Top choice in Hyderabad

India, Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad. The Charminar, or four minars, is no longer a mosque but remains one of Indias best known buildings.

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Hyderabad’s principal landmark and city symbol was built by Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah in 1591 to commemorate the founding of Hyderabad and the end of epidemics caused by Golconda’s water shortage. The gargantuan four-column, 56m-high structure has four arches facing the cardinal points, with minarets atop each column (hence the name Charminar, 'four minarets'). It's certainly an impressive sight, though the relentless traffic that swirls around the structure, crowds and queues make it somewhat less rewarding to visit.

The Charminar stands at the heart of Hyderabad's main bazaar area (also known as Charminar), a labyrinth of lanes crowded with shops, stalls, markets and shoppers. You can climb to the 1st floor for a view of the district. The 2nd floor, home to Hyderabad’s oldest mosque, and the upper columns, are not open to the public. The structure is illuminated from 7pm to 9pm.