You will have to visit the Golkonda fort,10 kilometres west of Hyderabad
city, to appreciate the majesty and grandeur of the 800-year-old ruins and the architectural glory of those structures,
which have survived the ravage of time and rampage by Mughal vandals. One of the
most magnificent fort complexes in the country,Golkonda, meaning shepherd hill,
was built consecutively by three dynasties, the Kakatiyas, the Bahmanis and the
Qutub Shahis, the major contribution coming from the latter.
It betrays the confluence of Hindu and Muslim architectural perceptions of the times. It was the capital of
the Bahmani kings first and the Qutub Shahis later for sometime, before they shifted
the capital to what is now the old city of Hyderabad.
The fort has now become a symbol of the composite cultural heritage of the 400-year-old city.
The fort area on the hill is fenced off by
a series of high and broad granite walls built in concentric circles, their defences
strengthened by several moats and drawbridges. Legend has it that Golkonda was the
centre of a flourishing trade in diamonds and that the world-famous Kohinoor diamond
came from this market. The rugged and time-ravaged ruins throw up fleeting evidence
of a golden age with Golkonda as its essence. The Qutub Shahis expanded the modest
structures built by the Kakatiyas in the thirteenth century into a fortress complex
that occupied the entire area of the hill and overflowed into the terrain around
it. Its outside wall, around ten miles in length, is designed as a first checkmate
to any aggression. The width of the wall ranges from 17 to 34 feet broken by 87
semi-circular bastions, 50 to 60 feet high.
All the four im pregnable walls of the fort have huge ornamental wooden doors, opening
at the centre with iron spikes driven into them so that elephants of the enemy would
baulk at battering them. It took the Qutub Shahis 62 years to build the great fort
that was completed in 1525. The complex shows off the incredible engineering and
architectural skills, which characterised the golden era of the Qutub Shahis. The
acoustics of the fort, its ingenious water supply system based on indigenous genius
and the air conditioning of thepalaces are the stuff in which historians revel.
The fort conceals in its bowels the triumph and tragedy of the Qutub Shahis to whose
times the bulk of the fort complex belongs.
The Qutub Shahis ruled from 1512 to 1590 the area known to historians as the Deccan,
with Golkonda as their capital, which they later shifted to Hyderabad . The fort
is built on a 400-ft. high hill, its highest point occupied by a double-storeyed
structure, originally called Tana Shahi ki Gaddi. It is now known as Bala Hisar,
which is the inner area marked for palaces.