|Golconda Fort, Hyderabad
In the last week of December 2020, we went for an impromptu trip to the Golconda Fort. We have been living in Hyderabad for more than two years now, and for some reasons, this trip didn’t happen earlier. Even this time when we left our place for the fort, Google was suggesting that the fort might be temporarily closed (most likely covid restrictions, we assumed). But, we took our chances and went ahead with the plan, with the thought that in the worst-case scenario, we were just going on a long drive. But, luckily for us, the fort was open to a limited number of visitors. It turned out to be a great evening for us, and we had a lovely time exploring the fort the best way we could with a 5-year-old in tow.
The Golconda Fort is one of the landmark architectural masterpieces situated at the outskirts of the city of Hyderabad. Resting at an altitude of about 400 ft., it is one of the Deccan Plateau’s biggest fortresses. It has played an important role in the political developments of Southern India since centuries. From the Kakatiyas of Warangal to the Bahmanis and from Qutub Shahi Kings later to Aurangazeb, the fort served all the dynasties that ruled Hyderabad.
Even after several centuries, the fort with its sprawling layout stands out for its architectural beauty. The incredible acoustic effects reveal the engineering genius of the bygone era. We had hired a guide to show us the place's history since we had an enthusiastic 5-year-old with us, we didn’t plan to climb all the stairs to the top (although, it comes highly recommended, that you should do it if you can). If you visit the fort for the first time and have no idea about the place’s history, hiring a guide is a must. Else, you would just end up wandering about the fort’s ruins without understanding the significance of the sites inside. Using claps for communication and the walls inside the fortress where you can whisper, and someone could hear the sound at the other end of the hall was really interesting.
Here are a few interesting facts about the Golconda Fort, Hyderabad
- The Golconda Fort derives its name from a Telugu word ‘Golla Konda’ which means Shepherd’s Hill. It was first built around 1143 AD and was initially a mud fort but expanded into a grand granite fort during the Qutub Shahi dynasty.
- The fourth king of the Qutub Shahi dynasty, King Quli Qutub Shah, laid Bhag Nagar’s city after his beloved queen Bhagmati. That city is now called Hyderabad.
- The fort boasts of an ingeniously evolved water supply system. The water used to be collected by the Persian wheels and was stored in overhead tanks at different locations. Later on, it was distributed to various mahals, apartments, roof gardens and fountains.
- Darya-e Nur, Nur-Ul-Ain Diamond, Kohinoor, Hope Diamond and Regent Diamond belonged to the Sultans of Golconda before they moved out of India.
- It is believed that there are secret underground tunnels in the fort complex. One such tunnel is said to begin at one of the durbar halls and leads to one of the palaces at the bottom of the hill. The route was designed as an escape route for the royals. It is also believed that there was a secret tunnel from the fort complex to Charminar.
I hope you enjoyed the virtual tour of the Golconda Fort. Hyderabad. If you are visiting Hyderabad, this place warrants a visit.