Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Golconda Fort

All of us were to assemble at 3 in the afternoon at the Mayfair bus stand opposite to Anand theatre. We asked a few people the best way to reach Golconda. Mehdipatnam was thus decided as the first stop to reach. A minority amongst the womenfolk - there were 4 gals and a happy me, I had collated information from my sources who had informed me that 49M was the bus to Mehdipatnam. The gals were a bit late - as usual, and the buses were not coming. Dimple had a brainwave and she flagged off a cab. The cabbie agreed to drop us off as near as possible to Golconda. And thus we reached Toli Chowki. From there we all of us got into a single rickshaw that took us right into the Golconda Fort, through small paths, huge gates, a huge lake and a lot of people. It cost us around 10 bucks a person.

The moment we entered the gates of the fort, we saw the history of Golconda, inscribed in stone as captured in the snap on the right. The fort derives its name from "Golla Kunda" aka A shepherd's hill. The fort was initially under the control of the Kakatiyas, then to the Bahamanis of Gulbarga, then onto the Qutub Shahi dynasty and finally to Aurengzeb - the last of the great Mughals. The moment we entered the fort, guides swarmed us. Inspite of Dimple's vehement protests, we finally agreed to have a Government certified guide for 150 bucks - for half the fort and started the journey.



The Golconda Fort was unique because of the acoustics present in the fort. A clap at the Fateh Darwaza - the entrance of the fort could be heard right at the Balahissar tower ramparts. The system was built such that the gaurd at the Balahissar Tower would inform the gaurd at Fateh Darwaza of any suspicious movement. Once this was ruled out, only then will the gaurd at Fateh Darwaza open the gate.


Lifting the huge stone that the man in the adjoining picture is shown lifting was the Entrance Test for all army aspirants in those days. Even I tried my hand at it. And failed.
The fort was completely self sufficient with its own supply of water from wells and food that could be grown in it. Because of this it was believed that the Golconda fort was impregnable.

But even its three concentric stone walls, impregnable as they seemed, were no defense against treachery. Aurengzeb, bribed a saboteur to open the Fateh Darwaza for him and won the fort.



There is a famous story about two sisters, Taramathi and Premamathi, who are believed to have lived in these little palaces, and legend has it that when they sang from their pavilions, their voices, pure and clear floated right across the vast undulating rock strewn landscape, to charm the royal entourage on Golconda’s Balahissar terrace. Apparently, the buildings had been cleverly positioned so that the sisters’ music was carried on night winds to their enraptured audience.

On the way to the top, we saw the baths - hamams of the queens, the ammunition depot, the accounting section, the place where the Wazir - the main minister of the Nawab used to sit and the elaborate mechanism of fans that was in place in those days to keep them cool inside the fort.

There were places in the fort that were full of bats and at night could have been eerie. Imagining the Nawab, his courtiers and the grandiose that had once been associated with this place, where the famous Kohinnoor is said to have been found, was tough amidst such ruins.
Half way to the top, I realised the folly of taking on Golconda with the womenfolk. Parita was dead tired, Dimple suddenly lost her tongue, the usually indefatigable Monika was deflated and Naiya was quietly taking pictures. Somehow we egged each other on and kept pushing ourselves to the top as slowly more and more of Hyderabad came to our view.

When we reached the top, the view was awe inspiring. We could see the city of Hyderabad on one side and the sprawling fort all around as the strong wind threatened to blow us away. It was a captivating view from the top and we rested there, waiting for the sun to slowly sink down on the city of Hyderabad.
There was a sound and light show organised in the fort below, but we were too tired to wait and we made our way back home by a rickshaw to Mehdipatnam and my trusted 49M through Banjara Hills to Secunderabad.
All in all, it was a wonderful half day trip that made us determined to visit Golconda again for the fort and the Qutub Shahi tombs both.

Loony Tips:
Spend a whole day visiting both, the Qutub Shahi tombs and the Golconda Fort.
Hire a guide. Or else you are wasting your time.
Listen to the acoustics of the fort.
Don't miss out on the sound and light show as we did.
Golconda is a beautiful place to photograph. Spend more time and you will get some amazing pictures.
Avoid climbing Golconda in the hot sun.
Bring lots of water and some food to chew on for the trip.

Sound and Light Show Timings
November to February : Winter
Show starts at 6:30, Duration : 55 Minutes
March to October : Summers
Show starts at 7:30, Duration 55 minutes
English version : Wednesdays and Sundays
Hindi version : Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
Telugu version : Thursdays.
No show on Mondays.


Good Links For Golconda:

A wonderfully well written travelogue

Nice Photographs and Descriptions

4 comments:

  1. Nicely described ! .. but with not managing time properly cost us sunset @ golkonda .. n unevenful stormy evening too compelled us to get down soon :-( ..

    P.S.- this place is bit stinky but all in all good place to visit if u have plenty time wander arnd.

    ReplyDelete
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  3. Thanks for dropping by at my blog. And you have given a wonderful account of your visit to the fort, with lovely pictures.

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  4. Hi,
    Nice blog. Nice posting on golconda... I love ur pics, esp. the birds view (last pic).
    Thanks for dropping by my blog. Do drop in often. Would love ur visits and comments and followups.. :)
    My Travelogue

    ReplyDelete

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