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Charminar thrown open to public after 17 years

February 07, 2003 21:24 IST

The Charminar, Hyderabad's most famous landmark, was thrown open to public on Friday after a gap of 17 years.

Scores of people thronged the 412-year-old monument to have a closer look at the symbol of Hyderabad's bygone grandeur and enjoy the surroundings from its first floor.

The authorities had closed the monument in 1986 after a family of five had jumped to death from it.

With its four majestic minarets, rising 180 feet, and the beautiful and intricate floral work, the monument has always been a great draw for tourists.

Member of the legislative assembly and leader of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, Asaduddin Owaisi, was one of the early visitors to the monument. Welcoming the decision of the authorities, he said this would help the younger generation to know about the past. The monument falls in the Charminar assembly constituency, which Owaisi represents.

The Archaeological Survey of India, which is the custodian of the monument, has decided not to allow visitors beyond the first floor. "The steps are very narrow beyond the first floor and if somebody falls down, there would be hue and cry and hence we decided not to open second floor," K Veerabhadra Rao, Superintending Archaeologist, ASI, Hyderabad Circle, said.

The authorities have deployed private security personnel to keep a watch on the movement of visitors.

There were no restrictions on the number of visitors to be allowed in on Friday. From Saturday, only 50 visitors will be allowed at a time and they will be given only 15 minutes to come down.

The entry fee for an Indian visitor is Rs5 while foreigners will have to pay Rs100. Children below 15 years will not be charged.

Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah, the fifth ruler of the Qutub Shahi dynasty and the founder of Hyderabad, had built the monument in 1591 to mark a victory over plague.

The Charminar has suffered some damage due to the heavy vehicular movement around it. A thick layer of black soot is deposited on the monument due to the pollution and the smoke from nearby workshops has robbed it off its golden yellow sheen.

Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad