Whether you’re browsing a travel site or flipping through the pages of a travel magazine, any itinerary for Hyderabad will inevitably come with suggestions to visit Golconda Fort. But why? Spanning centuries, hosting several dynasties, rich in history and steeped in mystery, the Golconda Fort is every traveller’s delight.
Every facet of the Golconda Fort and its story is reason enough to include it in your next visit to Hyderabad.
The Beginning in the Shepherd’s Hill – Golla-Konda
Legend has it that a shepherd boy came across an idol on the rocky hill and conveyed the news to the ruling Kakatiya King who had a mud fort constructed around the holy spot. A tradition that his successors continued until the present Golconda Fort took its earliest form of a granite base with mud walls and massive battlements. The fort ever since has changed many hands, from the Kakatiyas, to Munusuri Nayaks, to Bahamani Sultans and then to the Qutab Shahi dynasty who made Golconda their capital. The Golconda Fort owes much of its present magnificent stature to Mohammad Quli Qutab Shah. Finally, the Mughals captured Golconda and treated it to many architectural renovations.
Visit Golconda Fort to witness the flow of history over a fort, hire a guide to regale in the historical nuggets.
An Acoustic and Architectural Marvel
Golconda Fort is famous for its acoustic effects, where a clap sounded in the Fateh Darwaza could be heard a kilometre away in the Bala Hisar pavilion. The cleverly designed arches amplify and carry sound waves to produce this effect. Besides, architectural brilliance is evident in clever ventilation and water channelling so that scorching summers are cooled down.
Visit the fort for a glimpse of the royal gardens, the water tanks and intricate water systems using mud pipes that provided both hot and cold water! The thousand-step stairway to the durbar hall overlooking the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, the Kala Mandir pavilions of Taramathi Gana Mandir and Premamathi Nritya Mandir.
Live the Sheer Grandeur of the City Inside a Fortress
The huge area of this UNESCO World Heritage site is surrounded by a 10 kilometre wall and houses four different fortresses. The eight doors let you in a citadel complex that is beautifully contrasted with lush, verdant gardens against the stark brown of the fort walls. The soldier barracks, temples, royal apartments, courts, stables, everything lies in symmetry. The fort bazaars of yore that are still recognisable spell out the opulence of the Golconda which was a diamond hub. The Koh-I-Noor, the Daris-i-noor, and even the Hope diamond have all been sourced from the diamond mines here.
Visit the light and sound show of the Golconda Fort to let history come alive through its spectacular audio and visual effects.
Seek Out the Mysteries Within
Like every monument of the past, Golconda Fort has its share of secrets. The secret underground tunnel that is rumoured to have connected the durbar atop the hill to one of the many palaces situated at the base serving as an escape route for the royals in times of danger and emergency though widely believed is yet to be found.
It is also believed that the queens were superstitious about mirrors and their effect on complexion and instead preferred clear water pits to check reflections. This could be one of the reasons for the numerous, scattered water bodies around the fortress or just a genius architectural decision.
Visit the Golconda Fort to know its secrets, or to witness the 800-year-old tree that can hold almost a dozen people inside its hollow trunk!
Even today when contemporary attractions dazzle the cities, this mighty old fort is a vivid reckoning of the times gone by, a grand old story-teller and a motion picture of the colourful, eventful past.