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Charminar, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

Golconda Fort Andhra Pradesh

Golconda, a ruined city of Andhra Pradesh was once the capital of ancient Kingdom between 1364-1512. This place is situated west of Hyderabad. There is a famous fort known as Golconda Fort which was first constructed during the reign of Qutub Shah. Fourth Qutub King of Golconda was Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah Wali and he was the most important builder of Golconda. Qutub Shahi Kings were a great family of builders and produced several famous monuments and palaces in which Golconda Fort is the best. Their first capital, the fortress citadel of Golconda was rebuilt for defense from invading Mughals. Golconda Fort is a splendid monument and designed a perfect acoustical system by which a hand clap sounded at the main gate of the fort; the grand portico was heard at the top of the citadel which was situated on a 300 foot high granite hill.

History of Golconda Fort
During the 16th century, Golkonda was the capital of Qutub Shahi kingdom which is situated near Hyderabad. This city was the home for the most powerful Muslim sultanates in the region and also the centre of a flourishing diamond trade. Golconda is located 11 km west from the city of Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh. On the top of a granite hill at the height of 120 meters is located the city and fortress. This place is surrounded by massive crenellated ramparts.

It is said that the beginning of the fort date to the 1143, when the Hindu Kakatiya dynasty ruled the region. Kakatiya dynasty was later conquered by the Islamic Bahmani Sultanat and the fort became the capital of a major province in the Sultanate. After the collapse of Bahmani Sultanat, the fort fell into ruins after a siege. After Bahmani Sultanat, Golconda became as a seat of the Qutub Shahi dynasty around 1507. This fort was built with mud but after the rule of Qutub Shahi dynasty it was expanded by the first three kings into a massive fort of granite and also extended around 5 km in circumference. This place remained the capital of Qutub Shahi dynasty since 1590 but after that they shifted their capital to Hyderabad. After this the state became a focal point for Shiya Islam in India. In the 17th century, Bahraini clerics, Sheikh Jafar bin Kamal al-Din and Sheikh Salih Al-Karzakani both emigrated to Golkonda. Qutub Shahi sultanate lasted until its conquest by Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb in 1687.

Attractions within Golconda Fort
Golconda Fort is made of almost four distinct forts with a 10 km long outer wall with 87 semi circular bastions. In Golconda Fort, there are eight gateways, four drawbridges, several royal apartments, halls, temples, mosques, magazines, stables etc. The most amazing thing here in Golconda Fort is that if someone claps from a certain point below the dome at the entrance then this can easily be heard at the 'Bala Hisar' pavilion which is the highest point of the fort. This was used during any attack or warning of attack. The architecture of the fort is unmatched in beauty which is still preserved. The entire massive fort is the best possible example of architectural planning and its magnificence. During the visit of this fort, you will find the best of architecture beauty in many of the pavilions, gates, entrances and domes.

Fateh Darwaza: The lowest gate of the fort is known as "Fateh Darwaza" which means Victory Gate. This beautiful gate shows the fantastic acoustic effects and best of engineering marvels at Golconda.

Bala Hissar Gate: Bala Hissar Gate is the main entrance to the fort. This gate is situated on the eastern side of the fort and has a pointed arch bordered by rows of scroll work. Above the gate, you will see peacocks with ornate tails flanking and ornamental arched niche. The design of peacocks and lions is a blend of Hindu-Islamic architecture.

Toli Masjid: Toli Masjid is situated at Karwan, about 2 km from the Golkonda fort. This mosque was built in 1671 by Mir Musa Khan Mahaldar, royal architect of Abdullah Qutb Shah. The mosque from inside is divided into two halls. The facade consists of five arches, each with lotus medallions in the spandrels.

Kala Mandir and Pavilions: There are two individual pavilions on the outer side of Golconda which are also major attractions of fort. It is built on a point which is quite rocky. The 'Kala Mandir' is also located in the fort. It can be seen from the king's court which was on top of the Golconda Fort.

Qutub Shahi Tombs: About one kilometer north of Golconda Fort outer wall is situated the tombs of the Qutub Shahi sultans. Tombs are made of beautifully carved stonework and surrounded by beautiful gardens.

Architectural Splendor of Golconda Fort
The wonderful acoustic system of Golconda fort speaks volumes about the architecture of the fort. This majestic structure has beautiful palaces and an ingenious water supply system. Sadly, the unique architecture of the fort is now loosing its charm. The ventilation of the fort is absolutely fabulous having exotic designs. They were so intricately designed that cool breeze could reach the interiors of the fort, providing a respite from the heat of summer.

The Sound and Light Show
There is a sound and light show in Golconda Fort every day by the Government. English version of the show is presented on Wednesday and Sunday. Hindi Version of the show is presented on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. On Thursday, Telugu version is presented. There is no show on Monday. Duration of the show is 55 minutes. Timing of the show in winter and summer are different. Show starts at 6:30 pm in winters and at 7 pm in the months of summer.

How to reach Golconda Fort
By Air: Hyderabad can be reached by air, from all the major cities of the country.

By Rail: Hyderabad is well connected by rail to all parts of the country.

By Road: There is a regular bus service to Hyderabad from many cities in southern, central and southeastern parts of the country.

Local Transport: Golconda Fort is around 11-km from Hyderabad. Auto rickshaws and Taxis are available apart from luxury/semi-luxury buses, for local transportation.