Golconda Fort in Hyderabad
I have been to Golconda fort in Hyderabad many times, but most of the times it will be with some visiting friends and relative to show them the grandeur of the birthplace of Kohinoor diamond as the legend goes.
This last time I visited with some Hyderabadi friends with the sole purpose of taking some pictures
Golconda has had a very interesting history. It started as a mud fort where shepherds used to come with cattle hence the name -Gwala Konda or Shepherd hill in the Telugu the local language.
|Stair Case To Nowhere|
|One Of The Many Arches In The Fort|
|The Fort Is Now A Meeting Place For Couples|
|A Qutub Shahi Tomb Visible From The Fort|
|A Security Guard On The Wall ( Reminded Me Of Samba From Sholay)|
Later the name evolved to Golconda denoting a fort with a round periphery. Started by the Kakatiya Kings of the Warangal, it passed to the Bahmani Sultans who established one of the first Islamic dynasties in the southern India and ruled from Bidar Fort. Later the fort was lost to Aurangzeb due to backstabbing by one of the generals of Tana Shah who (Same Tana Shah who is remembered in every protest march in India as “ Tana Shahi nahi Chalegee”, .loosely translated you cannot rule us like Tana Shah)
Currently, the fort is a protected monument under the guardianship of Archaeological survey of India. It is decently maintained though the restrooms stink is unbearable and you have to pay to use them.
The fort is normally very crowded even on weekdays and even more on weekends. It is a very big fort and if you really want to enjoy your tour I strongly recommend you hire one of the licensed guides on the premises. They charge around 350 though they may ask for more if they notice your DSLR, and tips are not just appreciated but blessed.
The fort had technology way ahead of its time, it had piped water being brought from a secret lake called Durgam Cheruvu ( Now it has the swanky Inorbit Mall next to it). The architects used a series of pipes and Persian wells to lift water to next level till it reached the top of the fort to be supplied to the various part of the fort. They even had provision to provide piped hot water to the royals. Since cell phones were yet to be invented, the acoustics of the fort was built in such a manner that a person standing at the top of the fort could easily communicate with somebody in the center of a dome close to the entrance. They used to clap to communicate in a secret clapping code similar to the Morse code that was invented centuries later.
The fort is a great example of harmony among the various communities in the earlier days. At the top of the fort a Mahakali temple rules and is still used for worship by locals and tourist alike. It also has two mosques which have motifs from not only from Hinduism in form of lotus but also from various branches of Islam like Shia and Sunni.
The fort is surrounded by a buzzing bazaar where you can buy all kind of artifacts and factory made antiques.
It has more than 300 steps to go to the top where the Jagadamba Mahakali Temple is situated, so take it slowly and carry some water with you. It is excellent if you just want to do some hiking also. From the top, most of the Hyderabad till Birla Mandir is visible on a clear day.
We enjoyed trying to locate our office and residence. Indeed it is amazing to see the old and new Hyderabad blending in each other from the top of the fort. Those who do not want to go to the top they can enjoy the well-maintained lawns close to the entrance and a very nicely done song and light show in the wonderful voice of Big B, as only he can add life to stones by just using his voice. Be ready to for the well fed Hyderabadi mosquitoes who are growing ever bigger on the biryani enriched Hyderabadi blood.
Overall a very enjoyable experience and I am looking forward to my next jaunt to the fort.
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Timings: From 10 am onwards till 5:30 pm. Though if you have bought tickets for the sound the light show of the Golconda Fort you can stay till the show is over.
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