Just around four centuries ago, a devastating epidemic of plague gradually abated in the fabulous kingdom of Golconda, South India. The King, Qutub Shah in thanksgiving decided to build a square pavilion with tall towers at the four corners. This symmetrical and charming edifice is the landmark of the town of Hyderabad, as the Statue of Liberty is to New York or the Arc of Triumph to Paris. It is built of the local granite. The design is said to be based on Shia "tazias" erected in honor of Hussain, the son in law of Prophet Mohammad.
Charminar was the axis of the planned city of Hyderabad. While Charminar was being completed, broad roads were laid out in a grid iron pattern. Four symmetric gateways called Kamans also were built. There were also a couple of palaces according to medieval travellers but the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb got them burnt down on the fall of the Qutub Shahis. Recently some arched and vaulted foundations were discovered in the area during excavation.
Charminar is the focus of a characteristic culture which sprang up in Golconda and Hyderabad. Based on the vigorous native Telugu, Kannada and Marathi cultures, Persian culture from Iran, a bit from Arabia and some north Indian immigration have all combined to make "Hyderabadi" a recognizable people's culture. In fact locals insist that Urdu language came into existence here, and not elsewhere attested by the fact that the earliest urdu was called Dakhni language ( of the Deccan, Dakshinapatha).
The streets around Charminar are still lively today, a bit crowded maybe, and the little shops are thronged by residents and tourists alike. A characteristic type of wrist bracelet or bangle is made here and is very popular. Although Charminar and Hyderabad are far away from the sea, it is the centre of pearl Jewellery trade in India.
The architectural jewel of Hyderabad, Charminar stands within the four arches of the Charkaman. It is said that Sultan Quli knelt at a crossroads and prayed to the gods when a terrible pestilence swept his kingdom. After it subsided he decide to build a structure at the very spot as thanksgiving to the gods. The structure built in 1591 was the Charminar. Often referred to as the 'Arc of the Triumph' of the East, Charminar comprises four graceful minarets with its central structure soaring to a height of 180 feet. Centuries old bazaars surrounding the monument throb with the hectic trading of pearls, lac bangles and other accessories fit for a bride.