In Indian history, the Golconda Fort is the only one that was never conquered by armies, but seized by deceit. This speaks volumes about this magnificent granite edifice dating back to the 16th century, lying to the west of Hyderabad, now a venue for the Telangana State government’s Independence Day celebrations.
Golconda Fort derives its name from the Telugu words “Golla Konda” which mean Shepherd’s Hill. Historians say the Kakatiyas of Warangal originally constructed the mud Golconda fort in 1347 and it was subsequently rebuilt in granite by later rulers, especially Sultan Quli, Jamshed Qutub Shah and Ibrahim Qutub Shah between 1518 and 1580.
Here are the highlights:
- Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao arrives at the Golconda Fort to review arrangements for flag hoisting ceremony, selects place where flag will be hoisted and parade of soldiers will take place
- Final decision by the CM awaited
- Telangana residents are comparing Mr Rao’s decision to unfurl the national flag atop Golconda Fort with the Prime Minister’s flag hoisting ceremony atop the Red Fort.
“Golconda is one of the greatest and well maintained forts in the country. It can be termed one of the mightiest forts which was never been conquered by any army unlike other forts including Red Fort in New Delhi, which was run by the British,” said M.A. Qaiyum, former deputy director of Archaeology and Museums.
He added, “The 1 lakh-strong Mughal army led by Aurangzeb fought for nine months, from January to September in 1687, to seize the fort, but failed. Finally he entered the fort by bribing the security personnel.” For the Kakatiya kings of Warangal, the mud Golconda fort was an outpost. This is testified by the over-door carvings and relief work in stucco comprising lions, peacocks, griffins and lotus at the entrance of Balahisar.
Experts say that Golconda was a centre of the diamond industry, trading, cutting and polishing but did not have mines as erroneously circulated. The world famous Koh-I-Noor, Darya-i-Noor and other diamonds came from here. After the Qutub Shahi kings shifted the capital from Golconda to the new city of Hyderabad in 1591, it became the headquarters of the Nizam’s army.
Dr Jai Kishan, retired principal, Oriental Degree College, Karimnagar and an archaeologist, added, “Golconda was also famed for its weapons. Some of the best swords, daggers and other lethal weapons in India were made here. The Golconda stamp was enough to sell a weapon or a diamond.”
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which controls the fort, says that the fort was ceded to the Bahmanis in 1363. After their downfall in 1518, it became the capital of the Qutb Shahi kings (AD 1518-1687). Aurangzeb annexed it to the Mughal Empire (AD 1687) during the reign of Abul Hasan Tana Shan, the last ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, and appointed Asaf Jah as the subedar of the Deccan province.
Asaf Jah declared independence in 1713 as Nizam-ul-Mulk and the Nizams held sway over Hyderabad until 1948.