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Golconda Fort About | History

by Nathan Zachary

Golconda Fort, also known as Golconda Round Hill, is a fortified fortress and an early capital of the Qutb Shahi dynasty (1512-1687) in Hyderabad, Telangana, India.

Due to the vicinity of diamond mines, especially the Kollur mine, Golconda flourished as a trading center for the large diamonds known as Golconda Diamonds. 

The region has produced some of the most famous diamonds in the world including the colorless Koh-i-Noor (now owned by the UK), Blue Hope (USA), pink Daria-i-Noor (Iran)

Golconda Fort History

Golconda was originally known as Mankal. The Kakatiyas first built the Golconda Fort as part of the western defense on the lines of the Kondapalli Fort. The City and Fort You Were built on a 120 meter high granite hill. surrounded by heavy battlements.

The fort was rebuilt and fortified by Queen Rudrama Devi and her successor Prataparudra. Later, the fort came under Kamma Nayaka, who defeated the Tughlaq army at Warangal. It was ceded by the Kamma king Musunuri Kapaya Nayaka to the Bahamas Sultanate as part of a treaty in 1364.

Under the Bahmani Sultanate, Golconda gradually rose to prominence. Sultan Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk (r. 1487–1543), sent by the Brahmans as a governor to Golconda, founded the city as his seat of government around 1501.

The Bahmani rule gradually weakened during this period, and the sultan formally became the Quli. Establishment of the independent Qutb Shahi dynasty based in Golconda in 1538. 

Over 62 years, the mud fort was expanded to the current structure by the first three Qutb Shahi sultans, a massive granite fortification spanning about 5 km (3.1 mi) in circumference.

Qutb Shahis expanded the fort, whose 7 km (4.3 mi) outer wall surrounded the city.

After an eight-month siege in 1687, the fort fell into ruins due to the collapse at the hands of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.

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Golconda Fort Diamonds

Golconda is famous for diamonds found in the southeast at the Kollur Mine near Kollur, Guntur district, Paritala, and Atakur in Krishna district and was cut during the Kakatiya reign. 

Golconda was a market town for the diamond trade, and the gems sold there came from many mines. The fort-city within the walls was famous for the diamond trade.

Gemologists use this classification to designate a nitrogen-deficient (or almost entirely) nitrogen-deficient diamond; The material “Golconda” is also referred to as “2A”.

Many famous diamonds are believed to have been excavated from the Golconda mines such as

Daria-e-Noor

Noor-ul-ain

koh-e-noor

Hope Diamond

Princess Diamond

Regent Diamond

Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond

In the 1880s, English speakers used “Golconda” to refer to a particularly wealthy mine and, later, any source of great wealth

During the Renaissance and early modern eras, the name “Golconda” acquired a famous aura and became synonymous with immense wealth. 

The mines brought wealth to the Qutb Shahis of Hyderabad State, who ruled Golconda until 1687, then to the Nizam of Hyderabad, who ruled after independence from the Mughal Empire in 1724 until 1924, when Hyderabad was Indian unification.

Golconda Fort is listed as an archaeological site of the Archaeological Survey of India on the official “List of Monuments” established under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act. 

Golconda is a 10 km long outer wall with 87 semi-circular bastions (some still with cannons), eight portals, four separate forts with four drawbridges, several royal chambers and corridors; there are temples, mosques. 

The least of these is the outer enclosure, into which we enter through the “Fateh Darwaza” (Victory Gate, called after Aurangzeb’s victorious army entered through this gate) with huge iron spikes (to bring down the elephants). 

Featuring an engineering marvel at Golconda, an acoustic effect can be experienced at Fateh Darwaza. The clap of a hand at a certain point under the dome at the entrance and the ‘Bala Hisar’ can be heard in the pavilion, the highest point about a kilometer away. This served as a warning note to the Royals in case of an attack.

The entire Golconda Fort complex and its surrounding area are spread over 11 km (6.8 mi) of total area, and exploring every nook and corner of it is a daunting task.

 However, a visit to the fort reveals the architectural beauty of the many pavilions, gates, gateways, and domes. Divided into four district forts, the architectural valor still shines in the apartments, halls, temples, mosques, and even the stables. 

The beautiful gardens of the fort may have lost the aroma for which you knew them 400 years ago, yet a walk through these former gardens should be on your itinerary while exploring the back alleys of Golconda Fort.

Spandrels have yellows and decorated roundels. In the area above the door, there are peacocks with ornate tails. 

The design of peacocks and lions is typical of Hindu architecture and underlines the Hindu origins of this fort.

The Toli Masjid, located in Caravan, about 2 km (1.2 mi) from Golconda Fort, was built in 1671 by Mir Musa Khan Mahaldar, the royal architect of Abdullah Qutb Shah. The façade consists of five arches, each with a lotus medallion.

The highest point of the fort is “Bala Hisar,” which is located one kilometer away. Palaces, factories, a water supply system, and the famous “Rahban” cannon, are some of the major attractions within the fort.

It is believed that there is a secret tunnel that originates from the “Durbar Hall” and ends at one of the palaces located on one foot of the hill. 

The fort also houses the tombs of Qutb Shahi kings. They are surrounded by beautiful gardens and many exquisitely carved stones. It is also believed that there was a secret tunnel leading to Charminar.

Two separate pavilions on the exterior of Golconda are also major attractions of the fort. It is built at a point that is quite rocky. The “Kala Mandir” is also located in the fort. It can be seen from the Raja’s Darbar (King’s Court), which was on top of the Golconda Fort.

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