Saturday, August 20, 2011

Golkonda Fortress

Golla Konda in telugu literally means Shepherds hillock, Golkonda hillock was used by farmers in ancient times to graze their sheeps and cows.  This place was selected by Ganpathi Deva in lieu of its elevated platform(  1242 - 1262 ) as an ideal place to erect a mud fortress to station a garrison.  During the two decades reign of the kakatiya king, Ganpathi Deva, Golkonda fort played a strategic part in keeping the enemies at bay.

After the fall of  Kakatiya empire the vijaynagar feudatories took over the Golkonda Fortress in lieu of its strategic importance.  The Fortress was secured with granite structures to station their army.  After the fall of  Vijaynagar Empire in 1565 due to confederation of  Bahamani sultans army, Ibrahim Qutub shah ( 1550 - 1580 ) took over the fortress and beautified it with Islamic architecture.  The wealth plundered from the victory was used to consolidate and expand the Fortress with a palace and gardens.  Thus Golkonda fortress became the capital of the  Golkonda Sultanate.  After ruling for nearly two centuries, the Mughal emperor conquered Golkonda fortress after a prolonged warfare in 1687 and stripped all of its grandeur and opulence.  The wealth of sultanate was surrendered to Aurangazeb( 1658 - 1717 )

Abdul Qutub Shah who was also know as Tana Shah ( 1672 - 1687 ) had to surrender Nur Ul Ain Diamond,  Hope Diamond, Wittelsbach Diamond and Regent Diamond , along with in numerous artefacts made of gold, pearls and sandlewood which catapulted Aurangazeb as the richest monarch in the world.  Further he extracted a huge revenue per annum, which according to estimates amounted to 5 Crores from Golkonda region.  The wealth obtained from these conquests went into building many a edifices in his empire including Bibi ka Maqbara.

Golkonda fortress and city  is spread over an area of  10 sq kms, with the defense occupying most part of it currently and Qutub shah tombs is part of the complex which is located near Golkonda.  Golkonda fortress has been built over a period 3 decades.  The fort by itself is 5 kms in circumference, the outer walls extends to 7 kms.  Golkonda fort remained capital of the sultanate till 1590, later their capital was moved to Hyderabad with the construction of  Charminar, in all probability because the shift was mandated by plague which struck the capital making it risky to survive for the royalty.  A Kali & Haunuman temple was established in the Golkonda premises to ward of the evils of the plague.  The Sultan Mohammad Qutub Shah prayed to Allah for retribution and promised to build an edifice in commemoration.

Golkonda Fortress :  The fortress is secured by 10 km long granite outer wall boundary.  It has 87 bastions some of which are mounted with cannons.  There are 4 draw bridges over the circular moat.  The fort has 8 gateways designed for smooth movement getaway for the royalty and army.  The lowest Enclosure is known as Fateh Dawaja ( victory gateway ) named after Aurangazebs triumph in 1687.  In this enclosure one can experience the acoustic effect of the fort.  A hand clap below the dome can be heard at the highest point 1 km away on the pavilion known as Bala Hisar.  It was meant to signal warning or entry of a guest depending on the intensity of the beat of the drum or bugle.

The main enterance of  the fort is located on the eastern side as per vastu.  The doorways are decorated with Peacock and Lion symbols signifying a blend of  hindu and islamic architecture.  Toli Masjid is situated 2 km away built in 1671 by Mir Musa Khan.  The fort was designed with ingenious water supply system, through wells and channels.

Golkonda fort is well landscaped with a garden, and maintain with plenty of greenary by the ASI.  The Nagina Bagh is the main garden designed by the sultans.  Fort houses the Durbar Hall, wherein public audience and guests to the kingdom were received by the sultans.  A mosque was built in honour of Ibrahim.  The palace is located in the middle of the fort, where the sultans used to reside,

The fort also contains garrison for the generals to reside, along with stables for the horses and elephants. There is an armoury enclosure known as Silah Khana, along with an office.  There is another mosque in the name of  Taramati  along with kali and hanuman temples.  On the immediate left hand side of the enterance ASI office is located in an enclosure which is off limits for the public.

It is ideal to visit the fortress in the evening at around 3 pm to have a complete trip of the fortress and watch the sound and light show which is shown at 7 pm and 8 pm respectively.  During winter the timings are advance by 30 minutes. The sound and light show is narrated in the baritone voice of  Amitabh Bachhan.  There are APSRTC buses commuting to Mehendipatnam, which is bus terminus to the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secundrabad.  It is located just 11 kms from Hyderabad city.

Overall a visit to Golkonda fort is an interesting experience, which calls for stamina to ascend and descend the fortress.  One gets to see the grandeur of the Hindu Islamic architecture and has a peek into the history of  Kakatiyas, Vijaynagar, Sultans and Moghuls.

Ack : Wiki
Aurangazeb Conquest
Golkonda history


SUB said...

Golconda is an amazing place...
great pics...useful info...

Anne said...

I visited Golconda Fort more than 10 years back but the memory is still fresh in my mind! Did you have a chance to catch the sound & light show? It really transports one to a completely different era so beautifully!

Sushma Harish said...

You are sure an inspiration to me now to quarrel with Harish. I have been thinking of an South India tour while my hubby and daughter are busy planning paris and london. haha
I want to show jog and such places. Why I haven't shown her tipu drop of blore!

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Shaan said...

Very nice piece of info..I was always having the idea about the Golkonda fort but knew nothing about the history behind it...Thanks for the share :)


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