It’s not often that I head out of the Child Haven Homes and take up the tourist track, but recently I did just that and made my way to Hyderabad’s Golconda Fort. Situated only a few kilometers from the home, it is the ideal location to escape for a few hours on a nice winter day. Granted winter here is in the upper eighties on a normal day, but it’s a heck of a lot cooler than summer. I went with the manager of the home here in Hyderabad and the accountant from the Kaliyampoondi home, who was in Hyderabad on business.
The entrance ticket is around 10 Rs for Indians and 100 Rs for Foreigners. Most historic sights in India are like this, demanding just a little extra from the throngs of tourists that visit these places every year. Soon after the entrance we were greeted by plethora of tour guides, both locals and authorized ones demanding Rs 250 (the official rate) for showing the fort. I’ve never been big on tours, so I thought it more prudent to wander around by myself, take some photos and then google the history later. If you are of the tour liking type, I’ve read that the tours are quite interesting. A unique mix of Bollywood scandal and ancient history that are intriguing, magical and most probably fanciful and true. They are stories that will surely keep you entertained throughout your long climb up the fort.
Here’s the true story, well Google’s version of the truth. Golconda or “Golla Konda” (sheperd’s hill) is a 13th century Fort, built by the Hindu Kakatiya kings. According to a legend, a shepherd boy came across an idol on the hill. This led to the construction of a mud fort by the then Kakatiya dynasty ruler of the kingdom around the site. In the 16th century, Golkonda was the capital and fortress city of the Qutub Shahi kingdom, near Hyderabad. The city was home to one of the most powerful Muslim sultanates in the region and was the center of a flourishing diamond trade.
The city and fortress, built on 400 ft high granite rock has a number of royal apartments and halls, temples, mosques, magazines, stables, etc. inside. Visitors enter through the “Fateh Darwaza” (Victory Gate) studded with giant iron spikes (to prevent elephants from battering them down).
With it’s massive granite wall that is approximately 7 KM in circumference, it is a huge complex. The walls thickness ranges from 17 to 34 feet and is broken by 87 semi circular bastions which are 50 to 60 feet high.
You could spend an entire day here and still not see everything. There are hidden rooms and soaring ceilings, tiny vaults and massive archways. It is immense and beautiful and utterly intriguing. We only had a couple of hours to spend there, so a return trip is definitely necessary. I can imagine spending an entire day there, exploring the buildings, lying in the shade of the towering walls, sketching the crumbling facades, simply enjoying a place that is a world away from home.
Are you a tour taker or a tour maker? When visiting a place, are you a leisurely stroller or a power walker?
Thanks for reading!