Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Kolkata2Kanyakumari: Day4 - Hyderabad to Hampi

We had a 400 kmm odd (7 ½ hour approx) drive ahead of us, as our next destination on our #Kolkata2Kanyakumari was the World Heritage Site of Hampi. The route we had chosen was going to take us through Kurnool.

The drive itself was quite scenic as we drove across the central plateau of India, and over some undulating terrain. The drive was quite uneventful and quite smooth throughout.

A stop for lunch by a road side dhaba and the sighting of a Huge Hanuman statue might have been the high point of the journey, until we came to Hampi. The most impressive sight on the outskirts is the colossal Jindal Steel Works plant, which we drove past for kilometers till we arrived at our Hotel which was right opposite the Steel Plant.

Our Hotel, which might have been one of the more expensive one's on our entire Trip (as booked) was well worth it. Hotel Rock Regency, though a bit away from the main site of Hampi was a very nice Hotel.

At dinner (which of-course started with Beer), I was pleasantly surprised to see all the staff were Bengalis. Which meant the rest of our conversations with the staff was obviously in 'Bangla' which in turn led to us being treated like family.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Kolkata2Kanyakumari: Hyderabad - Lumbini Park (Multimedia Fountain Show)

Lumbini Park is a small public, urban park of 7.5 acres (0.030 km2; 0.0117 sq mi) adjacent to Hussain Sagar in Hyderabad, India. India named after Lumbini of Nepal dedicated to Lord Buddha. Since it is located in the center of the city and is in close proximity to other tourist attractions, such as Birla Mandir and Necklace Road, it attracts many visitors throughout the year.Boating is one of the best part and people go to the Budha idol placed in the middle of the tank band in the boats. Constructed in 1994, the park is maintained by the Buddha Purnima Project Authority that functions under the directives of the Government of Telangana. In 2007, it was one of the targets of the 25 August 2007 Hyderabad bombings that killed 44 people.

Multimedia Fountain Show
Emotion Media Factory installed India's first spectacular water multimedia show in Lumbini Park. The multimedia fountain show plays daily to a large audience, the installation combines a full spectrum of media elements, from dazzling laser animation, live video, stunning sound quality, rhythmic musical fountains and extraordinary beam effects, all astonishingly portrayed on one of the largest water screens in India. The elements coalesce to re-create stories and historical and cultural aspects of Hyderabad’s past, present and future, enthralling thousands of guests each night.

The park is open to visitors on all days. A laser show is held at venue everyday at 7:15 pm except weekends when it happens twice at 7:15 pm and at 8:30 pm.

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Kolkata2Kanyakumari: Hyderabad - Golkonda

Golkonda, also known as Golconda, Gol konda ("Round shaped hill"), or Golla konda, (Shepherds Hill) is a citadel and fort in Southern India and was the capital of the medieval sultanate of the Qutb Shahi dynasty (c.1518–1687), is situated 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) west of Hyderabad. It is also a tehsil of Hyderabad district, Telangana, India. The region is known for the mines that have produced some of the world's most famous gems, including the Koh-i-Noor, the Hope Diamond, Nassak Diamond and the Noor-ul-Ain.

The Golkonda Fort is listed as an archaeological treasure on the official "List of Monuments" prepared by the Archaeological Survey of India under The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act. Golkonda actually consists of four distinct forts with a 10 km long outer wall with 87 semicircular bastions (some still mounted with cannons), eight gateways, and four drawbridges, with a number of royal apartments and halls, temples, mosques, magazines, stables, etc. inside. The lowest of these is the outermost enclosure into which we enter by the "Fateh Darwaza" (Victory gate, so called after Aurangzeb’s triumphant army marched in through this gate) studded with giant iron spikes (to prevent elephants from battering them down) near the south-eastern corner. At Fateh Darwaza can be experienced a fantastic acoustic effect, characteristic of the engineering marvels at Golkonda. A hand clap at a certain point below the dome at the entrance reverberates and can be heard clearly at the 'Bala Hisar' pavilion, the highest point almost a kilometer away. This worked as a warning note to the royals in case of an attack.

The whole of the Golkonda Fort complex and its surrounding spreads across 11 km of total area, and discovering its every nook is an arduous task. A visit to the fort reveals the architectural beauty in many of the pavilions, gates, entrances and domes. Divided into four district forts, the architectural valour still gleams in each of the apartments, halls, temples, mosques, and even stables. The graceful gardens of the fort may have lost their fragrance, for which they were known 400 years ago, yet a walk in these former gardens should be in your schedule when exploring the past glories of Golkonda Fort.

Bala Hissar Gate is the main entrance to the fort located on the eastern side. It has a pointed arch bordered by rows of scroll work. The spandrels have yalis and decorated roundels. The area above the door has peacocks with ornate tails flanking an ornamental arched niche. The granite block lintel below has sculpted yalis flanking a disc. The design of peacocks and lions is a blend of Hindu – Muslim architecture.

Toli Masjid, situated at Karwan, about 2 km from the Golkonda fort, was built in 1671 by Mir Musa Khan Mahaldar, royal architect of Abdullah Qutb Shah. The facade consists of five arches, each with lotus medallions in the spandrels. The central arch is slightly wider and more ornate. The mosque inside is divided into two halls, a transverse outer hall and an inner hall entered through triple arches.

Much thought went into building this gate. A few feet in front of the gate is a large wall. This prevented elephants and soldiers (during enemy attacks) from having a proper ramp to run and break the gate.

The fort of Golkonda is known for its magical acoustic system. The highest point of the fort is the "Bala Hissar", which is located a kilometer away. The palaces, factories, water supply system and the famous "Rahban" cannon, within the fort are some of the major attractions.

It is believed that there is a secret underground tunnel that leads from the "Durbar Hall" and ends in one of the palaces at the foot of the hill. The fort also contains the tombs of the Qutub Shahi kings. These tombs have Islamic architecture and are located about 1 km north of the outer wall of Golkonda. They are encircled by beautiful gardens and numerous exquisitely carved stones. It is also believed that there was a secret tunnel to Charminar.

The two individual pavilions on the outer side of Golkonda are also major attractions of the fort. It is built on a point which is quite rocky. The "Kala Mandir" is also located in the fort. It can be seen from the king's durbar (king's court) which was on top of the Golkonda Fort.

The other buildings found inside the fort are :

Habshi Kamans (Abyssian arches), Ashlah Khana, Taramati mosque, Ramadas Bandikhana, Camel stable, private chambers (kilwat), Mortuary bath, Nagina bagh, Ramasasa's kotha, Durbar hall, Ambar khana etc.
This majestic structure has beautiful palaces and an ingenious water supply system. Sadly, the unique architecture of the fort is now losing its charm.

The ventilation of the fort is absolutely fabulous having exotic designs. They were so intricately designed that cool breeze could reach the interiors of the fort, providing a respite from the heat of summer.

The Huge gates of the fort are decorated with large pointed iron spikes. These spikes prevented elephants from damaging the fort. The fort of Golkonda is encircled by an 11-km-long outer wall. This was built in order to fortify the fort.