It was a hot sunny day but that didn’t cease me from visiting the Magical Golkonda Fort during my brief visit to Hyderabad. Our Uber ride stopped in front of the gates of the Magnificent Fortress.
We bought the entry tickets at the counter. As we entered we noticed people clapping their hands very loudly. While I cursed them in my mind for being loud and making noise, a man in his 50’s approached us. He started to clap his hand and explain why everyone else were clapping.(Continue reading this post to know Why??)
It was an easy guess that he was a guide and thought there is more to know about the Hyderabad’s glorious past and the engineering marvels than just see with bare eyes. We hired the same guide paying 300rs. Guides aim to give us the best and most up to date information but sometimes not all that they tell us are facts and it could be exaggerated. Next 2 hours our guide showed us around the fort and clicked few pictures for us. The structure is in ruins but the architecture and engineering is brilliant, place is kept clean and well maintained.
Golconda fort is undoubtedly one of most magnificent fortress that I have visited so far in India. Even though it was built & rebuilt many a times, it was only during the Qutb Shahi dynasty the mud fort was expanded into the present structure over a period of 62 years. It remained the capital of the Qutb Shahi dynasty. The fort finally fell into ruin in 1687, after a year long siege leading to its fall at the hands of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. I will keep this short as you can google anytime for more information.
What we don’t know?
- Famous for Diamond Trade
We have been claiming that one of the oldest and precious Koh-i-Noor diamond that sits in queen’s crown in United Kingdom is from India. But did you know this diamond had been excavated from the mines of Golkonda. The Golkonda Fort used to have a vault where Koh-i-Noor and Hope diamonds were stored along with other diamonds. Many famed diamonds are believed to have been found in the mines of Golkonda, such as:
- Clapping/Acoustic effect
The fort of Golkonda is known for its magical acoustic system. Even today a hand clap at certain points reverberates and can be heard clearly at different places, even a kilometer away in the fort. As told by our guide this worked as a warning note to the royals in case of an attack or for quick communication with the soldiers. We experienced a fantastic acoustic effect at the entrance under the dome, in the ruins of king’s bedroom, Kings Court, Magic Chamber and at Soldiers Guard area. Interestingly when I clapped away from these points, similar vibrations weren’t generated or heard at a far away distance.
Walk through the fort
We entered through “Fateh Darwaza” (Victory gate, so called after Aurangzeb’s triumphant army marched in through this gate) studded with giant iron spikes (to prevent elephants from battering them down). Also, hot oil was poured on elephants from top of the door when they came close to the door. Till date this door has never been broken or destroyed.
A hand clap at a certain point below this dome can be heard clearly at the ‘Bala Hisar’ pavilion, the highest point almost a kilometer away.
Stone Arch Ruins
Building where gun powder was manufactured and weapons were stocked
Rani Mahal where Light show takes place here every evening.
Part of the fort being restored
Architecture inside the fort. Water supply system was well planned and evidently visible.
A 11-km-long outer wall encircles the fort of Golkonda. We could see the tombs of the Qutb Shahi rulers at about a kilometer. They are made of beautifully carved stonework, surrounded by landscaped gardens. They are open to public and receive many visitors.
Our guide showed us a secret underground passage. It is also believed that the secret tunnels take you to tombs and charminar.
Vastness of the fort, ingenious water supply system, brilliant engineering, palaces & tombs, landscaped gardens are the proof to the royal past that sits amidst the growing Hyderabad city today.
Light and Sound Show
Want to ignite your imaginations? Are you a history buff? Wish to be lost in history for few minutes? Light and Sound Show at Golconda every evening illuminates the fort and narrates the history.
PS: Carry a Mosquito repellent
Visit to Chaotic Charminar
Next day we headed to House of Dosas in Banjara Hills. After an impressive brunch that I keep talking about even today, we took an uber ride to Charminar. On our way, my friend Rishab who lives in Hyderabad told me that all his friends whom he has accompanied so far were disappointed after seeing Charminar.
Have you tried a Gold Dosa anywhere?
I was unaware of the distance and the chaos around Charminar which is in the old city. It took good 90 minutes to reach. Like Rishab said, I was disappointed at the first glimpse of Charminar (which means Four Towers). Not because of the hustle and bustle, for it looked small compared to what I had been visualizing. I took a good look at it from far and decided not to climb up as I was running short of time. This road couldn’t have gotten more chaotic yet it adds charm to the buzz of daily life.
The Charminar, constructed in 1591 CE by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, is a monument and mosque located in Hyderabad. The landmark has become a global icon. It is square in shape with four grand arches facing four streets. To the southwest lies the richly ornamented granite Makkah Masjid open to tourists.
In the old city traffic moves at the same pace as a snail, roads are narrow, people and motorcycles crowd the street, handful of tourist, hawkers, small time vendors on street selling ceramic items, bags, toys, clothes, and everything possible. It looked like a shopping paradise for locals. If you go shopping here, be careful of your belongings. You will not find any place to park your car. We literally jumped out of the moving car in middle of the traffic to shop for pearls and had to quickly run back to the car.
We had to fly back the same evening and we got caught in traffic. I prepared myself to miss the flight. How I wish I knew about the chaos around Charminar. But luck favored us, as the flight got delayed by 30mins and I entered the airport right on time to catch the delayed flight. I even managed to buy famous Karachi biscuits in the airport.That was not it!! I was flying, siting behind the popular Telugu film star Allu Arjun.
That sounds like a fulfilling trip. Isn’t it?