As hollers and honkers and deadly traffic abound, a visitor to Charminar has simply no elbow room to grab a luxurious eyeful of the 16th century monument

What is this life if full of care

We have no time to stand and stare?

If you are a tourist visiting Charminar then you may have to slightly alter this verse, with due apologies to William Henry Davies.

What is this monument full of wear and tear

Where is the space to stand and stare?

Yes, there is simply no elbow room for a tourist to appreciate Charminar. If one is not careful, a speeding auto or a bike could knock one down. A chaotic rush of traffic envelops the monument from all four sides, leaving sightseers no space to have a leisurely ‘dekho’ of the 16 century structure.

Familiar apathy

Hundreds of tourists descend here every day, including a good number of foreign nationals. But the monument, poised for the UNESCO World Heritage status, offers no respite. A place to relax, a vantage point where one can grab an eyeful of the landmark, are probably the last things on the authorities’ minds. Honking traffic and hollering hawkers make matters worse.

When will Hyderabad’s famous icon get rid of all that is chipping away at its grandeur? There are no easy answers.

No shore in sight

The Charminar Pedestrianisation Project, aimed at ‘restructuring the historic core’, works in fits and starts and it is anybody’s guess when it will reach fruition. Deadlines have been set, reset and revised yet again.

It is the hawkers – both footpath sellers and fruit pushcarts – who occupy most of the area which can provide some lung space. Authorities have enumerated 500-odd hawkers and plan to accommodate them either on the pavement or on the central median in an orderly fashion. The idea is to provide a specially designed arch-shaped pushcarts merging with the prevailing ambience. But all that remains a pipedream.

Till then it is a free for all. Like the silent sentinel that is suffering it all, dear visitors, learn to keep your cool and suffer in silence.

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