Tuesday, June 12, 2012. Hyderabad, India
Frances drove us to the Golconda Fort, which is the largest in southern India, originally built of mud in the 14th Century, but rebuilt in stone in the 17th Century. Its outer walls, which are still intact, extend for 5 miles.
Today Golconda is mostly ruins of the fortifications and palace complexes, but you can still get some idea of the scope of the place and a hint at how decorative it may have been in its heyday.
About 1Km down the road are the Qutb Shahi Tombs which consist of a series of large, onion domed tombs and their adjacent mosques. There is also a building that was a bath house with hot and cold water where the corpses were prepared for burial.
The structures are mostly in tact, but a bit run down and most of the grounds are not well kept. With a little effort, this place could be stunning. As it is, it is still an interesting place to visit. The buildings are very impressive and in places you can see hints of the colored paint and tile that must have been very attractive when these were in their prime. This is the burial place of a whole line of royalty that ruled this area in the 17th and 18th centuries.
At the largest tomb there was a camera crew and a bunch of people in costume with some thrones set out on the veranda of the tomb. Presumably they were shooting a movie or a TV show. They seemed to have one very fancy camera and instead of powered lighting like we might see on the streets of LA or New York, they were equipped with large reflectors to bounce sunlight onto the set.
One odd thing as we walked through both locales was that lots of locals kept asking to have a picture taken with us. Most of the time we obliged. We were even asked by some of the school kids on the street for a photo. Laura reckoned that they might be doing this so that if they put in a visa application to the States, they can show a picture of their supposed US sponsors along with a fake letter of introduction. I doubt this would be too successful, and maybe this was the primary motivation, but it seemed that some of the people just wanted a photo with a foreign visitor.