Friday, December 7, 2012

Golkonda Fort

One place in Hyderabad I really wanted to visit is Golkonda Fort.  Golkonda means shepherd's hill.  It is famous for two things:

1. Acting as fortress from the 13th through 17th centuries.
2. Storing important diamonds, like the Hope diamond.

There are a lot of impressive things built into the fort including acoustically designed domes that reflect sound around the fortress as a means of communication, multiple wall systems, water transport systems, gardens, etc.

We visited on Friday evening, just before it got dark.  Here's a view from the front gate.  Note that this is only the first set of walls.  The fortress goes on and up for miles:

Here's the main gate.  Here you're passing through the second set of walls.  Note that there's a canon mounted in behind the arch that opens in to the courtyard.  The arch in the background is also the location of one of the communication systems designed in to the fortress.  The vaulting above that area contains a number of parabolic depressions.  If one stands in the middle of the area and makes noise, the sound is reflected around the fortress, providing a mechanism to provide alerts or announcements:

Unfortunately because it was night time, we couldn't walk up the stairs to the top of the fortress; however, we did get to attend the light show, which presents the history of Hyderabad and the fortress.  Here's an image from the seating area during the light show.  You can see just how large and vertical this fort really is.  The show presents the history of the different dynasties that rules Hyderabad, major invasions of the fortress, and security details like the 8km tunnel from Golkonda to Charminar (the old city of Hyderabad):

Finally, here's a shot of the fortress on the walk back to the gate:

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