Marvellous Acoustics & The Best Sheermal In Town: Why The Golconda Fort Is A Must-Do
The Golconda Fort is one of the most iconic things to check out in Hyderabad it still remains steadfast, after all these years. Step into proto-Hyderabad, marvel at the unique acoustics, catch the sound and light show and savour the city’s best sheermal.
What Makes It Awesome
The story of Golconda Fort is the story of Hyderabad, the prequel, the beginnings of what is today an ever growing city with global impact. Let’s rewind the clock a few hundred years, to the 12th century AD, when the Shepard’s Hill (Golla-Konda) was first fortified by the Kakatiya Dynasty. Built on a granite hill, the first structures were made of mud and predictably didn’t hold too well against invasion. By 1364, the fort had changed hands, so to speak, from the Kakatiyas to the Munusuri Nayaks, to the Bahamani Sultans. Breaking away from the Bahamani Sultanate, Sultan Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk quickly established the Qutb Shahi dynasty, soon restrengthening and expanding the structure into the granite fort we see today. Fast-forward a century, to the year 1687, after eight years of being under siege by the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, the fort fell to the Mughal Empire.
Golconda’s outer wall encompasses 11 kilometres, with each successive ruling dynasty adding to the architecture of the fort. There are four forts, a number of temples, mosques, stables, royal apartments, bastions, gardens — the works. Entry into the fort is guarded by spiked gates, the 15 to 18 feet high walls deterring the most determined of diamond burglars. Speaking of much-coveted rocks, the Daria-i-Noor, Koh-i-Noor, and Hope Diamond are believed to have been unearthed at the Golconda Mines. While the mines may be inaccessible today, a really fun feature of Golconda you can still witness first hand is the acoustic design. From the Bala Hisar pavilion, at the apex of the hill, you can clearly hear handclaps at the entrance of the fort (a warning signal in case of invasion). Nearby heritage sites include the Qutub Shahi Tombs and Taramati Baradari (a royal music hall), where you can catch the occasional classical music concert.
We recommend watching the Sound and Light show, held regularly at the fort for a dazzling crash-course into the history of Golconda, narrated by the inimitable Amitabh Bachchan. Slip into a food-coma as you bite into a Sheermal — a sweet flatbread, and a Hyderabadi favourite — paired with local kebabs from the area, at several eateries dotted outside the fort.
Long recommendation short — go here for a fascinating trip into the past. Go here for the architecture, the acoustics, and the food. Go here to witness the crown jewel of Golconda, the most valuable treasure of all — harmony. Love thy neighbour!