Every person who has been to Hyderabad would admit that an authentic travel experience to this city is incomplete without a trip to the Charminar along with a generous plate of biryani. Hotels in Hyderabad are usually filled with travelers from all over the world, wishing to take a closer look at the magnificent structure built in 1591. Besides the obvious beauty and grandeur, this popular heritage site holds many mysteries within its minarets, stones and walls.
Here are five astonishing facts about the Charminar that may come as a surprise:
Charminar was built to commemorate the end of plague
While a few believe that Sultan Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah constructed Charminar in the memory of his queen Bhagmati, there’s another theory that is widely accepted. According to this theory, the massive structure was built to commemorate the end of the plague epidemic. Looking at his city in distress, the ruler had prayed that he would build a mosque if and when the plague menace ends.
Secret underground tunnel that links Charminar and the Golconda Fort
Did you know that there’s a secret tunnel within the monument but no one knows where it is located? The underground tunnel is said to be a secret escape route that enabled the royal family to get away in case of a siege. It connects the Charminar with the Golconda Fort, situated in the western part of Hyderabad.
A cat’s head is carved on one of the arches of the Charminar
If you look closely at one of the arches on the eastern side of the Charminar, you would find a cat’s head carved in it. As mentioned earlier, the mosque was built to mark the end of plague. Since, plague is spread by infected rats and cats kill rats, the latter was included in the architecture to represent its role in eradicating the disease.
Charminar’s timekeeper clocks from 1889
A set of four clocks have been keeping close watch on the Arc de Triomphe of the East since 1889! These clocks are set on the four arches facing the former royal streets in four cardinal directions. The 150-year old clocks had travelled from London during the rule of Mir Mehbood Ali Khan.
Charminar stands tall at the centre of Hyderabad city
It is believed that Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah erected Charminar right at the centre of Hyderabad, as per the original layout of the city. The entire city was planned around the historical monument in a grid iron pattern. No wonder you can get a bird’s eye view of the city from the top of the Charminar.