Hyderabad was one of the many princely states that existed during the time that the British ruled India. Golconda Fort, Hyderabad is one of the most magnificent fortress complex in India which lies on the western outskirts around 11km from Hyderabad, the capital of the state of Andhra Pradesh. The history of Golconda Fort, Hyderabad dates back to the early 13th century, when this south eastern part of the country was ruled by the Kakatiyas. Nowadays the ruins have a desolate majesty in the midst of an arid plain.
Golconda Fort, Hyderabad, originally a mud fort, was later reconstructed in stone. Since then it has had a variety of additions by the various rulers of the area. The fort, on an isolated granite hill, rises about 400 feet above the surrounding plain. The contours of the fort blend with those of the hill. The fort has 8 gates or Darwazas as they are called locally, the main gate being Fateh Darwaza, Gate of Victory. The door is 13 feet wide and 25 feet high and studded with steel spikes to protect it from charging elephants. The fort also includes a palace, a mosque, a parade ground, and an armoury besides many other buildings.
At Fateh Darwaza can be experienced the fantastic acoustical effects, characteristic of the engineering marvels at Golconda. A hand clap at a certain point below the dome at the entrance reverberates and can be heard clearly at the 'Bala Hisar' pavilion, the highest point almost a kilometer away. This acted as the warning note to residents in case of danger though now it is a mere amusing diversion to visitors.
Architecture Of Golconda Fort, Hyderabad
Golconda consists of four unique forts with a 10 km long outer wall having 87 semi circular bastions; some still mounted with cannons, eight gateways, four drawbridges and number of royal apartments. The lowest of these is the outermost enclosure into which we enter by the 'Fateh Darwaza' or the Victory gate studded with giant iron spikes near the south-eastern corner. Of the great gateways, the Balahisar Darwaza is the most impressive. Mythical beasts and lions on stucco panels of the spandrels provide decoration on this defense portal. From the Balahisar Darwaza starts the uphill ascent of some 380 uneven stone steps.
The main structure of the fort is laid out in a sequence of enclosures that holds the public and administrative structures to the royal residences and halls. The mortuary baths lie to the right of the portico. The baths were meant for the deceased royalty and harem ladies who were given the ritualistic bath before burial outside the Banjara Gate. Nagina Bagh, now in complete ruins, lies within an enclosure. These graceful structures are surrounded by landscaped gardens, with beautifully carved stonework.
The Sound and Light Show
A new attraction at the fort is a sound and light show that brings the legend of Golconda to life. With a spectacular interplay of audio and visual effects, the story of Golconda unfolds over centuries of splendour. The show livens up the glorious past and it is an experience worth watching. The show is presented in English, Hindi and Telugu.