With the Sun playing charades the sky randomly looked cloudy and sunny. It is probably not the best day to visit Golconda Fort, a thought that crossed my mind many times. But I went instead and thank God I did. It was not my first time in Golconda Fort and scenes from my last visit kept flashing in front of my eyes. It’s the same fort, same facade but an absolutely different me. The beauty of visiting a place for the second time is in its familiarity and warmth. You know where the next bend will take you and yet the sight doesn’t look jaded. The fort regaled me with a stunning silver lining in the cloud and that’s when I knew I was at the right place in the right moment.
Legend has it that Golconda Fort was once home to many precious stones mainly kohinoor. This piece of information is always the first trivia to come out of the pandora box from any guide. The next comes various interesting interpretations around the name of the fort “Golconda”. It is believed that the fort was once green enough to feed cattle. Shepherds used to come with their flocks and hence the name Shepherd Hill or Gwala Konda. Gwala means Shepherd in the colloquial Telugu language. With time the name underwent many changes and finally it got the current nomenclature Golconda Fort. Gol is a Hindi word which means round and Golconda corresponds to the round facade of the fort.
It was Saturday and I was expecting the fort to be bustling with people. I wasn’t disappointed at all. What depressed me was the litter condition of the fort. While the main entrance and nearby sections were clean but as you climb up the fort the litter increases. A fort which has a legacy involving Kings and Sultans is now fighting litter. The fort was initially built by the Kakatiya Dynasty. After being in hands of many powerful kings and queen the fort finally landed in the hands of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. That’t when it turned into ruins.
Golconda Fort is under the purview of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
From my last visit which was four years back to this, I didn’t see much change. Though the hallway stinks of bat shit and people throw bottles and wrappers everywhere but still the fort stands mighty tall. Though ASI is doing a good job in maintaining the fort but there is a lot of scope of amelioration. To start with they can install more dustbins inside the fort. Below are the set of images from my last visit.
As you climb up the fort you will see pipe lines right at the top of the fort. These pipelines are the proof that back then the water was being supplied to such heights. I wonder what technology they had in place. Talking about technology the fort has interesting ways of communicating between two far away sections. You will spot a number of people clapping at various corners of the fort. They aren’t crazy they are just testing the communication system of the fort.
The fort is built in such a manner that if one person claps from the entrance hallway the other person standing at the top of the fort can easily hear it. It is believed that the soldiers and the guards used to clap for communication. There were different clap codes pertaining to different kinds of messages. I wonder how the sound travels and how well the acoustics are still intact in the fort.
It is highly recommended that you climb up to the top of the Golconda Fort.
You can enjoy the bird’s eye view of the the whole of Hyderabad. Also at the top there is a temple named as Mahakali Temple. Not just this the fascinating part is that there are two mosques at the top as well. The fact that a temple and mosque have coexisted since such a long time speak volumes about the peace and harmony of early days. Also the architecture of the fort is a balanced blend of Hindu-Muslim architecture.
Though the fort closes at 5:30 in the evening I would still advised to plan the visit in the second half. Hyderabad is generally hot and humid so planning in second half ensures a little solace. Also you get to see great sunset and drama of clouds. The fort also runs a light and sound show which I didn’t attend neither this time nor during my earlier visit. Golconda Fort is centrally located and can be easily reached by public or private transportation. Also there is a nominal fee to get inside the fort.
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