At the heart of Hyderabad lies a 400-year-old grand structure built to mark the eradication of the plague that tore through the city in 1590. Four Minervans in the class of 2022: Aspen, Anzhelika, (myself) Daniel, and Charlotte (from left to right) embark on a journey to this historical site.

Aspen, Anzhelika, (myself) Daniel, and Charlotte (from left to right). Photo by Daniel Ope

I’ll be telling you these people’s experiences from my perspective, in three parts:

  • Stargazing
  • Shots fired
  • Seeking

These titles will become clear as you read.

STARGAZING

Approaching Charminar. Photo by Daniel Ope

I finally understand why foreigners are called aliens. With all eyes on you, you’re going to feel like an alien no matter how much you try to blend in. I probably received the least number of stares since I didn’t stand out much, while the others experienced many more. 

Aspen explained feeling slightly uncomfortable with the looks – especially since the expressions of the onlookers weren’t the most comforting. Anzhelika seemed pretty chill, while Charlotte saw them in an optimistic way. She likened it to how celebrities get stared at when in public. So, rather than feeling like aliens, we should feel like stars being admired. The people aren’t stalking us, they’re stargazing.

SHOTS FIRED

Anzhelika, and other Minervans taking a selfie together. Photo by Daniel Ope

‘Can I take a selfie?’ will probably be the question you get asked the most while visiting the Charminar. You’ll begin to question if you’re more of a spectacle than the building.

You may see nothing wrong with saying yes to a few selfies, but beware of the chain reaction that could come from saying yes once. If you say yes to one person, another comes and you decide just one more. A third person arrives and you believe this is the last one for sure, but then you see a line of five more people waiting for a selfie and the thought of running comes to mind. Charlotte was willing to take as many selfies as time permitted. To prevent a chain effect, Aspen and Anzhelika agreed to take pictures with only women, children, and families. This was effective since most requests came from men. I, on the order hand, said no to all selfie requests, even to the ones that asked nicely.

Aspen taking pictures with children, and families. Photo by Daniel Ope

SEEKING

Aspen looking through a wall design inside the Charminar. Photo by Daniel Ope

Now you may be wondering, “what’s the point of visiting this place?” or “what were we seeking?” it’s just a building after all. Personally, I only went for the pictures. The others wanted to learn about the city’s history and culture, and they spent a lot of time exploring the area around to do so.

For those who still see no point in visiting this place, think about what you want to take away from your stay in this city. Do you want to pass through such a culturally rich place without experiencing the lifestyle? You don’t have to visit the Charminar to do this, but take a moment and think of what you want to gain from your time here. You can only gain something by searching for it. So, go out there, explore, experience, and enjoy your stay.

Outside the Charminar. Photo by Daniel Ope
A front view of the Charminar during the daytime. Photo by Daniel Ope
Ceiling designs inside the Charminar. Photo by Daniel Ope 
The market outside the Charminar. Photo by Daniel Ope
A front view of the Charminar during the night-time. Photo by Daniel Ope

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