Considered one of India’s most outstanding citadels, the 13th century Golconda Fort was built by the Kakatiya kings and later switched hands and came into the possession of the Bahmani dynasty. Still later, the Qutb Shahi dynasty took over, and it is to them- and more specifically Mohammad Quli Qutb Shah- that the Golconda Fort owes much of its present grandeur. Legend has it that the prince Muhammad Quli rode out every night to meet his beloved Bhagmati in what used to be a small village by the River Musi. During the late 17th century, the fort was besieged by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, who finally gained control of it.
The Golconda Fort is impressive all the way: it stands, magnificent and majestic, atop a 120 mt high granite hill. The path up to the fort was once a bustling market that sold everything from carpets to precious stones- especially diamonds and pearls. The path’s deserted these days- except for tour groups- but the fort’s as imposing as ever. Make your way up the road and you’ll come to a colossal gate, its outside studded with long iron spikes, to deter invading armies from battering it down.
Once you get past the gate, you’ll come to the remarkable portico known as the Balahisar Gate. The Gate is spectacular not for its decoration or proportions, but for its amazing acoustics- a feature you can check for yourself by clapping your hands; supposedly even this can be heard at the Durbar Hall which stands at the summit of the hill.
Also worth having a look at are the royal Nagina Gardens, the Bodyguards’ Barracks, and the three water tanks, all of 12 mt deep, which once formed part of an intricate water system in the fort.
The crowning glory (quite literally) of the Fort is, however, the Durbar Hall, which stands atop a hill overlooking the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. It’s approached by a thousand-step stairway, and if you can summon up the energy to accomplish the climb, you will be rewarded with a great view of the cities below, and if you look carefully, very carefully - you can even spot the Charminar!
Outside the fort, about a kilometer to the north, are the stately Qutub Shahi tombs that depict the glory of the ancient Kakatiya kingdoms. The tombs of these rulers represent excellent example of Islamic and Persian architecture. It is believed that Qutab Shahi Rulers built these tombs themselves which were dome shaped having pointed arches.
Also near the fort are the Taramathi Gana Mandir and the Premamathi Nritya Mandir, the two palaces where the sisters Taramathi and Premamathi, the king’s favourites, lived. In close proximity to the palaces is the Kala Mandir, where the two women danced daily for the king’s pleasure.
The Sound and Light Show at the Golconda Fort attracts a large number of people to witness the events depicting the past of the fort using various sound and light effects. The show is presented before the audience in English, Hindi and Telugu languages respectively. The show is scheduled for an hour and is held on all days except Monday’s. The timings of the show are 7:00 P.M to 8:00 P.M in summers and 6:00 P.M to 7:00 P.M in winters with an entry charge of Rs. 40 per head.
The Fort is also famous for hot and cold water supply system, Turkish baths and ruins of beautiful palaces and lawns which makes Golconda Fort all the more magnificent.