Golconda is one of the well-known forts of India. The name originates from the Telugu words 'Golla Konda' meaning "Shepherd's Hill". Golconda was originally a mud fort, which passed to the Bahmani dynasty and later to the Qutb Shahis, who held it from 1518 to 1687 A.D. The first three Qutb Shahi kings rebuilt Golconda, over a span of 62 years. Once the name Golconda was synonymous with diamonds and extraordinary wealth. The fame of its diamond mines was legendary and some of the greatest diamonds in history - the Kohinoor, the Darya-i-noor were mined here. Today extensive ruins of Golconda bear witness to the engineering genius of the Qutb Shahi builders. The ramparts of citadel were built of enormous stones some of which weighed many tonnes. The fort was guarded by a marvelous signaling system and a clap at the gate, the Fateh Darwaza could be heard at the peak of the fort in the Darbar hall. An clever water supply system carried water up the hill to the citadel.
A Well Planned
The magnificent design of the Golconda fort is manifest in its acoustic system, the structural grandeur of the palaces and ingenious water supply system.
Golconda fort was famous for its diamond deal 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 organization 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 extraordinary 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 structural design 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 divide 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 presentation 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 fable of Golconda to life. With a spectacular interplay of audio and visual effects, the story of Golconda unfolds over centuries of splendour. The explain livens up the magnificent past and it is an experience worth watching. The show is presented in English, Hindi and Telugu.
In Hindi - Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday
In Telugu - Thursday
Closed on - Mondays
Advance Booking - Available at Yatra Nivas, Secunderabad. Coach leaves Yatranivas at 5:00pm and returns from Golconda Fort at 8:15pm.
How to get there ?
Air - Hyderabad can be reached by air, from all the major cities of the country.
Rail - Hyderabad is well connected by rail to all parts of the country.
Road - There is a regular bus service to Hyderabad from many cities in southern, central and southeastern parts of the country.