Golconda Fort, Andhra Pradesh

A ruined fort of south India, Golconda Fort, is in Andhra Pradesh, 11km away from Hyderabad. Now it is the part of Hyderabad City, and is world wide known for the diamond mines. Golconda is otherwise known as “Golla Konda” which means “shepherd’s hill”. In ancient south India, this place came to be known as the capital of medieval Golconda Sultanate (1518 -1687). The Fort at Golconda was constructed by Kakatiya in 945 CE – 970 CE within the borders of Kondapalli Fort.  It is of 120mts (400 ft) height  and build on a granite hill, encircled by  huge ramparts. Later Pratapa Rudra of Kakatiya  empire renovated and fortified  the fort.  The Musunuri  Nayaks, who gained the control of the fort also  maintained  and strengthened its structure.  By 1364 AD on the basis of a treaty,  Bahmanis gained its control from Kapaya Nayaka, the Musunuri chief. Then Qutb Shahi rulers made it their capital and by 1687, the Mughal ruler, Aurangazeb, captured it.

During Qutb Shahi dynasty (1507), Golconda fort achieved its prime importance and it became the capital of Qutb shahi rulers  for a long period of sixty two years until  they shifted their capital to Hyderabad. It is during this period they expanded and strengthened the fort to a huge granite fort within an area of five kms.  Qutb Shahi’s of Hyderabad state, who reign Golconda till 1687 enriched their financial status from the Golconda mines. They extended the outer wall to 7 kms which completely encircled the city. By 17th century Golconda Fort became the centre place for administration and the flourishing place of Shia Islam. Sheikh Salih Al – Karzakani and Sheikh Ja’far bin kamal al –Din settled in Golconda by 17th century.

Golconda, Toli Chowki,  kakatiya nagar,  Sakkubai nagar, Dargah Hussain Shawali, Nanakram guda, Ibrahim Bagh Lines, Hyder Shah Kote, Lunger House are the nine villages in the mandal of Golconda. Golconda Fort encloses a vault in which the world famous diamonds, ‘Hope Diamond’ and ‘Kohinoor’, were once held aside. Atkur in Krishna district and Kollur mine near Kollur Guntur district, Paritala in Golconda are  famous for the precious diamonds mined from them. Golconda mines are the only diamond mines of the world at that time and became the busy trade centre for gems and diamonds. A number of precious and magnificent diamonds were exhumed from Golconda mines. They include Darya – ye – Noor (sea of light) having 185 carots(37.0gm), Kohinoor diamond, Hope diamond, Nur – Ul – Ain diamond,  Wittelsbach diamond, Princie diamond and the Regent diamond. The famous Kohinoor diamond is the valuable assets of Iran now.

By 1880, the British people came to use the term ‘golconda’ generally for a rich mine, and gradually it came to be used for any resource of great wealth. Now the term ‘golconda’ is a word used for indicating enormous wealth. Golconda has four individual forts and the whole fort is enclosed with in an outer wall of 10 kms length. It includes 8 gateways, 87 bastions in semicircular shape, 4 drawbridges, halls, stables, mosques, temples and a no of royal apartments. ‘Fateh Darwaza’ is the entry gate through which we enter to the fort. Victorious Auragazeb and his troops marched and established his authority through this way and hence the name  Fateh Darwaza or Victory Gate. The soothing acoustic effect at Fateh darwaza clearly explains the architectural skill of the engineers of that time and it is an excellent example of architectural masterpieces. The complex structure of Golconda fort makes it very adventurous to reveal and enjoy its beauty.

In the east, there is a main entrance known as ‘Bila Hissar Gate’. It was made marvelous with the peacock and lion sculptures on it. It is a blend of Muslim – Hindu architecture. The chief architect of Abdulla Qutb Shah – Mir Musa Khan built Toli Masjid at Karwan in 1671. Ambar Khana, Rani Mahal, Kala Mandir, the tombs of Qutb Shahi kings,  the enchanting acoustic effect of Fateh Darwaza, two pavilions,  the highest point – Bila Hissar, the Rahban cannon, factories, stables, palaces with beautiful gardens encircling them , all these attract more people to Golconda. People believe that there exists a tunnel underground from the Durban Hall to a palace near a hill.

Durban Hall, Ambar Khana, Mortuary bath, Camel stable, Taramati Mosque, Nagina Bagh, Ashlah Khana, Ramdas Bandhi Khana, all these add beauty to the majestic and unique architectural  combination. Golconda fort is extended to a new building known as Naya  Qila or New Fort.