Mahakali Temple on The Top of Golconda
The first time I visited Golconda I just visited the Sri Jagamba Mahakali Temple Golconda as any tourist will. But as got captivated by the fort and started visiting again and again it made me think more and more about the Mahakali temple on the top of the fort.
In early days only shepherds visited the top of the hill and that is one of the origins of the name of the fort – Gwala Konda or the hill of the shepherds. It is believed that the shepherds may have found the temple (notice not built!) considered being around 900 years in worship. Later a basic fort was built by Warangal Kakatiyas which passed to the hands of the first Islamic dynasty of Deccan the Bahmani Sultans. The Golconda fort reached its Golden Glory under the Qutub Shahi Sultans, whose tombs can be seen from the fort. Now all this made me think -here is a fort ruled by Islamic rulers for centuries, and right there, next to the Ibrahim mosque and the emperor’s palace is the Jagadamba Mahakali temple. What else do we need to believe that the rulers of Golconda respected all faiths, and when it comes to Kali everybody bows down their head and wants to be in her good books?
The temple is actually very small, on a hillock within the fort, and till a few years ago it was fairly bare-bones, though in recent years a shed has been added to the temple totally destroying its rugged charm. But the size of the temple has never deterred the devotees to throng in thousands every year, specially during festivities of Bonalu.
The moment you start climbing the 300+ stairs of the fort you notice the vermillion and yellow marks on every stair. At the first step there are also some offerings for the goddess. It is at the Mahakali Temple Golconda that the Bonalu festival starts every year before moving to Secunderabad and other temples in the twin cities.
Huffing and puffing I slowly climbed the stairs and slowly reach the top of the fort where one of the most revered of Mahakali temple in Deccan casts its benign eye over the mushrooming metro.
Two fierce gatekeepers with whips welcome you to the temple, as if to warn that only the worthy ones are allowed to enter the precinct of the divine.
A few Thottela-the decorative crowns offered during Bonalu to the goddess were still surviving and offered an interesting picture opportunity against the palace in the background. The Mahakali temple is frequented by devotees from all over the city but the maximum crowds come during Bonalu.
I met this family from the outskirts of the city who were kind enough to pose for me under the bundles of wishes and offerings to the mother goddess. There are actually two parts to the temple one behind the main entrance where a more modern temple, which most devotees visit, but behind it is a small cave where the original idols are placed, to reach this came you need to pass a small set of narrow stairs, which has huge paintings of Mahakali and Durga on both sides.
As per a legend there was a tunnel under the temple that directly took one to the Charminar and was kind of escape route in case of attack on the fort. Why the tunnel was not used when Aurangzeb lay seize on the fort is anybody’s guess. Anyways the spot where the mysterious tunnel existed is now sealed and you cannot enter it.
So my friends next time you visit Golconda do not forget to visit the Mahakali temple on the top that has been blessing the twin cities for more than 900 years. Empires and emperors came and rose to the heavens before being buried in the red soil of Deccan, yet the Jagadamba Mahakali temple stand tall at the top of Golconda.
More posts in Temples of Hyderabad Series:
- Visa God of Chilkur Balaji
- Birla Temple Naubat Pahad
- Sitaram Bagh Temple
- 800 Year Old Ammapalle Temple
- Ranganath Swamy Temple near Financial District
Check this earlier post on Golconda Fort to find out how to reach and other details related to the fort.
You may also want to check my post on places to visit around Hyderabad that lists all the places that I visited in and around Hyderabad.
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