Beyond biriyani, Karachi biscuits and various other nizami cuisine the city has a lot more to say. I had always wanted to become a lone traveller. End of the tryst for quite a few years I succeeded in visiting the Golconda Fort this Sunday.
I happened to visit the city for a short professional trip. Being a Quality Analyst in a growing Start up, food industry is my arena. I happen to visit various kitchens and give quite a lot of wisdom for which my company pays me. Now let not get into more details of what I do generally. Let's talk more of what I did this Sunday.
Tales at Golconda Fort:
Visiting Hyderabad for the first time, I ended up booking a cab who dropped me at the Golconda Fort entrance. Before that, he had asked me to get down at the first entrance of the Golconda fort premises. The reason when enquired he said the entrance gate is too small. And eventually on the way we faced traffic. After jostling for fifteen minutes or so, cab driver dropped me.
Now first note is, Foreigners-200, Indians- 15. Felt privileged being Indian. Perhaps at this archaeological heritage I wont face any new rule for entry. Now putting hands into my pocket I pulled out 100 rupees note and a 10 rupees. The national crisis of currency is doing rampant. To curb black money 500 & 1000 are out of stock. What about 5 rupees coin. The entry ticket cost me 20 due to lack of coins.
After the entrance met a middle aged man. Now this is another funny man of India who claimed himself to be guide. "Madam ji diwaron ki kaan hain iss Killein mein" ( Madam, this fort has ears in its walls) I got little convinced. In his next sentence he won me over, "madam ji itihas, kissen iss khandar mein hain, agar itihas aur kissen na jaan payi toh iss khandar ka kya hoga"... I checked how much can I pay him. At the entrance of the Fort entry a number of guides are standing. The middle aged man who caught me was one of the sales commanders who hunted upon me. Asked from me Rs.750 for the whole Fort demonstration. I can't afford, I felt. Then came Ashfaq Miya. He said only one word, "paise aap ke pass hain, kissa mere pass, agar aap ko achha laga toh dam dijiye ga... warna Banda khud nahi mange ga kuch" (money is with you, story is with me, if you like it pay me, or else I wont ask you for money) What a marketing strategy I wondered. Money is power.
Coming down to story, Ashfaq Miya started... this is the entrance. The strategic entrance has guards, the hole in the wall was used to drop hot oil if anyone wanted to break in.
Entry point is very fascinating, Ashfaq Miya took me to the middle of the arch. Started clapping. To my bewilderment, echos. Such echos I never heard. Ashfaq elaborated, how the codes of sounds used to keep the security of the Fort. I felt only one thing, physics is such an old subject. Unless someone understand how things happen, till then it's all magic to the commoners, method to the operators, and astonishment to a visitor.
|This is the load which a soldier at the Sultan's army had to lift. it weighs 250Kg, if they can weigh it they enter the regime. I am not one of them.|
We went ahead, the entry of the Fort was so fascinating. The entrance is made in such a way that the visitors enter bowing down to the majestic guards of the Fort. Names and dates did not fascinate me much but the story of Bhagwati and the tale of the fake door. The Fake door on the fort is a camouflage for invaders who eyes to reach to the Queens. They reach upto the door and never returns. There used to be a deep hole (dal dal) where people used to fall and die.
Bhagawati used to be a common farmer's daughter. She used to be beautiful and the prince fell in love with her. The Sultan came to know, and asked him to choose among any one. Either the inheritance of the royalty or the girl. Prince chose his love. He left the royal riches and went to live along with his love. After realizing the sacrifices of the prince one day Bhagawati got converted to Islam. This news reached the Sultan and he brought the couple home back. This Bhagawati, later came to be know as Hyderi Begum, and thus the name Hyderabad. (The Story and the storyteller, both were so fascinating that I kept listening to him)
Walls do have Ears:
After reaching to the Queens mahal, Ashfaq made me stand at one corner of the room and then he went to the other corner. And suddenly, "madam ji, Rani log jab baat karni thi raja ko sab sunai parti thi. Raja ka kamra upar mein hi tha" (Madam, when the queens used to talk among them selves the sultan could hear from the room above)... felt so weird about the Sultan. These females were always heard. There were no secrets to be kept hidden from the Sultan. They were also a part of his royal property.
The Great Ramdas prison:
This prison is a totally blocked room where Ramdas the collector was imprisoned. Ramdas was the tax collector of the Sultan. So, one day he went to the villages, collected taxes, and on the way back he met village people. It was plague that time. Several people died of the epidemic. The goddess of epidemic came in vision of one Hindu pandit and asked him to make a temple. But there was no money. So, they approached collector Ramdas. Ramdas being a Hindu got convinced. He asked he villagers to keep it secret. But after some time when the temple was already made Sultan came to know about it. On further enquiry it was discovered that Ramdas had given money from the same. He was captured and imprisoned. Twelve long years of improvement in a dark room. One night Sultan got a dream of Goddess of Epidemic. She asked Sultan to scot Ramdas free.
After all these fascinating stories and his handsome smile. I realised, this broken architecture has some much life in them still. Hundreds of people visit this place. Such a good market, money is flying in air.
A guide is not just a story teller, but an actor, a joker, and a great sales man. Ashfaq Miya sold me moments, imageries and it costs me not less than 500INR.
When the dead ruins rise,
A misty mystic phantom grow,
It dances, it sings, it cries,
Aloft in the listeners eyebrow...
Eyebrow rises, contracts, and awe.
Its not story, its alive what I saw.
(Click Here) To see Golconda Fort Photographs.