Golconda is about 11 kms from Hyderabad, so close that it may be considered a suburb of Hyderabad. I arrived a little late for breakfast at the fort entrance. The fact is that I needed to get some proper sleep after the overnight bus ride from Sri Sailam.
Once I arrived at the City Bus Stand (CBS), an auto-rickshaw driver offered to take me to a lodge. I paid him only ten rupees for the ride but he got a commission of hundred from the hotel manager. The room was decent but not worth for Rs. 250 per night. Hyderabad has lots of options. Supply exceeds demand at this time of the year and rooms as low as below hundred can be obtained.
From CBS, bus service 80 goes right up to the fort entrance. Once there, entry fee is a pathetic Rs. 10. These days, you don’t have to amass an army and lay a long costly siege to get into the fort. Things have been made rather simple in the 21st century. This is what I call progress.
The fort is fantastic. There are good views, both on the inside and from outside the crenellated walls. As in the fort at Chitradurga, there is an interplay between the natural boulders and the man-made walls, between the curves of grace and the strict lines of order. The ruins are vast and the perspectives endless. I don’t know the names of halls, buildings or passages. All I can say is that every arch brings back an age long gone, every stone tells the story as it stands and every rock hides history in its shadows.
A key architectural feature is that a clap at the entrance can be heard at the citadel high up on the hill. There is a clear line of sight between these two points which might at least 500 meters in separation. This was the communication in those days. Guides will co-ordinate amongst themselves to demonstrate this method of communication. Visitors rather dumbly will continue to clap loudly in every building and space throughout the fort. It is rather like shouting in the Whispering Gallery of the Gol Gumbaz.
Another architectural aspect to be noted is the way arches joint and diverge. A wider arch will span two smaller arches, sometime one and a half. Ribs will traverse to form arch netting around the base of the dome. The base of the dome may have 24 or 16-pointed polygons. I walked in and out of such buildings admiring the various perspectives.
From the summit, one can see the tombs of the Qutb Shahi kings. The fort is largely attributed to this dynasty although it was first started on a small scale by the Kakatiyas and later enhanced by the Bahmani Sultanate. I tried to pick out the Char Minar from the top but I guess it is not such a tall building to be seen easily from such a distance.