The Great Citadel of the Deccan

Sam Dalrymple

A short distance to the east of Hyderabad lie the ruins of one of the greatest forts in Indian history: Golconda.

The fort was first established as a small mudbrick stronghold by the Kakatiya Kings of Warangal, but under the Bahmani Sultans and the the Qutb Shahi Kings, it gradually expanded into the most legendary citadel in the Deccan.

Until the 1700s, the Qutb Shahi kingdom was the only known source of diamonds, and the Kohinoor, Darianoor, Orlov, Jacob and Nizam diamonds were all stored here at various points.

Indeed, by the 19th century, ‘Golconda’ had become a byword for wealth as far west as Europe, even though the fort itself had been mostly destroyed by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1687.

Today, it’s on the Tentative UNESCO World Heritage Site List, but its acceptance on the list is pending the removal of vast modern encroachments on the fort.

To learn more and visit this monument and other sites in this Hyderabad series, check out the Deccan Heritage Foundation’s guide on Hyderabad and Golconda at

The Deccan Heritage Foundation x Sam Dalrymple – A series that uncovers the history of Hyderabad through the eyes of Historian Sam Dalrymple. This article originally appeared on the Deccan Heritage Foundation Instagram page.

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