The Massive Fortress of Golkonda
Camera info: Canon Rebel 350D • lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
ISO 1600 • f 14.0 • 1/200 sec
(Note: Ok, so I took this pic when I was first learning. I don’t recommend these settings for outdoor shoots)
“Welcome to Golkonda!” the tour guide thundered. I didn’t pay a ton of attention to him, since I was glancing nervously at the security guard in full military getup guarding a canon. Armed guards were a common occurance. Still, everyone here was friendly. Our tour group was led around the fort and shown many of the sights. Not bad for Rs 100 (about $2.30 at the time), even if the locals got in for Rs 5-20. It’s common in India to get the “skin tax” added on to prices if you’re a foreigner. 😛
Golkonda fort (aka Golla Konda, or “Shepherd’s Hill”) was built in the 13th century under the Kakatiya dynasty. Legend states that a wandering shepherd boy found an idol on the hill, so the Hindu king built a mud fort on the location. In the 15th century, construction began in granite, and the fort continued to be added on to until it’s ruin in 1687. Today, Golkonda is a collection of four forts behind an outer wall, covering 11 km² (4.2 mi²) in all (see here for more architectural details). One cool fun fact is that the mines surrounding Golkonda are where the Kohinoor and Hope diamonds were supposedly discovered.
On our tour, we got to visit the bat cave (and yes, the residents were there) and climb to the top to see a panoramic view of the twin cities Hyderabad & Secunderabad. At the base of the fort, our guide showed us where we could stand to clap or yell so that we could be heard at the uppermost citadel nearly 1 km (0.6 mi) away. Great acoustic system! They also had a running water system at the top – amazing technology for the time it was built! Finally, our group decided to shell out another Rs 40 (less than a dollar. Ooo!) to see the hour-long sound and light show that told the history of the fort. Sweet!
What’s your favorite historical place to visit?