Hyderabad, Golconda


Golconda’s massive fortifications and defensive gateways, as well as its decaying palaces, pavilions, stores and barracks give the best possible idea of one of India’s wealthiest and grandest royal cities in the sixteenth–seventeenth centuries. These buildings may be compared with the courtly and civic monuments in Hyderabad, many of them sponsored by the Nizams who ruled this part of India up to the middle of the twentieth century.

This guidebook is the first to showcase the magnificent monuments of the twin cities of Golconda and Hyderabad, the successive capitals of the Qutb Shahi sultans and the Asaf Jahis, the latter usually referred to by their title as the Nizams.

Marika Sardar provides the essential historical background for all these vestiges, together with their religious and cultural context. She then describes the most important monuments of Hyderabad, beginning with the Old City, and then progressing to the different urban zones of the modern city, ending with the club and the churches that still stand in the British cantonment of Secunderabad, to the north. For those with more time and interest, the author also describes the rugged hill citadel of Golconda, now partly engulfed by the rapidly expanding suburbs of one of India’s most vital metropoles. Profusely illustrated with Surendra Kumar’s fine photographs, and handy city maps, the guidebook should prove indispensable to all visitors to Hyderabad.

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Marika Sardar

Marika Sardar studied at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University (NYU), her PhD being on the Qutb Shahi palace of Golconda. Formerly a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Islamic Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, she is co-editor with Navina Haidar of Sultans of the South: Arts of India’s Deccan Courts, 1323-1687 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2011). She is currently Associate Curator of Southern Asian and Islamic Art at the San Diego Museum of Art where her research covers India’s diverse architectural, painting and textile traditions, especially those of the Deccan.