Location: 11km. from Hyderabad City, Andhra Pradesh
Built In: 12th – 16th Century
Built By: Kakatiya Kings and later by Qutub Shahi Rulers
Dynasty: Kakatiya Dynasty
Tags: Golconda Fort is in the nomination list of world heritage monuments anticipated for acknowledgment by the UNESCO
Other Names: Shepherd’s Hill, Golla Konda
Golconda or Golla konda (shepherd’s hill) is located 11 km west of Hyderabad. Its name is derived from the word, ‘Golla Konda’, which means Shepherd’s hill as according to a legend a shepherd boy discovered an idol on the hill. The Kakatiya kings of Warangal founded the Golconda Fort, which was originally a mud fort. Later, in 1600 A.D. Qutub Shahi kings converted this mud fort into a powerful fort made up of stone, granite walls and ramparts expanding around 5 kilometers in circumference. Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah Wali, the fourth Qutub king of the Qutub Shahi dynasty made most noteworthy contributions to the Golconda Fort. The city and the fort were built on a granite hill which is 120 meters (400 ft) in height and is enclosed by huge walls. The Golconda Fort was once the abode of the invaluable diamonds such as the Kohinoor Diamond, Nur-Ul-Ain Diamond, the Hope Diamond, and the Regent Diamond along with several other diamonds. In those days, India was the only country in the world known to have diamond mines!
Golconda Fort Hyderabad India
History Of The Fort
The Kakatiya dynasty that ruled in 13th century established the Golconda Fort. Kakatiya Gundyana, an assistant of Amma II, the eastern Chalukyan monarch established the Kakatiya dynasty. One of the most influential Muslim sultanates in the region resided in the fort and it was the hub of the prosperous diamond trade. After the decline of the Bahmani Sultanat, Qutub Shahi dynasty took over the Golconda Fort around 1507. In the 16th century, Golconda was recognized as the capital and fortress city of the Qutub Shahi kingdom, in the vicinity of Hyderabad. Golconda Fort was reconstructed in order to protect it from the invasion of Mughals from the north. Over a period of 62 years, the mud fort was converted by the first three Qutub Shahi kings into a huge fort of stone and granite, extending around 5 km in circumference. Finally, the fort was overpowered by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
Architecture/ Layout Of The Fort
Visitors flocking at the Golconda Fort are mesmerized by its superior architectural splendor and elegance. Every aspect of the fort such as the semicircular bastions, the huge eight gateways, stunning domes, pavilions, lovely gardens, four drawbridges, gigantic halls, stables, the holy temples such as the Taramathi Gana Mandir and the Premathi Nritya Mandir, and the mosques reveal the history of Golconda Fort. The royal Victory gate also known as the “Fateh Darwaza” is of its great features. At Fateh Darwaza one can experience an unbelievable acoustic effect, displaying the engineering wonder of that period. A hand clap at a specific point below the dome at the entrance echoes and can be easily heard at the ‘Bala Hissar’ pavilion, the highest point of the fort, almost a kilometer away!
Bala Hissar Gate is the foremost entrance to the fort at the eastern side. The designs of peacocks and lions on the gate showcase a beautiful blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture. The fort has abundant water supply system stored in overhead tanks at different levels. In the heydays of the fort, the water was collected and distributed to various palaces, gardens, fountains and apartments.
The Archaeological Survey of India is currently maintaining the Golconda Fort. Golconda Fort is nominated for the world heritage monuments projected for acknowledgment by UNESCO. However, the present scenario illustrates a lot of negligence on the part of the authorities. For instance, the outer reinforcement wall is all weathered. Vertical faults and coarse vegetation have ruined the exterior borders of the fort. The ramparts on the Naya Quila side are wrecked at numerous places.
Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit the Golconda Fort is between September and March. It is open for public viewing everyday between 7.00 am to 8.00 pm. As it takes approximately 3 hours to climb up and back the fort, it is recommended to avoid the peak afternoon time. One of the attention grabbing events is the sound and light show that illustrates the legends of Golconda Fort. Many spectators gather to watch this delightful show which has voice over of the Bollywood star, Mr. Amitabh Bacchan. The show commences with an impressive interplay of audio and visual effects. The timings of the show vary during summers and winters. During November to February, the shows start at 6:30 pm and during March to October the shows start at 7 pm. On Wednesdays and Sundays the shows are demonstrated in English; on Tuesdays, Fridays and on Saturdays in Hindi; and on Thursdays in Telugu. On Mondays there are no shows.
How To Reach
You can hire various transport modes such as buses, cabs or auto-rickshaw in Hyderabad to reach the Fort. Gandipet route is better than the Charminar route to avoid traffic. The Golconda Fort is around 30 minutes drive from the airport with regular traffic. The major landmarks of the fort are the Qutub Shahi Tombs and the Army Quarters.
Around The Fort
While visiting the Golconda Fort, you can also admire the beautiful historic Qutub Shahi Tombs that are constructed nearby. These are the well-known tombs of the seven Qutub Shahi rulers in the Ibrahim Bagh. The graceful architecture of these tombs is embellished by intricate carved stonework and is surrounded by panoramic gardens. After the fall of the Qutub Shahi rulers, these tombs laid neglected until 19th century when Sir Salar Jung III called for their renovation.
Golconda Fort is one of the most magnificent and prominent forts in India having a great historical significance. Though, Archaeological Survey of India has reconstructed the fallen fortification walls but a lot needs to be done to preserve its exquisiteness and elegance.