April 01, 2016

Oops, I'm in India: Golconda Fort

Because I only was able to enjoy one weekend during my stay in India, this was the only tourist spot I was able to visit. I have a lot of pictures of Golconda Fort already uploaded to my Flickr and to my photo blog, but I still want to share my experience exploring the area.

Golconda Fort in a Nutshell

Golconda Fort was once the stronghold of the capital of a medieval Southern India kingdom from the 14th to the 16th century. The outer walls of the fort span 10 kilometers in diameter, and the highest elevation within the fort is on a hill 120 meters high.  It is known as a great architectural wonder, as it is said that the buildings were built in such a way that a person standing on top of the hill can clearly hear a person clapping on the receiving dome below.

It is like old Manila's Intramuros, but way bigger and way more complex.

A Tour (of some sorts) Around Golconda Fort

The buildings inside the fort were once used as soldiers' quarters, prisons, rooms for the royalty--essentially an ancient castle. Although these buildings are already ruins, some of the building foundations and archways are still standing, giving you an idea of how majestic the area was a long time ago.

Most of Hyderabad's geography consist of hills and boulders of granite, and this characteristic is most apparent along the trails going up the overlooking hill. It might even be possible that the stones used in building the fort come from the land itself.

The architecture of the receiving dome was built to maximize the acoustics of the area. A single clap can produce an echo that reverberates up to the tower on top of the hill, signaling the officers of approaching guests or invading enemies.

Climbing to the top of the hill isn't that difficult, with so many stone steps to lead the way. However, some of the steps have an awkward angle, so best wear sturdy shoes for this activity.

As you reach a certain height within the fort, you can already see the modern city of Hyderabad in the distance. At certain times within the day, you can also hear the chanting from various mosques around the area.

Security around the area isn't that strict; there are hardly enough guards patrolling around to check on the safety of the tourists. There are no barricaded areas, too, so visitors can stray of the trail to explore the nooks and crannies within the fort.

Some of the buildings are also used as temples, altars, or memorials to the previous inhabitants of the fort.

Finally! We were able to reach the top. The view on the top is a nice sight to behold, but we weren't allowed to stay for the sunset because the fort does not have safety lights to guide the people descending from the hill after the sun has gone down.

Sayang, a sunset shot from the top would've been nice.

At the bottom of the hill, there is an amphitheater of some sorts where the Light and Sound Show is held.

During this performance, the walls of Golconda Fort are illuminated with various colors, accompanied by a narration of the history of the fort.

All in all, it is an entertaining and education experience. Sure, it isn't Taj Mahal, but it is still a different experience from what you usually see in the Philippines.

Tips for the Tourist

  • There are no "official" tourist guides of the area, except maybe if you booked a tour of the place. But if you're going DIY, be prepared for swarms of people asking to be your tour guide. Beware, as they are persistent. You must learn to aggressively decline (if you don't want to avail of such services).
  • The grounds are pretty much an open area so if you're exploring sa tanghaling tapat, wear sunscreen/ hats/ use an umbrella.
  • There are no food establishments in the area, except for a small store at the top of the hill. So bring your own snacks and water, but please remember not to litter.

Opening Hours
  • 0930H to 1700H all days of the week except Friday
  • Light and Sound Show starts at 2200H

Admission Fees
  • 5 INR for locals
  • 100 INR for foreigners
  • 25 INR per camera for videography
  • 145 for Light and Sound Show Ticket

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