- Built in : 1525 AD
- Built by : Quli Qutub Shah In 1525
- Location : About 11-km, On The Western Outskirts Of Hyderabad City
Golconda fort is a majestic monument, which lies on the western outskirts of Hyderabad city. It speaks of a great cultural heritage of 400 years and is regarded as a place worth visiting. Built by Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah in 1525, it stands as the epitome of Nawabi culture and grandeur.Before the city of Hyderabad was founded the Deccan was ruled from Golconda fort. Founded originally by the Kakatiya’s in the 13th century the existing structure was expanded by the Qutub Shahi kings into a massive fort with granite walls and ramparts extending some 5-km in circumference. The first three Qutub Shahi kings rebuilt Golconda, over a span of 62 years.Shepherd’s Hill” or “Golla Konda”, as it was popularly known in Telugu, has an interesting story behind it. One fine day, on the rocky hill called ‘Mangalavaram’, a shepherd boy came across an idol. This was conveyed to the Kakatiya king, who was ruling at that time. The king got a mud fort constructed around the holy spot. Over a period of time this lowly construction was expanded by the Qutub Shahi kings into a massive fort of granite, which has been a silent witness to many historic events.
One of the most remarkable features of Golconda is its system of acoustics- a hand clap at a certain point below the dome at the entrance reverberates and can be heard clearly at the ‘Bala Hissar’, the highest point almost a kilometre away, palaces, factories, water supply system and the famous ‘Rahban’ cannon, that was used during the last seize of Golconda by Aurangazeb, to whom the fort ultimately fell.There is also supposed to be secret underground tunnel leading from the ‘Durbar Hall’ to one of the palaces at the foot of the hill. The tombs of the Qutub Shahi kings, built with Islamic architecture lie about 1-km north of the outer wall of Golconda. These graceful structures are surrounded by landscaped gardens, and a number of them have beautifully carved stonework. Not be missed is the Sound and Light show conducted by Andhra Pradesh Tourism. Outside the Golconda Fort are two separate pavilions built on a rocky eminence – the ‘Taramathi Gana Mandir’ and the ‘Premathi Nritya Mandir’ from where the legendary sisters ‘Taramathi’ and ‘Premamathi’ resided. They gave their performance on a circular dais atop a two-storied structure, the ‘Kala Mandir’, which was visible from the king’s durbar (king’s court) on top of the Golconda Fort.
The magnificent architecture of the Golconda fort is manifest in its acoustic system, the structural grandeur of the palaces and ingenious water supply system. The fort was famous for its diamond trade and the ‘Kohinoor’ diamond is said to have come from here. One is perplexed to see the meticulous details of the architecture and the fading gardens, which were once upon a time replete with sprawling lawns and playing fountains.Golconda is built on a granite hill 120m high, and is surrounded by crenulated ramparts constructed of large masonry blocks weighing several tonnes. The design of the ventilation reveals the brilliant planning of the architects; they are designed to let in a flow of fresh cool breeze, which is a respite from the heat of summer.The massive gates are studded with large pointed iron spikes to prevent elephants from battering them down. The outer wall surrounding the entire township of Golconda, is about 11-km long, and is strongly fortified. In its heyday, the 10-km long road from Golconda to outer Hyderabad was a fabulous market selling jewellery, diamonds, pearls and other gems, which were famous all over the world.
- Built in : 1591 AD
- Built by : Mohammad Quli Qutub Shah
- Location : Hyderabad
The Charminar is an imposing monument, which reflects the glory of the Qutub Shahi dynasty. It is a massive square structure, 56 m (183.72 ft) high and 30 m (98.42 ft) wide. This monument is built entirely of granite and lime mortar. It has 4 minarets one on each of its corners. These fluted minarets are attached to the main building and rise towards the sky to a height of 56 m (183.72 ft). Each minaret of the Charminar has a double balcony. A small bulbous cupola crowns each of these beautiful minarets, which is decorated with petal like formations. A short pointed spire crowns all the minarets.
The four grand arches of the Charminar face the four cardinal directions. Once upon a time each of these arches led to four royal roads. Each of the four arches is decorated on its sides with a row of small arched niches. The Charminar is a two-storied building with the first floor being covered. The elegant balconies on this floor provide excellent vantage point for viewing the surrounding areas. There is a small mosque on the top floor of the building, which can be reached by climbing a total of 149 steps. The mosque is situated on the western side facing the Muslim holy city of Mecca. There are as many as 45 prayer spaces on this floor, which does not have a roof on top of it. It is said that people thronged this mosque to offer Friday prayers, during the reign of the Qutub Shahi dynasty in Hyderabad. This mosque is the oldest surviving mosque in this city. The panoramic view of the city from the top is simply breathtaking.
The Charminar is a unique blend of the Indo-Islamic style of architecture that flourished in India during the medieval period. The beauty of this enchanting monument is accentuated every evening when it is illuminated.