Golconda Fort of Hyderabad, India - 22 captivating facts about the historical fort

 battlement,S.side, Golconda  fort, Hyderabad. India dreamstime.com

The Golconda  fort, Hyderabad. India jagranjosh.com

The Golconda  fort, Hyderabad. India. flickr.com

1880 Golconda Fort. facebook.com

The Golconda  fort, Hyderabad. hyderabad.telangana.gov.in

The Architecturally rich defensive  structure, The Golconda fort of Hyderabad, Telangana  bears testimony to the ingenuity of the rulers and talented artisans of by-gone era. The large and sturdy fort complex points to the glorious past of the Hyderabad region and the opulence of the Golconda kingdom. This fort, in ruins now, was one of the most formidable forts in south India like Gingee fort of Tamil  Nadu or Daulatabad Fort (Devagiri fort) near Aurangabad, MH.

The following are the enchanting facts of the Golconda Fort of Hyderabad, India: 

01. The fortress rests on a granite hill 120 meters high while huge crenellated ramparts surround this structure; it has three lines of massive fortification walls one within the other. 

02. Though the region has lots of volcanic rocks called basalt, Hyderabad and adjacent areas have outcrops of Archaean rocks that are dated back to 3.5 billion years - made of granitic rocks and gneisses that are highly weathered. 

Golconda fort, Hyderabad, India  dreamstime.com

03. The outer fort occupies an area of three square kilometers.  The adjacent moat runs all around, covering a vast area of the town with a circumference of 7 km that included the town. Actually, it has four distinct forts and the outer one has a circumference of 10 km. The state became a focal point for Shia Islam in India centuries ago.

curved passage & Fateh Darwaza Golconda fort, India flickr.com/

04. There are 8 imposing gateways (darwazas) with well-planned 87 angled  bastions rising to a height of 15 to 18 meters. of these Makki (or Makkah ) darwaza, fateh darwaza, and banjara darwaza are large.The Makki darwaza has two sets of massive iron-bound wooden gates, with a defensible space between them . The Banjara darwaza and fath darwaza have only one set of gates. The barracks were near the gate for further security.  Another defensive feature is curved path to the gateway. Each gate was built ingeniously  at the end of a curved passage, so battering rams or elephants couldn’t build up enough speed to attack the gates.

spiked doorway Golconda fort, India hemapen.wordpress.com

Fateh Rahbar cannon with Persian inscription, Golconda

(By Mohan Sainath (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Light cannon and balls, Golconda fort. hyderabadstory.blogspot.com

Golconda fort  hyderabadstory.blogspot.com

05. These semicircle bastions  were  well built to protect the soldiers  and each one was surmounted by rust proof cannons of varying caliber and firing power. The mogul emperor used the cannon power and ended the siege.  This cannon assembly was mounted on a metal pivot embedded in the floor of the bastion. The advantage is it is easy for  the cannon operators  to turn the gun from side to side and could accurately target any spot they wanted within the cannon’s range from the fort.

06. The Fateh Rahbar meaning 'guide to victory' cannon used during the siege of Golconda by Aurangzeb's army played a major role. A large bronze cannon with a length of 486 cm, the diameter of its muzzle is 70 cm  (bore 26 cm and end of the barrel is 84 cm), the total weight is 16.59 ton.  It was believed to be a powerful cannon mounted  on the bastian  called Petla Burj, on the western wall.

07. With visible open firing range and  wide rampart, it used to be a tough fort in  the medieval Deccan  region to penetrate. The fort's double wall winding up hill is strengthened by a third masonry wall connecting the rocky boulders. 

Golconda fort, Hyderabad, India. youthkiawaaz.com

08. Initially called Shepherd’s Hill, meaning Golla Konda in Telugu, the Hindu Kakatiya ruler of Warangal  Pratāparudra  had a mud fort built in 1143  after hearing that a Shepard boy had found a Hindu idol there.  

The Golconda  fort, Hyderabad. India bskartwork.artstation.com

09. Later  it was fortified by the Bahmani Sultans and the Qutub Shahi dynasty between the 14th and 17th centuries. 

10. During the reign of Sultan Muhammad Shah (1358–1375 A.D.) of the Bahmani Sultanate, Golconda region flourished and the fort was one of the strong fort complexes in India. Because of Diamond mines in the kingdom Golconda was a famous trade centre of large diamonds, accounting for most of the world famous diamonds. The Kollur mines have become defunct. 

Golconda fort, Hyderabad, India  dreamstime.com

Golconda fort, Hyderabad, India  dreamstime.com

11. The Golconda fort, it is said,  used to have a  thick walled vault where the famous Koh-I-Noor  and Hope diamonds were once stored along with other diamonds for safety. 

12. Qutub Shahi kings  (AD 1518-1687) who took control of the fort from Bhamini Sultans converted this into massive granite fort extending 5 km in circumference   with massive fortification walls having bastions and battlements

13. It was a self-contained fort and could withstand long siege. The inner fort has the remains of palaces, mosques, and a hilltop pavilion which rises about 130 meters high and gives a panoramic vista of nearby buildings and part of the neighborhood.

Ruined Darbar hall, Golconda fort, Hyderabad, India  dreamstime.com

interior, Golconda fort, Hyderabad, India  dreamstime.com

14. The fort still has mounted cannons, four drawbridges, eight gateways, and various halls, magazines, and stables. The outermost enclosure  Fateh Darwaza, or Victory Gate has amazing acoustical effects and the reverberation can be heard clearly at the hilltop pavilion - Bala Hisar. about one kilometre away - a sort of a warning system for the fort's inhabitants then. A well protected town within the fort. 

Golconda fort, stone walled. Hyderabad, India  dreamstime.com

15. Bala Hissar Gate on the east side  is the main entrance to the fort located on the eastern side  has many features -  pointed arch bordered by rows of scroll work,  peacocks and lion above the door, the granite block lintel below with  sculpted yalis,etc., they  show  a blend of Hindu – Muslim architecture

16. The amazing palaces, buildings had an ingenious water supply system, but now it is in ruins. Sadly, the unique architecture of the fort is now losing its charm.

17.The ventilation of the fort is so planned with fine designs,  cool breeze could reach the interiors of the fort, providing a great relief  from the hot summer heat.  

18. About one kilometer north of Golconda's outer wall lie  the tombs of the Qutb Shahi sultans.  The structures  made of beautifully carved stonework, lie in the midst of  landscaped gardens. They are open to public .

19. Much of the damages seen here were caused by  Mogul ruler Aurangzeb.  In 1687  on a land grabbing mission to control the deccan region,  after a pretty long siege lasting 8 months,  he  successfully captured the kingdom and intentionally left the stunning fort in ruins.  He ended the Qutb Shahi reign and took the last Golconda king, Abul Hassan Tana Shah captive.

 Golconda  fort, Hyderabad.India, hall of whisper.

20. Aurangzeb and his powerful army entered into the massive fort through the At Fateh gate that  was studded with giant pointed iron spikes (to prevent elephants from jamming  them) near the south-eastern corner,

21. Beyond the outer fort wall, there's a double wall around the base of the hill. Inside this double wall, there's a third wall that winds up the mountain and In 1724 AD, an extension of the outer wall covering small area covering  115-acre  was built by the Mogul beyond the outer wall on the  northeast side, now called Naya Qila.  The famous fort is in the western part of Hyderabad city and is about 11 km from the city.I believe, it is not open to public. 

22. Aurangzeb  appointed Asaf Jah as the Subedar of the Deccan province.  When the power of Mogul dynasty was declining, Asaf Jah  declared independence in AD 1713 as Nizam-ul-Mulk and the Nizams controlled the region till 1948. The Nizams proved themselves to be  effective secular administrators and had close rapport with both East India company  and the British Crown administration after 1859. Photo credits dreamstime.com, etc