Golconda fort is a majestic monument, which lies on the western outskirts of Hyderabad city. It speaks of a great cultural heritage of 400 years and is regarded as a place worth visiting. Built by Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah in 1525, it stands as the epitome of Nawabi culture and grandeur.
A Well Planned Architecture :
The magnificent architecture of the Golconda fort is manifest in its acoustic system, the structural grandeur of the palaces and ingenious water supply system. The fort was famous for its diamond trade and the 'Kohinoor' diamond is said to have come from here. One is perplexed to see the meticulous details of the architecture and the fading gardens, which were once upon a time replete with sprawling lawns and playing fountains.
Golconda is built on a granite hill 120m high, and is surrounded by crenulated ramparts constructed of large masonry blocks weighing several tonnes. The design of the ventilation reveals the brilliant planning of the architects; they are designed to let in a flow of fresh cool breeze, which is a respite from the heat of summer.
The massive gates are studded with large pointed iron spikes to prevent elephants from battering them down. The outer wall surrounding the entire township of Golconda, is about 11-km long, and is strongly fortified. In its heyday, the 10-km long road from Golconda to outer Hyderabad was a fabulous market selling jewellery, diamonds, pearls and other gems, which were famous all over the world.
History Of Golconda :
Before the city of Hyderabad was founded the Deccan was ruled from Golconda fort. Founded originally by the Kakatiya's in the 13th century the existing structure was expanded by the Qutub Shahi kings into a massive fort with granite walls and ramparts extending some 5-km in circumference. The first three Qutub Shahi kings rebuilt Golconda, over a span of 62 years.
Shepherd's Hill" or "Golla Konda", as it was popularly known in Telugu, has an interesting story behind it. One fine day, on the rocky hill called 'Mangalavaram', a shepherd boy came across an idol. This was conveyed to the Kakatiya king, who was ruling at that time. The king got a mud fort constructed around the holy spot. Over a period of time this lowly construction was expanded by the Qutub Shahi kings into a massive fort of granite, which has been a silent witness to many historic events.
Attractions Within The Fort :
One of the most remarkable features of Golconda is its system of acoustics- a hand clap at a certain point below the dome at the entrance reverberates and can be heard clearly at the 'Bala Hissar', the highest point almost a kilometre away, palaces, factories, water supply system and the famous 'Rahban' cannon, that was used during the last seize of Golconda by Aurangazeb, to whom the fort ultimately fell.
There is also supposed to be secret underground tunnel leading from the 'Durbar Hall' to one of the palaces at the foot of the hill. The tombs of the Qutub Shahi kings, built with Islamic architecture lie about 1-km north of the outer wall of Golconda. These graceful structures are surrounded by landscaped gardens, and a number of them have beautifully carved stonework. Not be missed is the Sound and Light show conducted by Andhra Pradesh Tourism.
Outside the Golconda Fort are two separate pavilions built on a rocky eminence - the 'Taramathi Gana Mandir' and the 'Premathi Nritya Mandir' from where the legendary sisters 'Taramathi' and 'Premamathi' resided. They gave their performance on a circular dais atop a two-storied structure, the 'Kala Mandir', which was visible from the king's durbar (king's court) on top of the Golconda Fort.
THE SOUND AND LIGHT SHOW :
A new attraction at the fort is a sound and light show that brings the legend of Golconda to life. With a spectacular interplay of audio and visual effects, the story of Golconda unfolds over centuries of splendour. The show livens up the glorious past and it is an experience worth watching. The show is presented in English, Hindi and Telugu.