Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Majestic Fortress

Hi there!

Hope this finds you all in the pinnacle of whatever you all do.
Today i would like to talk with you folks about some details i jotted down while visiting the Massive Golconda Fort of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.

Here goes the note:

Hyderabad, 27 February: Hyderabad : capital of the Deccan state of Andhra Pradesh , the name itself evokes Medieval Mysticism, Chivalry, Arts and Culture of standards which have left deep impressions in the annuls of National history.

The state has two distinct cultures permeating throughout; one being its old charm that one comes across in the famous Charminar area of the old city as well as its mighty infrastructural establishments of Information & Technology seen in its twin city: Secunderabad dubbed "Cyberabad " for feats in this booming sector.
Tourists and footloose individuals head for the city’s classic charm
as well as its contemporary blitz.

Away from the city, lies the old fort-city of Golconda. One gets access to the fort through the arched doorway which forms the part of the structure’s outer fortifications. This gateway is called Banjari-Darwaza, which got its name from the Gypsy dancing girls frequenting the fort to entertain the king’s guests. The posh Banjara - hills locality got its name from this.
The arch has twin doors with iron - piked embellishments in symmetrical order running on both sides.

Upon entering the fort’s outer gate leading to the main structure, one comes across two rectangular, big in its size, box-like outposts which upon inquiring revealed that they were two guard checkpoints known as “ Habshi-Khana.”

Thereafter, the curtain wall comes into sight which complements the main gate leading to the fort structure located on a massive hill. Interestingly, one gets to see on top of the gate’s arch, a medium-sized hole wherefrom two guards used to spill hot oil on enemies trying to barge the entrance.

After crossing the gate one comes across an open space with high ceiling resting upon some pillars. The guide there explains that this is modelled on an Iranian technology. It so happens that a person standing at the centre of the structure and clapping his hands produces an echo to be heard in other chambers and extensions of the fort. Its USP is that on the sides of the ceiling complementing the central point where the clapper stands are designed in the quartz pattern of a cut- diamond. This lets air passing through the clapping action and boomeranging on the designs and hence, producing the effect.

This was a tested tactic to alert the sentries on other key points of the fort as well as served the purpose of an echo messaging system distinct with the number of claps. The structure on entering where this action of clapping is carried out is known as “ portico.”

The Fort Golconda got its name from the Gauli tribe inhabitng the area in olden days. They were mainly sheperds.While its Urdu connotation denoted “round hills.”
The whole Fortress is surrounded by a sturdy outer wall, 8 km in its distance with 5 entry points in the first wall. This is followed by a second and a third wall.

Crossing these, one comes across the tanks inside the fort which used to contain water. This is followed by a second tank among many others.
From this point one can see the Banjari - hills through which one enters the road leading to the entrance of this structure.
Crossing this one finds another of the water tanks in strategic-points run by inlaid pipelines running across the fort.

After these, an important structure in the interiors of the structure is the Ramdas-jail which got its name from one of the Ministers under the Qutub-Shahi Dynasty, who was found guilty of corruption including disproportionate assets and sentenced to jail. Entering the jail, one sees a staircase leading to an elevated position inside the dungeon which has Hindu mythological images carved on the walls. It is said that Ramdas himself during the term of punishment had carved out these stone cut images in the ample time he got inside the cell.

On the topmost portion of the fort, one comes across the structure which is known as Diwan-e-Aam and Diwan-e-Khas i.e. the Parliamentary systems’ House of Lords and House of Commons. On the terrace of this structure, the guide claimed that a soldier would brandish his unsheathed sword in the glaring sunlight and keep circling and in process, the glistening blade kept soldiers in other key-positions alert.
Coming down the structure, a passage runs besides which is known as Shahi-Rasta or royal-route meant for the king to be carried away in the Palanquin.

Inside the Ramdas Jail, I came across a tourist who was taking snaps of the images. Upon inquiring she told me that she was a Russian national. Her name was Vera . She studies Clinical-Trials, a work which involves testing of medicinal drugs on ailing patients before introducing them in the market with the studied and researched results. I asked her what the Fort’s experience to her was: she summed it up by stating the fortress as a Majestic structure. She added that before coming to Hyderabad, she had visited Trivandrum, Pune, Jaipur and Indore. Hyderabad was the 5th city in her visit to India. She added that she found Indian people hospitable, generous and kind.
Following this interview, I came across the structure known as Khairat-Khana, built in 1642.Adjacent to it is the Ambar Khana.
After these, the Qutub Shahi Masjid followed which was built in 1550.On that spot the Golconda hills can be sighted.

These structures were followed by what was known as Makai Darwaaza. Crossing these the Zenana or women’s section in the fort premises can be seen.
The second such section comprises of a mosque which has a single Minaret, sadly the minaret is broken by the passage of time. One can see a similar Mosque in the nampally area of the city, known as Ek-Minar Masjid.

Coming out of the mosque, one gets to see the dressing section of the womenfolk in the fort it has arch shaped inbuilt shelves on the walls where ladies used to keep their belongings.
It is interesting to note that on the compound of the dressing section there are square tanks on the floor or verandah. The guides there claim that the ladies coming to the fort as well as ladies amongst the nobility used to look on the water contained by these structures. These served the purpose of mirror for them.

Coming out of this enclosure, one comes across an Iron-Fountain which is probably of the wrought-iron material. The guide says that it was dug out otherwise it was much beneath the present level. Overlooking the fountain which is in the centre of the open courtyard are the galleries where the king, queen and the nobility used to watch performances.

Beneath the gallery the guide led me to what is called as the Court, here the convicts were tried with the king being the ultimate judge. The case took place in a unique fashion with a few yards of distance between the King and the accused. The accused would be seated in the opening with the roofed structure overlooking the seat of the king designed so strategically that the convict if throws any weapon on the ruler won’t hurt him as it the low roof of the prisoner’s seating position would come in the object’s way.
Also, the same echo-sound process was in play here as the minutest ruffling of the convict’s clothes could be heard when he was seated in that position.

Crossing this, one gets to see the hamams or the bath chambers of the ruler on the
top portion of the structures built on the vault like chambers of the roof. Here too, one gets to see the pipeline system for access to bathing water in this case.

Covering these, one comes across the three open chambers separated with elevated slope-like barriers on the ground itself. Here travelers used to take rest with even their conversation being heard by the king as well as the nobility who used to reside the floor above.
This was revealed by the guide when he conversed softly on one end of the chamber’s walls and it could be heard on the other wall.

After these, I came to the main courtyard of the fort, which led to the main doorway. On the sidewalks one witnesses the chambers which used to be the arms and ammunition foundry. Here, two large rifles are kept with a couple of cannons as well as iron fireballs for the same.
Inside this structure there is a display of photographs depicting the rulers of the Qutub-Shahi dynasty along with restoration and excavation pictures by the Archaeological Survey of India of the fort itself as well as other monuments and figurines across the country.

Coming out of the main doorway I studied the intricate self-patterns on the surface of the doorway. It had two Union-Jacks like lions carved on both sides with peacocks below them.
The grandeur of the Golconda fort is to be witnessed by everyone. It comprises of 370 steps, built on huge cut and uncut pieces of rocks by skilled artisans and this very structure was once laid seize by the last active Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb.

To be able to define this structure is difficult going by its gigantic proportions, It is a civilization in itself, a city in itself !

Thank you all. Comment everybody.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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