Golconda Fort

Golkonda (or Golconda) Urdu, a ruined city of south-central India and capital of ancient Kingdom of Golkonda (c. 1364–1512), is situated west of Hyderabad.Golconda fort was first constructed during the reign of qutub shah emperor Mohammed Iqbal Ali and his son Mohammed Touseef Ali.The most important builder of Golkonda was Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah Wali, the fourth Qutb king. Ibrahim was following in the spirit of his ancestors, the Qutub Shahi kings, a great family of builders who had ruled the kingdom of Golkonda from 1512. Their first capital, the fortress citadel of Golkonda, was rebuilt for defense from invading Mughals from the north. They laid out Golkonda's splendid monuments, now in ruins, and designed a perfect acoustical system by which a hand clap sounded at the fort's main gates, the grand portico, was heard at the top of the citadel, situated on a 300-foot (91 m)-high granite hill. This is one of the fascinating features of the fort.They ruled over the Telangana region and some parts of present day Karnataka and Maharashtra.

History

The 13th century Golconda Fort was built by the Kakatiya kings. The existing structure was later built by Qutub Shahi Kings.In the 16th century, Golkonda was the capital and fortress city of the Qutb 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.Golkonda is located 11 km west of the city of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh state, India (location 17°23′00″N 78°24′15″E / 17.3833333°N 78.40417°E / 17.3833333; 78.40417).According to a legend, the fort derives its name from Golla Konda, which is a Telugu word for Shepherd's Hill. It is believed that 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.The city and fortress are built on a granite hill that is 120 meters (400 ft) high and is surrounded by massive crenelated ramparts. The beginnings of the fort date to the 1143, when the Hindu Kakatiya dynasty ruled the area. The Kakatiya dynasty were followed by the state of Warangal, which was later conquered by the Islamic Bahmani Sultanat. The fort became the capital of a major province in the Sultanate and after its collapse the capital of the Qutb Shahi kings. The fort finally fell into ruins after a siege and its fall to Mughal emperor Aurangazeb.After the collapse of the Bahmani Sultanat, Golkonda rose to prominence as the seat of the Qutb Shahi dynasty around 1507. Over a period of 62 years the mud fort was expanded by the first three Qutb Shahi kings into a massive fort of granite, extending around 5 km in circumference. It remained the capital of the Qutb Shahi dynasty until 1590 when the capital was shifted to Hyderabad. The Qutb Shahis expanded the fort, whose 7 km outer wall enclosed the city. The state became a focal point for Shia Islam in India, for instance in the seventeenth century Bahraini clerics, Sheikh Ja`far bin Kamal al-Din and Sheikh Salih Al-Karzakani both emigrated to Golkonda.The Qutb Shahi sultanate lasted until its conquest by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in 1687. The fortress held out against Aurangzeb for nine months, falling to the Mughals through treachery.Bhaktha Ramadaasu, a devout Hindu who constructed Bhadrachalm temple without informing the sultan at that time Tana Shah, was kept in a jail located inside the fort.

Architecture

Golkonda consists of four distinct forts with a 10 km long outer wall with 87 semi circular bastions; some still mounted with cannons, eight gateways, four drawbridges and number of royal apartments & halls, temples, mosques, magazines, stables etc, inside. The lowest of these is the outermost enclosure into which we enter by the "Fateh Darwaza" (Victory gate, so called after Aurangzeb’s triumphant army marched in through this gate) studded with giant iron spikes (to prevent elephants from battering them down) near the south-eastern corner. At Fateh Darwaza can be experienced the fantastic acoustic effects, characteristic of the engineering marvels at Golkonda. 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 kilometre away, this worked as a warning note to the royals in case of an attack.The architectural grandeur of the magnificent monumental edifice is unmatched in beauty, which it has preserved brilliantly despite being more than four centuries old. As the Golconda Fort was famous for its diamond in their heyday, it is said that world famous Kohinoor diamond was from this fort. Built on a granite hill (120 metre in height), the entire massive fort is the best possible example of architectural planning and its magnificence.The whole of the Golconda Fort complex and its surrounding spreads across 11 km of total area, and discovering its every nooks is an arduous task. Visit to the fort comprise seeing the architectural beauty in many of the pavallions, gates, entrances and domes. Parted in four district forts, the architectural valour still gleams in each of its apartments, halls, temples, mosques, and even in its stables. The graceful gardens of the fort may seem to be lost its fragrance, for which it was known 400 years ago, yet a walk in the deceased garden has to be inevitable in your schedule to explore the impression of gone glory of Golconda Fort.There is so much of a thought process that went in to building this gate. Few feet in front of the gate is a large wall constructed. This is to prevent elephants & soldiers (during enemy attacks) from having a proper ramp to run and break the gate.The two individual pavilions on the outer side of Golconda 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 durbar (king's court) which was on top of the Golconda Fort.


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