The Charminar is as much the signature of Hyderabad as the Taj Mahal is of Agra or the Eiffel Tower is of Paris. Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah, the founder of Hyderabad, built Charminar in 1591 at the centre of the original city layout. It was said to be built as a charm to ward off a deadly epidemic raging at that time. Four graceful minarets soar to a height of 48.7m. above the ground. Charminar has 45 prayer spaces and a mosque in it. Visitors can view the architectural splendour inside the Charminar.
Golconda is one of the famous forts of India. The name originates from the Telugu words "Golla Konda" meaning "Shepherd's Hill". The origins of the fort can be traced back to the Yadava dynasty of Deogiri and the Kakatiyas of Warangal. Golconda was originally a mud fort, which passed to the Bahmani dynasty and later to the Qutb Shahis, who held it from 1518 to 1687 A.D. The fort is famous for its acoustics, palaces, ingenious water supply system and the famous Fateh Rahben gun, one of the cannons used in the last siege of Golconda by Aurangzeb, to whom the fort ultimately fell.
Qutb Shahi Tomb
Tomb of Hayath Bakshi Begum
The tombs of the legendary Qutb Shahi kings lie about a kilometre away from Banjara Darwaza of the Golconda Fort. Planned and built by the Qutb Shahis themselves, these tombs are said to be the oldest historical monuments in Hyderabad. They form a large group and stand on a raised platform. The tombs are built in Persian, Pathan and Hindu architectural styles using grey granite, with stucco ornamentation, the only one of its kind in the world where an entire dynasty has been buried at one place.
A two hundred yards southwest of the Charminar is the Mecca Masjid, so named because the bricks were brought from Mecca to build the central arch. The Qutb Shahis never finished the building of the mosque, which was completed by Aurangzeb in 1694. Mecca Masjid is poetry in stone, with a hall measuring 67m and soaring to a height of 54m. Fifteen graceful arches - five to each of the three sides, support the roof. Towards the southern end of the mosque lie the marble graves of members of the Asaf Jahi dynasty.
White Marble Birla Temple
Referred to as the mini Tirumala, the Birla Mandir is a pure white marble temple, dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara. Built on the Kala Pahad, overlooking the Hussainsagar Lake and visible from miles around, the temple seems to be a projection of heaven.