I have always been intrigued by forts. Ever since I was a little girl I have been enamored by their ruined grandeur, lost glory and the sense of Mystery. So when I got a chance to visit the Golconda Fort in Hyderabad, I was overjoyed. I had seen numerous pictures of this 13th century fort but it had not prepared me for its spell bounding magnificence.
I stood frozen for sometime in the awning gateway holding my father’s hand tightly. In the 11 yrs of my life I had never seen anything as big or grand. The Fateh Darwaza, through which we entered were studded with menacing iron spikes and huge pillars. The interior of the fort was beyond amazing with huge beautiful gardens, gateways, drawbridges, with a number of royal apartments & gigantic halls, temples, mosques, stables, morgues etc. Everything looked imposing, yet entrancing.
Walking along, I soon got over my initial trepidation and became immersed in my magnificent surroundings.
I could almost picture the ancient life, the huge city that thrived here. I tried to picture the people who lived here hundreds of years back, the hustle and bustle, the horses and carts, the soldiers and every other thing my over imaginative mind could think of.
We climbed many stone steps and reached another pavilion. This place too had huge arches and gateways and several small bastions. “This is the Rani Mahal (Queen’s chamber),” the guide informed us. It was beautiful. Sprawling gardens which obviously was a thing of aesthetic beauty some 600-700 years ago, huge bathing areas, royal apartments, porches, mosques- I could almost feel the history come to life. I could almost see the apparitions of the women who had lived here, hear their giggles and the sound of anklets, smell the attar (perfume).
In my trance like state I did not realize I had let go of my father’s hand. I began walking around boldly on my own, checking things out. My father kept telling me to stay close to them but I was in the mood for exploration. When guide was showing my parents some ancient engineering marvel, I took the opportunity and slipped out to explore.
I ran towards what looked like a stone pool feeling very brave. The place was indeed beautiful. I had heard that queens bathed in milk and roses and this place looked perfect for a grandiose thing as that.
I decided to bring my parents here and show them what I had discovered. But when I tried to go back I could not remember the way I had come from. Everything looked the same. The ruins that had looked so beautiful few minutes ago, seemed desolate and bleak. Close to tears I rushed to the nearest hall looking for some clue. The hall had the most horrid dank smell I had ever come across. It was sunny outside but the place was chilly and dark, the black walls loomed and front of me like some dark demon. I tried to go out in the open but I was not sure of directions anymore. I tried to shout but no sound came out, my throat felt like it was stuffed with cotton. I could hear the bats somewhere up in the ceiling but I did not dare look up. All sorts of morbid thoughts started coming to me. I thought I would die here and no one will know. I thought I could hear strange sounds around me and all the horror movies I had seen, started coming back to me. I remember praying that if I get to see my dad again I will never ask for anything else ever again. I don’t know how long I had stayed there, it could be minutes or it could have been hours. I just remember crying hysterically when I heard loud voices. I was so scared that I did not even realize that it was my name that was being called. I cowered further against the wall trying to evade my worst fears. Suddenly a pair to hands caught hold of me. I screamed and tried to push away whoever was holding me when I heard my father’s voice. When I looked up I saw the reflection of my own state of mind on his face. He held me tightly and picked me up, my mom was also there looking scared out of her senses. I cried and held on to them promising again and again I will never disobey them again.
PS: Image Credit: famousplacesinindia.in