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Golkonda: Home of Diamonds

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Golconda FortYou will have to visit the Golkonda fort, 10 kilometres west of Hyderabad city, to appreciate the majesty and grandeur of the 800-year-old ruins and the architectural glory of those structures, which have survived the ravage of time and rampage by Mughal vandals. One of the most magnificent fort complexes in the country, Golkonda, meaning shepherd hill, was built consecutively by three dynasties, the Kakatiyas, the Bahmanis and the Qutub Shahis, the major contribution coming from the latter. It betrays the confluence of Hindu and Muslim architectural perceptions of the times. It was the capital of the Bahmani kings first and the Qutub Shahis later for sometime, before they shifted the capital to what is now the old city of Hyderabad. The fort has now become a symbol of the composite cultural heritage of the 400-year-old city.

Golconda FortThe fort area on the hill is fenced off by a series of high and broad granite walls built in concentric circles, their defences strengthened by several moats and drawbridges. Legend has it that Golkonda was the centre of a flourishing trade in diamonds and that the world-famous Kohinoor diamond came from this market. The rugged and time-ravaged ruins throw up fleeting evidence of a golden age with Golkonda as its essence. The Qutub Shahis expanded the modest structures built by the Kakatiyas in the thirteenth century into a fortress complex that occupied the entire area of the hill and overflowed into the terrain around it. Its outside wall, around ten miles in length, is designed as a first checkmate to any aggression. The width of the wall ranges from 17 to 34 feet broken by 87 semi-circular bastions, 50 to 60 feet high.

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