when one can expect crowds. Make sure that you check the weather and wear clothes accordingly.

Comprehensive guide to cover Charminar

How to reach Charminar

By Train

The Hyderabad Deccan Railway Station (HYB) is the nearest railway station to Charminar. It is also known as Nampally Railway Station. It is at a distance of around 5-6 km from the monument. You can hire a taxi from the station to reach Charminar within 20 minutes. The HYB has direct connectivity with most of the major Indian cities with trains running every day. However, it is important to check the train schedule as the availability of trains might change according to the season.

By Road

Charminar is located in Hyderabad which is accessible to different parts of India via roads and highways. You can take the NH44 which connects major cities in the country to reach the monument. It is at a distance of around 5 km from Hyderabad city. If you want to take a road trip from Bangalore to Charminar, then the NH44 can get you there within 9-10 hours. You can hire a taxi from Savaari in Hyderabad and enjoy the scenic beauty offered by the rural areas of Karnataka and Telangana.

By Flight

The Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Shamshabad, Hyderabad is the nearest airport to Charminar. It is at a distance of around 18 km from the monument. There are various options to travel from the airport to Charminar. The most convenient way is to hire a cab at Hyderabad airport and cover the distance within 40-45 minutes. The airport is accessible to most Indian cities and major international cities too.

Best time to visit Charminar

Summers in Hyderabad are very hot. The scorching heat can make it impossible to indulge in any outdoor activity. Monsoons can be unpredictable making it difficult to plan a trip. Hence, the best time to visit the monument is between October and March. During these months, the weather is relatively pleasant and temperatures usually don’t exceed 30 degrees. This makes it ideal for exploring the city and its bazaars.

Travel tips for visiting Charminar

Travel tips for visiting Charminar

If you’re planning to visit and explore Charminar and its surroundings, our travel tips will provide you with essential information and insights to make your visit memorable. 

  • If you want to avoid crowds and experience Charminar at its tranquil best, then plan your visit early in the morning. The mosque will be serene and peaceful.
  • A Hindu festival, Bonalu, that involves the worship of Goddess Mahakali is celebrated in Hyderabad every year in July-August. During the festival, the entire area is decorated, and vibrant celebrations offer an unparalleled experience to visitors. Try to visit the monument during this period to be part of these celebrations.
  • Charminar and the surrounding monuments have a lot of history and stories surrounding them. While you can read up about them before visiting, hiring a local guide can be a good idea too. Make sure that the guide is registered and knowledgeable.
  • Don’t miss out on the famous Hyderabadi Biryani and Irani Chai at the local eateries near the monument. Explore food options and you will be surprised at the bounty of flavors the city has to offer.
  • Beware of pickpockets while strolling through or shopping at the Charminar Bazaar. Many thieves take advantage of the crowd to steal valuables from tourists.
  • If you are renting a local auto rickshaw, then make sure that you compare rates and pay accordingly or hire a cab from Savaari for better rates
  • Old people or people with joint issues might find it difficult to climb the stairs to reach the mosque as they are narrow and very steep
  • There is no car parking available

Charminar timings and entry fee

Charminar is open for tourists on all days of the week from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm.

The entry fee is Rs.5 per person for Indians and Rs.100 per person for foreign nationals

Hotels and restaurants near Charminar

Here is a quick look at the accommodation options if you are planning to visit the monument. It includes resorts and hotel near Charminar:

Hotel Name Address Contact Number
Hotel Tara International 15-2-399, Siddiamber Bazar Rd, Siddiamber Bazar, Kishan Gunj, Jam Bagh, Hyderabad +91 40 6673 5573
Hotel Rajdhani 15-1-503, Siddiamber Bazar Rd, Siddiamber Bazar, Begum Bazar, Feelkhana, Hyderabad +91 40 2474 0650
FabHotel Tanisha D.No, 8-3-945/A/6/1, Srinagar Colony Main Rd, Nagarjuna Nagar colony, Ameerpet, Hyderabad 70424 24242
Treebo Trend Destination Inn 20, 6-3-349, Alpha Business Centre, lower ground floor Nagarjuna Circle, 2A, Rd Number 1, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad 93228 00100
Hotel Haridwar 4-6-464 Esamia Bazar, Koti Near Womens College, Hyderabad (Sultan Bazar) +91 40 2465 6711

Why visiting Charminar should be on your next travel list

Intricate carvings, towering minarets, and rich cultural heritage make a visit to Charminar a unique and captivating experience. But to make your visit to Charminar truly hassle-free and convenient, look no further than the Savaari car rental app. Booking a Savaari taxi is not only easy and convenient, but it also ensures a comfortable and enjoyable journey to Charminar and its surrounding areas. Make sure  that you plan your trip so that you can travel at the pace you like and explore the surroundings to your heart’s content. 

Last Updated on April 30, 2024 by Shabari Shankar

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The timeless story of Four Towers - Things to do in Charminar
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The timeless story of Four Towers - Things to do in Charminar
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A celebration of his love for India's cultural diversity, Pavitr's travels unfold new chapters of exploration with each destination. His stories are a vibrant collage of festivals, traditions, and human connections, reflecting the rich tapestry of India. Step into his narrative to experience the diverse heartbeat of India's cultures.

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