25/02/2016 6:19 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST

Stunning Photos Of Hyderabad's Golconda Fort Will Take You Back In Time

Eshaan Girri

For years, Hyderabad’s Golconda Fort, has drawn tourists by the thousands. With its brilliant acoustic engineering, exquisite architecture with Hindu and Muslim influences, the fort has been a tourist hot-spot.

A source of inspiration to many visual artistes, it also turned muse for amateur photographer Eshaan Girri’s first experiments with the camera.

In 2014, Girri, who is a partner at an export company bought his first camera, and almost immediately fell headlong into love with the city he had been living in but had not really explored for nearly 30 years. “The city of Hyderabad, its grandeur, character and natural beauty suddenly took on a new role in my life – instead of my home, it became my muse,” he said in an interview with HuffPost India. “And Golconda Fort that has been steeped in history seemed to be the perfect place to start.”

Along with these beautiful photographs, Girri unearthed some incredible facts about the architecture. “The place is famous for its acoustics… a clap in the dome of the main gateway can be heard at the top of the hill, almost a kilometre away, which was the best way of sounding an alarm in those days,” he said, also adding that the geometric patterns embedded in the walls helped in overhearing conversations from other rooms. “The Hall of Whispers is where royal ladies entertained guests, and any conversations (even whispers) would be overheard by the king from another room to rule out traitors and potential enemies as clearly as if he were right there.”

Initially built out of mud, the fort was reconstructed in stone by the fourth Qutub King of the Qutub Shahi dynasty to secure it against Mughal attacks. “It’s beautiful yet ominous gateways were impossible to penetrate,” said Girri. “The iron spikes stopped elephants from forcing their way through it, while hot oil was poured from alcoves hidden above to further discourage them. It was eventually seized when a man from Aurangzeb’s staff turned traitor and opened the gates to let the enemy in,” he revealed.

Girri has also photographed other beautiful architecture in Hyderabad and can followed on flickr here.

  • The Fateh Darwaza, An Indestructible Gateway
    The Fateh Darwaza, An Indestructible Gateway
    Eshaan Girri
    The fort was last sieged by the Mughals after a traitor in the Aurangzeb army opened a side gate to the fort. Otherwise, it was impossible to penetrate. The Fateh Darwaza or Victory Gate has giant iron spikes that made it tough for elephants to ram through. The little alcoves above the gate contained hot oil that was poured on the animals to discourage entry. Step inside and clap your hands inside the archway dome, and it can be heard a kilometre away in the Bala Hissar pavilion -- this would be a form of warning when an enemy would approach.
  • Shelves That Held The Queen's Perfume collection
    Shelves That Held The Queen's Perfume collection
    Eshaan Girri
    These dome shaped shelves housed the queen's perfume collection. This is just one cupboard out of the many that adorned the walls of the queen's bedroom.
  • The Guest Waiting Room
    The Guest Waiting Room
    Eshaan Girri
    The fort is an acoustic marvel. Near the amphitheatre is situated the Hall of Whispers, where guests would be entertained by the ladies, and the sultan would be able to listen in on their quiet conversations from another room, as clearly as though he were present.
  • The Queen's Terrace
    The Queen's Terrace
    Eshaan Girri
    The queen's bedroom opens out to a terrace that was also connected to the king's quarters one floor above by a staircase. It is believed that the queen could see the king at his place of work from here.
  • The Barracks
    The Barracks
    Eshaan Girri
    The soldiers' barracks look grim by nature, possibly perfect for the hardy lot that composed the sultan's army. Men had to prove their strength by lifting an incredibly heavy block of iron in each hand to be enlisted in the king's army.
  • Visitor's Lounge
    Visitor's Lounge
    Eshaan Girri
    According to our guide, the visitors didn't know how to get inside the fort. There was a secret entrance through the masjid that the king would use and receive his visitors at the lounge.
  • Prayer room
    Prayer room
    Eshaan Girri
    Approximately 100 yards away from the queen's bedroom was a prayer room. The geometric pattern on the ceiling that is reflected throughout the building also played a role in the acoustic engineering of the fort. If one moved away from these patterns by a metre, the sound would get muffled. Otherwise, conversations or claps could be heard from here till the top of the hill quite clearly.
  • Corridor To The King's Bedroom
    Corridor To The King's Bedroom
    Eshaan Girri
    The staircase goes up to the king's quarters. The queen's rooms were situated a floor below.
  • Intricate Artwork
    Intricate Artwork
    Eshaan Girri
    It is believed that the fort originally belonged to the Kakatiyas of Warangal, depicted by the art work that featured carvings in stucco of lions, peacocks, griffins and lotuses. This artwork featured on the gateway is a blend of Hindu – Muslim architecture.

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