Sunday, May 16, 2010

Golconda Fort- Hyderabad

Have you ever been to Golconda Fort in Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh)? If, not what I am going to say would pleasantly surprise you. I am going to tell a little bit of history about the fort and the current situation. Pardon me for the long post (but this deserves a big post), you can read this at your leisure; perhaps with a cup of coffee! (Click on the pictures to see the original size).

The fort was first built in 13 century by Kakatiya kings. The name is derived from Telugu (of course), Golla Konda; shepherds hill. Built on a granite hill, the fort is 400 ft high. The Kaktiya Dynasty (Warangal in Andhra) was conquered by Islamic Bahmani Sultanat and then by Qutb Shahi Dynasty in early 15th century. In 1687, it succumbed to Aurangazeb and then entire fort underwent siege and ruins.

During the Qutb dynasty is, the city/fort was expanded and renovated. The mud fort was rebuilt with granite. The fort was protected by two walls, 5 km the inner forts circumference and 7km the outer ‘protective’ wall. In between were the deep waters and the alligators!

Here are a few pictures of the remaining splendor. Below is the main entrance to the fort. Do you see two peacock cravings on the top? Right above them, do you see a small rectangular black opening? That is used to pour hot oil below, should the enemy manage to come near the gates. Also the entrance (I couldn’t capture the entire pic) is just wide enough to fit one elephant. And the yard is constructed in such a way that once the elephant is inside, it does not have enough space to turn around and go back. So it is stuck here with the enemy burning in the hot oil. (The one wearing the blue striped shirt was our guide).
Remember this yard well as I will come back to it later.
Below is the picture of the granaries. You can also see the fort partially from here. Apparently the kings used to order the soldiers to carry the grains every day on top of the fort for cooking. The reason why the granary is so far is because the king didn’t want the soldiers to be lazy during peaceful times.
Below you can see the inner wall I was talking about and the 3 out of 7 Qubt Tombs (will post a separate thread on this later).
Below is ‘Ramdas’ prison, VVIP prison; an interesting story actually. The pictures you see are hand carved by Ramdas. Like some of you might know, Ramdas is a famous poet and a composer of carnatic music. The legend goes like this: Ramdas is the revenue collector in one of Abdul Hasan Shah’s ruling. Ramdas is a great devotee of Lord Rama. Apparently he sent a request to the emperor to grant funds to build a temple of Lord Rama in Bhadrachalam (Andhra). There was some miscommunication (king claims that he never received any request) and after the temple was built, Ramdas was imprisoned be cause he did not take permission to use the funds.
After 12 years, two young warriors (believed to be as Rama and Lakshmana) mysteriously enter the court and repay the money in full for Ramdas’s release. When the emperor realizes that it was Rama and Lakshmana, he feels that it was the miracle of Allah and sends the entire money back to Bhadrachalam, Rama temple. Since that year, till date, every year during Ram Navami, state government sends funds to Bhadrachalam temple.
Below is the bird’s view of Hyderabad. In here you can see Charminar also. Like I said in the beginning, the small 2 arches (beside that vertical trimmed tree in middle of the picture) was the entrance where the hot oil used to be used. If you stand there in one particular spot and clap, you can hear it here {right side one spot (I put a small stone) in sand beside the big rock}. No pones and no radios! Just one clap in an angle and even now we can actually hear the clap all the way down there! This is used for communication between soldiers down there and up here with coded-claps.
Below is the picture which is quite interesting (no, we have no idea who those guys are in the picture). The small arch opening (which is now covered with stones) is the secret passage to Charminar. This was constructed as an escape route in times of trouble.
Below is the picture of Maha Kali temple constructed during Kakatiya times. The passage was so narrow that if you are even on the heavier side, you might not fit in the entrance! There is also a small mosque.
Below here, you are seeing a part of Hyderabad, inner walls of the fort and Kings resting quarters.
Below is the picture which I am posting for a special reason. If you see properly and visualize, you can see the outline of the main fort. This was constructed in such a way that all the blind spots are covered and the soldiers if placed properly can shoot arrows and cover the fort completely. Far below to the left, there are chairs placed for the evening’s light show.
This picture is special too because it’s showing off the beautiful fort and the kings, the queens resting rooms and the stairs. The court is all the way up in the fort and king and the queen are carried in a palanquin every day. If they are being carried up, then 2 short soldiers are placed in the front and 2 very tall soldiers are placed behind to carry the palanquin to have the balance and comfort of king and queen inside. (Other way round while coming down). And no, that wasn’t me with a green basket.
Notice the way the top edges of the pillars are carved. This is the guest room for VVIP’s from other states. The beauty of the room is such that, if you stand close to that corner and whisper something, another person standing right across the room, ear close to the wall (and all the way to the other side) can hear the whisper as if it’s being said in a loud speaker! My husband and I tried it! In those days, apparently kings used to receive many guests and to make sure that the guests are not plotting against the king, there is always someone listening to the conversation from the other corner. The parable, “walls have ears”, is so true in this case.
Absolutely amazing architecture! I was so surprised that even in those days people had such powerful technology.
Below is another amazing piece of architecture. The platform which you see just above the arch is where the king sits and sentences traitors. Just like above example I quoted, the room is built with stone in such a way that if the traitor tries to open his sword or do anything other than stand with folded arms, the king would hear the motion so loudly. We tried it and I almost jumped out of my skin at the loud sound made by a mere pen cap!!! Also, the arch is placed in such a way that if the traitor manages to pull a trick and shoots and arrow/throw a sword at the king, the arch obstructs anything to go beyond. But the king is seated in such an angel that he can throw what ever down. Really, you need to see for yourself that I am telling the truth.
Do you want to make a guess what those tiny lights are? Yes! They are bats! The sight sent chills that time and even now I shiver at the sight, smell and the noise of them in one of the un-used dark chamber.
The first picture is the view of the fort from ground above; the top most chamber is the court. The storage spots you see were once used to light the candles and as a show case for various diamonds which the Qutb’s collected.
And not to forget, the sanitary and plumbing works were excellent! I took the picture but am unable to post. I will use pointers to highlight the hot/cold water lines. YES! They had a special broiler for hot water!

Last but not the least, just before going to the fort, we came across this “Homoeo World”. Any one wanting to prevent swine flu can get medicine from “Homoeo World”! What fun we had!!!
More stories to write….will share them all soon.


  1. Wow Madhu..Loved this informative post abt Golconda Fort. I absolutely loved it..Its like a mini tour of Hyderabad thru ur post..LOved that picture of the bats..I cd'nt have guessed they were bats. Beautiful Clicks complete this awesome post.

  2. wow!..good info !..I have been to the fort 10 yrs back, and now I think I cant even climb all those stairs.

  3. Hey Madhu,

    Your pictures and narration gives me a good idea of the Golconda fort...which I've not seen. The pictures are great and everything told sooooo well, like being there.

    More coming - curious about it...


  4. @Dolly, welcome! I am glad you liked the post. The bats were the creepy part though. They had a should I say, weird smell and feel to them. I was so scared to go any where near. I took that picture staying far away. I guess I should say digital-camera-ka-kamaal!

    @Renu, it took us about 4 hours to climb the fort. And that too after stopping many times for water. Even though i work out regularly, climbing stone stairs is something else altogether, I agree with you.

    @Gouri, You will love the fort. Its so big! I love old monuments. My husband promised me to take me to Peru's Machu Picchu. Cant wait for it!

  5. These are nice pic in very popular and beautiful places of Bhadrachalam to Hyderabad.You have an easiest way to book your Trip with your friends and family and you will have guidance too.
    Kleswari Travels elaborated their Bus Ticket Booking services with
    Without any Extra Charges you can book your Bus Ticket.