Hyderabad

Know the magic of ‘four’ in Charminar

M.A. Qaiyum, historian, with his new book "Charminar in Replica of Paradise" Photo: Satyanarayana Gola

M.A. Qaiyum, historian, with his new book "Charminar in Replica of Paradise" Photo: Satyanarayana Gola

Do you know that great geometric combinations and mathematical reasoning has gone into the construction of Charminar? Visitors are usually astounded by the beauty of the 16 century monument, but not many know how the number ‘char’ (four) and its multiples figure in the designing of the structure. In at least 22 spots the magic of four dazzles.

Of course, the main Minars and arches are four. So are the small arches decorated on each side of the main arch. The number of galleries built in each Minar at different level is four. Again each Minar is divided into four parts. The supporting arches (big petals) to galleries and main dome in each Minar are four. The number of entrance arches built in four directions to enter the Minar is also four. And it was the fourth Qutb Shahi king, Mohd. Quli Qutb Shah, who built the Charminar!

There are also effigies of pigeon, parrot, squirrel and peacock in the delicate stucco work of Charminar. Mind-boggling, isn’t it? If your curiosity is aroused, don’t mind. You can now find all about Charminar, the little known and not so well-known things, in the new book on the monument authored by M.A. Qaiyum, retired deputy director, Department of Archaeology and Museums.

The book titled “Charminar in Replica of Paradise” is, perhaps, the first publication devoted entirely to the legendary Qutb Shahi masterpiece.

“So beautiful, so old and so complete”. One is compelled to repeat this comment of a western traveller after going through the 220-page book. The 190 multi colour photos, illustrations and paintings on real art paper make it a collector’s item.

Mr. Qaiyum traces the 400 years of journey from Qutub Minar to Charminar (1192-1591 AD). He throws light on monuments all over the world which sport Minars to explain the concept of minarets. For instance, there are references with pictures of the first Turkish mosque with four Minars built between 1569-75, the Qaismi Mosque with four minarets built in Iranian architects in Baghdad, the four Minars on the main entrance gate of Emperor Akbar’s mausoleum in Agra. Not just this. The book contains pictures of spiral minaret (Iraq), square minaret (Morocco), cylindrical minaret (Afghanistan).

Mr. Qaiyum discusses in detail the Paradise gardens and their significance in Persian life and culture. A well laid out garden is a symbol of happiness and prosperity. The ‘Char Bagh’ or four garden pattern was introduced in India by the first Mughal king, Babar. This concept was also followed when Charminar was constructed. “In later years the gardens and parks gave way to streets and houses and few know that Hyderabad once had a virtual garden of Paradise”, says Mr. Qaiyum. He can be reached on phone 8978877448.


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Printable version | May 15, 2022 3:38:19 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/Know-the-magic-of-%E2%80%98four%E2%80%99-in-Charminar/article60483471.ece