Back from Hyderabad, the first thing I am invariably asked is:
“So you saw the Golconda Fort?”
It is almost a precondition to determine the authenticity of one’s journey to the city.
[Note: The other qualifiers are Charminar and Hyderabadi Biryani.]
After spending an entire day at the site, as well as part of the night, I figured it boiled down to 8 things which make the fort the magnum opus of Hyderabad. If you have a 9th, 10th, or 11th, please do share! 🙂
But first, some dates to put things in context:
1143 AD—Golconda Fort is first built as a mud fortification by the Kakatiya kings of Warangal. 1364 AD—The fort passes into the hands of the Bahmani Sultanate as part of a treaty. 1518 AD—Sultan Quli Qutb ul Mulk, founder of the Qutb Shahi dynasty makes the fort his capital. He and his descendants build the present stone structure. 1687 AD—Mughal emperor Aurangzeb annexes the kingdom [and fort] to his empire. 1724 AD—Asaf Jah, the first Nizam moves his capital to Hyderabad. The fort is left to the ravages of time. Continue reading →
The first thing I noticed about Hyderabad, a 400-year-old city on the banks of the River Musi in the Deccan, was the colour of its grass. It is a deep shamrock green awash with light. I had not seen such a green elsewhere in my travels.
I wonder if Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah, fifth ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty [also known as the Golconda Sultanate], felt the same way when he founded the city of Hyderabad way back in 1591. Did the green charm him as much as it did me?
Avid builders and equally avid poets, the Qutb Shahi dynasty was founded by Sultan Quli Qutb ul Mulk, Governor of Telangana under the Bahamani court. As was the norm back then of setting up sovereign states, once the last Bahamani ruler died followed with the disintegration of his empire, Quli Qutb ul Mulk declared Golconda an independent kingdom and himself its Sultan.
Builders of the gigantic Golconda Fort perched atop a hill, the iconic Charminar in the heart of Hyderabad’s Old City, and the nearby Mecca Masjid said to be built with bricks made of clay all the way from Mecca, the Qutb Shahis were Turkmen from Central Asia. Continue reading →