When the Quli Qutb Shahi dynasty was ruling the Deccan region successfully, Aurangazeb had set his eyes on the Golkonda fort. Buoyed by victories over various kingdoms in 1656, Aurangazeb directed his forces to the surrounding areas of Golkonda. Abdullah Qutb Shah, who ruled Golkonda at the time, shut the gates to the fort. Aurangazeb looked for a place to launch a cannon attack on Golconda. When he found an elevated place, he used as a platform to fire at the fort.
Despite persistent attacks from the Mughal army, Golconda stood firm. Aurangzeb realised the Qutb Shahi stronghold was impregnable and returned without any success. The fort walls, however weakened from repeated firing. To strengthen the defences and prevent future attacks, Abdullah Qutb Shah made this elevated platform a part of Golconda by building a wall around it. This part of Golconda was called Naya Qila or the “New Fort”.
The Naya Qila Trail was a part of the Hyderabad Heritage Week celebrations (19-29 Nov 2015) and was organised by HydTrails. Ms Anuradha Reddy, of INTACH lead the walk and explained the various heritage and historic aspects of the site.
The Naya Qila is ahead of the Jamali Darwaza. As we entered the complex amidst the vast expanses of green, to the right side we stopped at a site which had a few smaller structures and some excavations. This is the Naya Qila Talab – a water tank that was situated within the Naya Qila, and constituted part of the irrigation systems connecting the water bodies inside and outside the Naya Qila area. In the past, Abdullah Qutb Shah had used the lakes to create his own pleasure retreat surrounded by orchards. The services of hydraulics experts were used to create cascading pools which gently flowed creating an enchanting garden called Bagh-e-Naya Qila.
A little over half km walk along the road took us to a huge tree, that is said to be over 400 years old! Baobab trees are native to the African continent and this tree was brought by the Arab traders who gifted it to the Abdullah Qutb Shah.
Adjacent to the huge tree stands the Mullah Khiyali Masjid that was built to honour the royal poet of the Qutb Shahi court.
The Naya Qila was designed and constructed by , the royal architect of the Qutb Shahi dynasty – Mustafa Khan; who had also designed and constructed the Makkah Masjid and Toli Masjid.
On our way back we stopped at the Mosque of Mustafa Khan(seen in the images below) which was built in his memory. Devoid of turrets or minarets, the walls were lined with a series of arches both on the inside and outside and space within was filled with serenity and austerity.
An elevated view can perhaps give a better idea of the interiors of the Mustafa Khan mosque.
From the top of the Mustafa Khan mosque one can also see the two canons present atop the Manjun burj.
The panoramic views of the Fort and around can help us understand how how difficult it may have been for builders, given that they did not have the technology or infrastructure that is available to us today. These walls and towers have been witness to wars and rise and fall of dynasties and governments. To some extent, we get a fair idea of how historic events may have unfolded. These make strong cases for one to appreciate and strive to preserve our past..or the future generations may lose out and never have no clue about it.
Personally, before my visit to Naya Qila , I had no idea about the tales and historic structures that stood within these spaces. All I had heard about was the gigantic baobab tree and a mosque that stood beside it. I hope and look forward to a time when these are made available to the general public, since it is a part of our heritage and collective wealth and everyone deserves to at least know about it.
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