Hyderabad 2010: Day 2 — Golconda Fort

Date: 27th December 2010

Day two in Hyderabad started a bit late, on purpose. We were lazy to get out of bed and only decided to do so around lunch time. We took an aurorickshaw and headed towards Lakdi ka pul, as we were advised by our Hyderabadi friend that there are frequent buses from here to Golconda Fort.

We had lunch from one of the restaurants behind the main Lakdi ka pul bus stop, (edit: Ramesh tells me the name was New Paradise Hotel) and yes, we tried the biriyani from here as well. It was alright.

Post lunch, we took the bus that dropped us to Golconda Fort. The entry fee was Rs. 5 for Indians; foreigners have to pay Rs. 100 ($2.2/€1.6) I believe. No extra charge for cameras, but there is a Rs. 25 levy for video cameras/camcorders.

At the entrance we were approached by tour guides to whom we initially said no. But one young chap told us he’ll give us a brief introduction and overview of what all there is to see inside. Only after that need we take a decision whether to hire him as our guide or not.

Golconda Fort guide map Hyderabad India

Golconda fort entrance guards fort Hyderabad
A small 'guard's fort' outside the main enclosed fort

Golconda fort entrance Ramesh Loiyumba Hyderabad India

Golconda fort entrance tower Hyderabad
This is the main entrance
Golconda Fort map Hyderabad India
To the left and right as you walk in are artifacts like knives, armaments, and other relics

Golconda Fort entrance hall Hyderabad India

Golconda Fort entrance clap sound echo Hyderabad
From the spot where the girl is standing, if you clap, not only does it echo loudly in here, but it can be heard all the way up at the highest point of the fort. It was designed to work for the guards as a warning mechanism in the olden days. Amazing.
Golconda Fort guide Ramesh Loiyumba Hyderabad
This was our guide, at the end we decided to hire him. He told us the rate was Rs. 600, to be paid at the end of the tour.
Golconda Fort directions Hyderabad
All that we were going to be seeing inside

Golconda Fort ground view Hyderabad IndiaGolconda Fort path Hyderabad IndiaGolconda Fort cavern tunnel windows Hyderabad

Golconda Fort guide Hyderabad India
The guide would stop at designated places and begin explaining the various design aspects and history behind this impressive fort
Golconda Fort school kids weight Hyderabad
Unfortunately, I don't remember anything what the guide told me about this tunnel
Golconda Fort iron weight Hyderabad
Apparently this heavy metal weight was used to test the strength of soldiers during recruitment
Golconda Fort iron weight Ramesh Hyderabad
Whatever it was for, none of us could barely even manage to lift it even a milimetre off the ground. It was that heavy!

Golconda Fort tunnel Loiyumba Ramesh HyderabadGolconda Fort cavern Hyderabad IndiaGolconda Fort palace complex Hyderabad India

Golconda Fort Nagina Bagh garden Hyderabad India
Nagina Bagh

Golconda Fort lens flare Hyderabad IndiaGolconda Fort well Hyderabad India

Golconda Fort steps up Hyderabad India
We headed up

Golconda Fort steps up to prayer hall Hyderabad India Golconda fort edge broken wall Hyderabad

Golconda Fort way to Ramdas jail Hyderabad India
We were going inside here next
Golkonda fort priest Ramdas jail Hyderabad India
Ramdas worked as a revenue collector for the ruler at the time. He was jailed here for defiance and in the years he spent inside, he carved Hindu deities on the wall so he could pray.
Golkonda Fort temple Ramdas Jail Hyderabad India
Hindus today visit to pay obeisance to Ramdas
Golconda fort sunlight shining through Ramdas jail Hyderabad India
Ramdas got a pretty spacious jail... but not much ventilation

Golconda fort open window Ramdas jail Hyderabad India

Golconda Fort above Ramdas jail Hyderabad India
This is from on top of Ramdas jail

Golkonda fort old Hyderabad IndiaAs we stared into the panoramic view from atop Ramdas Jail, we asked our guide if there was a better vantage point from where we could see Hyderabad city. He asked us to follow him off the beaten path through some shrubs and thorn bushes outside of the walls of the fort.

Golconda fort guide explaining tour Hyderabad India
Amidst a few cannons, we got a 'high level' tour of Hyderabad
Golkonda Fort high view Hyderabad India
(Panorama comprised of 10 shots)
Golkonda Fort bottom half panorama Hyderabad India
The bottom half of Golconda fort (Panorama comprised of 9 shots)
Golkonda fort view ruins Hyderabad
The palace ruins
Golkonda fort Ramesh Mithun Loiyumba Hyderabad
Asked our guide to take a photo of us

Golkonda fort Ibrahim mosque HyderabadWe continued up towards the citadel.

Golkonda fort way to citadel Hyderabad

Golkonda fort Jagadamba Mahankali temple Hyderabad
Sri Jagadamba Mahankali temple

Golkonda fort citadel view down Hyderabad

Golkonda fort citadel clap Hyderabad
Our guide demonstrated the amazing acoustic engineering of this fort. Not only could you hear the claps from all the way down there but he also demonstrated how the guards communicated from as high up as the citadel with the help of another guide down below.
Golkonda fort citadel Hyderabad
The citadel
Golkonda fort citadel no writing on walls sign Hyderabad
With this sign I knew what to expect...
Golkonda fort citadel wall writing damage Hyderabad
...so imagine how awkward it was seeing (some idiot(!) with) my name etched on the walls here. Argh!

Golkonda fort darbar hall citadel visitors Hyderabad

Golkonda fort view Hi-tec city panorama Hyderabad
Hi-Tec city in the distance (Panorama comprised of 6 shots)

Golkonda fort citadel view Hyderabad

Golkonda fort baradari hall writing Hyderabad
The 'writings on the wall' are here inside as well. How sad. A fort that survived for centuries couldn't survive the 'modern' Indian populace.

Golkonda fort citadel darbar hall tourists HyderabadGolkonda fort citadel darbar hall window HyderabadGolkonda fort citadel Ramesh Loiyumba HyderabadGolkonda fort citadel darbar hall Hyderabad

Golconda Sri Jagadamba Mahankali temple bullock rocks
The rocks resemble a bullock

Golkonda fort citadel steps down HyderabadGolkonda fort durbar hall citadel Hyderabad

Golkonda fort steps to palace ruins Hyderabad
We made our way down to the palace ruins

Golconda fort pillar steps Hyderabad Golkonda fort stone cave HyderabadGolconda fort palace ruins arches Hyderabad

Golkonda fort stone wall Hyderabad
Pretty massive stone walls
Golconda Fort stone wall Hyderabad
Took this looking up against the wall

Golkonda fort stone walls HyderabadGolkonda fort from down Hyderabad IndiaGolkonda fort stone palace HyderabadGolconda fort palace ruins HyderabadGolkonda fort palace ruins gated HyderabadGolkonda fort palace ruins islamic design HyderabadGolkonda fort royal palace ruins Hyderabad IndiaGolkonda fort palace ruins Hyderabad India

Golkonda fort palace ruins heritage Hyderabad
It's amazing to wonder what life would have been like back in those days

Golkonda fort palace ruins history Hyderabad

Golkonda fort palace ruins amphitheatre Hyderabad India
The fountain looks like a new addition to the courtyard
Golkonda fort palace ruins hall Hyderabad
But something far more impressive was inside here
Golkonda fort royal palace acoustic hall Hyderabad
Our guide told us of these "whispering walls" inside this corridor. You could speak in one corner of the hall and one could hear it faintly from the adjacent corner. I didn't believe but we tried it and it actually worked!
Golconda fort whispering walls Hyderabad India
The kids surely loved it
Golkonda fort palace ruins speaking walls Hyderabad
Definitely one of the best highlights in Golconda Fort

Golkonda fort Royal palace ruins inside Hyderabad

Golkonda fort palace ruins light tunnel Hyderabad

Golconda fort acoustic hall Hyderabad
The guide explaining the unique acoustics of this hall as well

Golconda fort Royal palace hall Hyderabad Golkonda fort royal palace sign Hyderabad

Golconda fort royal palace lawns Hyderabad
We were nearing the end of our hour-plus long tour

Golconda fort royal palace garden hyderabad Golconda fort royal palace ruins light smoke HyderabadGolconda fort royal palace ruins sunlight flare HyderabadGolconda fort museum garden HyderabadGolconda fort old rifle cannon balls HyderabadWe were finished with the tour, and our guide led us out of the fort.

Golconda fort clapping entrance tourists Hyderabad
Score of visitors were still trying out the 'clapping' effect
Golkonda fort guards fort entrance Hyderabad
There is a light & sound show once the sun sets, but we didn't feel like staying for it -- so we watched it on YouTube instead 😛

We had to pay Rs. 600 (Rs. 200 per person) at the entrance gate where the guides stood. But as we walked out, I could overhear other guides quoting Rs. 300 to some and Rs. 500 to other groups, and the groups spoke in Hindi or Telugu (the native language). It’s only when we exited I noticed there wasn’t even sign proclaiming how much guide charges were.

So we came to the conclusion the charges for a guide are decided based on how one appears! If you dress like an city slicker/outsider and speak English, you pay more. If you look middle-class (which all three of us are honestly) and converse in front of the guides in a local language, you’ll probably be quoted lesser. If you’re white… I’m sorry.

Golkonda fort old unique bus tour Hyderabad
A unique tour bus we saw while waiting for a ride back to Lakdi ka pul

I still recommend Golconda Fort as a ‘must see’. Easily one of the most impressive forts in India’s heritage. Unfortunately, one that badly needs some renovation and cleaning up. But I doubt preserving the city’s heritage ranks high as a priority for Andhra Pradesh’s politicians.

——

There is actually a day 3 and 4, but unfortunately, it just occurred to me as I began to write this series that I didn’t copy over the next days photos from the camera 🙁

Sucks, I know. But here’s what I did the next day, erm, in words. I went back to Charminar, alone, to do some pearl shopping for my mother. After visiting a few stores, my last experience made me reconsider buying pearls from here. The salesman quoted around Rs. 1800 for a cultured pearl necklace, but as I resisted, he came down to Rs. 1200, then Rs. 600! Then Rs. 500! Then Rs. 300! I walked away wondering what the true value of these pearls really were.

Oh, the best biriyani I had on this trip was at Hotel Shadab on High Court Road just as you are about to enter Madina Market near Charminar. I entered having not heard about the place before but took the plunge just looking at the sheer number of people inside. They have a very old seating area downstairs and a much fancier, air-conditioned ‘family room’ upstairs where tourists were sitting their respective guides. I ordered the chicken biriyani and though it did take around 10 minutes to arrive, it was worth the wait! God, was it so good!

I’m not a fan of Hyderabadi biriyani because most of the them I have had were usually dry and rather tasteless. Shadab’s biriyani was essentially a meal for two. You really get your money’s worth of quantity. I don’t know how they do it (considering it was already late in the afternoon), but the chicken was piping hot and so tender (extremely well cooked, you could tell from pure white colour of the meat).  On top of the chicken, they layered the rice in two halves. One half being masala-coated and the other being the regular basmati rice. The rice was very soft and once mixed with the spicy-masala (and curd) it was delicious! Highly recommended!

At my table sat a local IT engineer who struck up a conversation with me and I asked him if the famous Paradise Restaurant was better. He told me he preferred Shadab’s to Paradise these days, as Paradise “used to be good,” but he also told me there are other small eateries spread throughout the city that serve very good biriyani that live up to Hyderabad’s reputation as India’s ‘biriyani cpaital’.

After lunch, my tablemate was kind enough to even drop me at Karachi Bakery, another Hyderabad institution I had plans of visiting. This bakery chain is quite famous for their fruit biscuits. So famous that they sell out hundreds of boxes by the hour and you often have to queue up for it!

Karachi bakery line for fruit biscuits Hyderabad
By the time I got to the counter, they had run out of the smaller boxes, so I got away with two big boxes instead

Day 4 was our friend’s wedding in the morning and post lunch, just to kill time, we took an auto to Banjara Hills, Hyderabad’s posh locality.

GVK one Shopper's Stop Hyderabad mall
Just about every mall was netted up because of the Telangana unrest
GVK One Hard Rock Cafe Hyderabad mall
We went mall-hopping but got bored rather quickly as the offerings were nothing impressive
Taj Krishna hotel Banjara hills Hyderabad
Taj Krishna Hotel
Kacheguda railway station at night Hyderabad India
In the evening, we walked to Kacheguda station and boarded our train back to Bangalore

After my second visit to Hyderabad, my opinion hasn’t changed — I still wouldn’t live here. In fact, all three of us were itching to get back to Bangalore city because we were quite bored here. Maybe it’s the Telangana issue that has tarnished the city’s status, but we just didn’t find the place ‘exciting’ to say the least.

Sure, there were two other sights we missed, like the historical Chowmahalla Palace and Ramoji Film City… but we just shrugged our shoulders and rode the happy train back to Bangalore.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

3 Comments

  • UMESH DEREBAIL

    26/08/2011

    Nice coverage of Golkonda fort, pictures tell their own story. Good to know that Shabad biryani is better than paradise. Do check out Golkonda history in my blogspot.

    [Reply]

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Checked out your photos, guess there was a bit more to Hyderabad that we didn’t see 🙂

    [Reply]

  • Sush

    27/08/2011

    amazig- fabulous post, captures

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply