Golconda is a fortified citadel and ruined city located in the western outskirts of HyderabadTelangana, India. The fort was originally built by Kakatiya ruler Pratāparudra in the 11th century out of mud walls. It was ceded to the Bahmani Kings by Deo Rai, Rajah of Warangal during the reign of Sultan Muhammad Shah (1358–1375 A.D.) of the Bahmani Sultanate. The name Golconda is thought to originate from Telugu for “Cowherd’s Hill.”

The abandoned Golconda Fort, currently in ruins was added to UNESCO’s “tentative list” in 2014 along with other sites in the area. Golconda Fort is listed as an archaeological treasure on the official “List of Monuments” prepared by the Archaeological Survey of India under The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act.[14] Golconda consists of four distinct forts with a 10 km (6.2 mi) long outer wall with 87 semicircular bastions (some still mounted with cannons), eight gateways, and four drawbridges, with a number of royal apartments and halls, temples, mosques, magazines, stables,

Old ruins surrounded by grass and small trees
Golconda Fort in Hyderabad, India.

Golconda used to be known as the ‘Diamond Capital of India,’ given the abundance of diamond mines. Out of the 38 diamond mines in the country, it is estimated that 23 are around Golconda Fort. It was believed that there was a hidden underground tunnel to the diamond mines. The mighty Koh-I-Noor diamond was stored in Golconda. Some of the most sought-after and well-known gems in the world, including Idol’s Eye, the Hope Diamond, Darya-i-noor, and the well-known Koo-i-noor, are known to have come from these mines.

History of Golconda Fort

The Golconda fort was known as ‘Mankal’. According to the data, the Golconda fort was initially a mud fort built by Pratāparudra of the Kakatiya Empire in the 11th century over the belief that a shephard boy who met an idol over the hilltop Golconda means “Cowherd’s Hill” in Telugu. The fort, built on a stone hilltop, was believed to defend the western region of the kingdom. Golconda was fortified and ruled by the Bahmani Sultans and then the ruling Qutub Shahi dynasty between the 14th and 17th centuries.

During the Bahamani Sultanate, Golconda slowly rose to prominence, and later in the early 17th century, Golconda established a prominent cotton-weaving industry. Cotton was manufactured in large quantities for both home and international use. Made from muslin and calico, a fine plain or patterned textile was created. There were two colours of plain cloth: white and brown, both bleached and dyed. These fabrics were exported to Europe and Persia. The prints used to create patterned textiles were created using natural dyes: indigo for blue, chay-root for red, and vegetable yellow. Exports of patterned textiles were mostly to Indonesia, Malaysia, and other eastern nations.

It was the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb who captured the final Golconda king, Abul Hassan Tana Shah, and forced the fort to collapse after an eight-month siege. The fort finally collapsed in 1687.

Geography at Golconda Fort

Golconda is made up of four separate forts with an outer wall that is 10 km (6.2 mi) long and has 87 semicircular bastions (some of which are still equipped with cannons), eight entrances, four drawbridges, and several royal chambers and apartments, as well as temples, mosques, depots, stables, and other structures inside.

The lowest wall is by “Fateh Darwaza” (known as the Victory Gate after Aurangzeb’s triumphant troop that entered the pathway). The walls are studded with enormous iron spikes to keep elephants from smashing them down.

Tales of Golconda

The story of the Koh-i-Noor travels from the Rajahs of Malwa, which subsequently went through the hands of several Indian kings, including the Mughal emperors, before being acquired by the British. The diamond was supposed to be so strong that owning it brought misfortune to its possessor and that it could topple entire kingdoms. There were rumours that the diamond was cursed and had the following inscription:

“He who owns this diamond will own the world, but he will also know all its misfortunes. Only God, or a woman, can wear it with impunity.”

Rumour has it that the fort is haunted by the king’s paramour. On the stage that was once hers, her ghost has been dancing. Even though there is no historical evidence to back up the stories of these curses, it is significant to remember that many of the owners of these diamonds were also prominent figures.

Things to do at Golconda

The visiting times at Golconda are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Fateh Darwazaan (acoustic property): The ‘Bala Hisar’ pavilion, which is the highest point over a kilometre distant, is the place where one can clearly hear the reverberating handclap that occurs at a certain location beneath the dome at the entrance of ‘Fateh Darwazaan’’. This served as a warning in the event of an assault.

Water and ventilation systems: The fort’s water supply system has been cleverly constructed. Above-ground tanks hold varying volumes of water that are elevated by Persian wheels. The collected water is then employed by gravity to transport it throughout the citadel’s structure of stone aqueducts and earthen pipes to other mahals, other apartments, roof gardens, and fountains.

City view: The eight entrances lead to a fortress complex exquisitely designed with lush, green gardens set against the striking brown of the citadel walls. Witness the symmetry of the temples, troop barracks, royal apartments, stables, and courts. The twin cities of Secunderabad and Hyderabad, the Kala Mandir arbores of Premamathi Nritya Mandir and Taramathi Gana Mandir, and the thousand-step stairway up to the durbar hall are also visible from above.

Light and sound show: Every evening, a captivating light and sound display that portrays this magnificent fort’s illustrious past is presented to help you understand more about its history.

Nearby attractions include:

Walk through the famous ‘Charminar’

Tour at ‘Chowmahalla Palace’

Birla Mandir

The Great Wall Of India

Towards the westerly range of Aravalli Hills in the Rajsamand district of the Western State of India, Rajasthan is located the Great Wall of India, known as Kumbhalgarh (or Kumbhal Fort). Built in the 15th century by Rana Kumbha, it is now a World Heritage Site.

The history of this Mewar fortress

It is thought that in the sixth century, King Samprati, the great-grandson of Mauryan Emperor Ashoka, constructed the first fort. It was not extensively documented until the invasion of Kumbhalgarh by Allauddin Khliji in 1303 AD.

The Kumbhalgarh Fort was built by Rana Kumbha, the Rajput clan of Sisodia. After conquering the entire Godwar plain from the Chauhan Rajputs of Nadols in the late 14th century, Rana Khumba built the new fort on top of the local small fort. The new fort, Kumbhalgarh, was built by the king of Mewar, Rana Khumba, and mainly separated the two clans of Mewar and Marwar. The fort was mainly used as a refuge for the rulers of Mewar.

The Great Wall Of India (FB)
Picture: FB

The famous architect of the time, “Mandan,” was called in by the Rana of Mewar for this special task. Mewar, the kingdom of Rana Kumbha, covered vast swathes of both Rajasthan and the former Madhya Pradesh, extending from Ranthambore in Rajasthan to Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh. Rana Kumbha is credited with building 32 of the province’s 84 forts, the greatest of which is Kumbhalgarh. Direct assaults were still impossible against the fort.

According to the documents, in 1576 Shahbaz Khan, between 1458 and 1467 Mahmud Khalji, in 1457 Ahmed Shah 1 of Gujarat, and in 1303 Allauddin Khalji, all attempted to invade the fort. All the attempts at invasion failed, and the fort also came to be known as the impregnable fort.

The inside of the palace is a perfect depiction of Rajputs in history. It is said that the two-story building features an amazing blue durbar hall. The men-only “Mardan” palace and the women-only “Sanana” palace are divided by a hallway. The “Sanana Palace is home to several stunning murals of crocodiles, camels, and elephants.

Geography of the Kumbhal Fort

The fort is built 3,600 feet above sea level on a hilltop over the Aravallli range. The fort is counted as the world’s second-longest wall, with a length of 36 km and a width of 15 m.The rampart is considered broad enough to walk eight horses side by side.

Tales of Kumbhal Fort

During the initial stage of the fort, Rana Khumba faced many obstacles, for which a sage named ‘Baid Baba’ advised the difficulty would be removed if a pure-hearted man came forward and sacrificed his life. Seeing that no one was willing to save the king, the sage himself came forward and gave his life with one request for a gateway to the fort for religious rituals. According to the sources, King Kumbha built a grand entrance named ‘HanumanPol’, which is believed to be built on the spot where the sage’s head fell after he was beheaded.

During 1457, when Gujarat’s Ahmed Shah 1 launched a vain attempt to capture the fort, there was local belief that the Banmata deity protected the Mewars from invasion. The temple was destroyed because of this.

Another story is that the enemy bought off a young florist. She had left flower petals to indicate the way along the hidden pathway. The girl was bricked alive into the exterior wall after the plot was thwarted. A fitting penalty that would have discouraged other betrayers! The wall appears to be the location of the woman’s execution because there is a little, white-painted outline of the woman there.

Things to see in Kumbhal Fort

Kumbhalgarh Fort

It is said that the Kumbhalgarh fort existed for centuries. The fort is spread over an area of 36 km with extending walls. Approximately, there are about 360 Jain and Hindu temples within the fort. A few of them are Neelkanth Mahadeo Temple, Bada Mahal, Parshuram Temple, Mammadev Temple, Muchchal Mahavir Temple, and Vedi Temple. The gates around the fort are locally called “pol”. Entry to the inner bastions is possible through Arret Pol, Halla Pol, and Hanuman Pol from the southern directions. The purpose of the walls’ varying colours is to display light. The inside walls are whiter and more glossy. You will see Bhairav Pol, Chaugan Pol, Nimboo Pol, and Phagra Pol farther up; each has a distinct significance. Observe that as you ascend, they get smaller, and beyond a certain point, neither horses nor elephants can get through.

There is a light and sound show for 45 minutes every evening at 6.45 p.m.The ticket charge for the show is Rs 75.

Neelkanth Mahadeo Temple

This temple, which honours Lord Shiva, is home to a six-foot-tall stone Shivlinga. Legend has it that Rana Kumbha used to often worship the goddess in this temple. The king used to sit on the temple floor to say prayers since he was so tall.

The pious king was slain by his own son while praying to the Lord in the same temple.

Badal Mahal (Palace of Clouds)

This two-story structure, known as the Mardana Mahal (for men) and the Zanana Mahal (for women), is perched atop Kumbhalgarh Fort. Pastel-coloured murals from the 19th century adorn the chambers.

The queens could witness court proceedings and other events in private because of Zanana Mahal’s stone mesh. The purpose of the rooms’ network of ducts and mesh was to draw in cold air and ventilate the interiors. The traditional method of creating “air conditioning”

The road trip, Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, and Sand Dunes

The road from Udaipur to Kumbhalgarh takes you across the ‘Kathaar River’ and ‘Bageri Ka Naka’ dams, both renowned for their scenery. And the other one is ‘Hameri Pal,’ a lake known for its calm nature with fewer crowds. It is also known for the ‘Giant African Catfish.’

The Kumbhalgarh sanctuary is home to various wild animals like chinkara, leopard, sloth bear, antelope, jackal, sambhar, nilgai, and hyena. You can also spot various species of birds.

When you reach the summit of Kumbhalgarh Fort, you can see the stunning Aravali Hills for miles in all directions. In fine weather, you can even see the Marwar and the Thar desert dunes.

The giant lamp is used for light

According to legend, Maharana Kumbha would burn enormous lamps with 50 kg of “ghee” and 100 kg of cotton to keep farmers working in their fields at night. The lamps used to shine for miles because of how brilliant they were.

Reading – The Gateway To Our Own Minds

Reading is the art of listening to words. It is listening to words written on paper, a mobile screen, boards, or sounds while speaking. Decoding each word creates its own world to explore and experience. People have different opinions on the topic of reading. Each individual perceives it to be different from one another. For some, it is a gateway to imagination and creativity; for others, it is a form of escapism; for others, it is a means for developing a skill, while for a few, it is a space for introspection and growth. The words on the page come to life as we visualize the characters, settings, and events described by the author.

Here are some stories from strangers about their experience with reading:

“Reading for me is formally for the purpose of education and language,” said one person. Reading is a forced experience in life, where one is forced to read to understand topics and learn. It is a must-do for the purpose of education. but moving forward, the word reading took a different shape of its own in different minds.”

“Reading fantasy gives me a lot to imagine, a lot more to think on, and a lot more to vent my energy on,” said Amit, another colleague, whom I interviewed for this story. Fantasy was the genre that was preferred by most people during the course of interviews.

Picture : TheUNN

The opportunity to think beyond the boundaries of the present world and to imagine a world with magic, chants, and spells has its own unimaginable pleasure for the minds of readers. At a young age, Amit started his reading journey with J.K. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter,’ which later moved on to Rick Riordan’s ‘Percy Jackson.’

Amit shared about how much of an obsessive reader he was of Harry Potter. The set of books he would never let go of, even in the midst of exams and work.

Rose talked about Leigh Bardugo’s ‘Six of Crows and Sarah J. Mass’s ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses.’ The feeling of transportation to different realms, immersed in rich, vivid imagery ignites the worlds of imagination. This is how she explained reading a book about an unknown world.

Young adult stories, which are later adapted into movies, are the next thing on the list that people prefer. John Green’s ‘The Fault in Our Stars,’ Stephen Chbosky’s ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower,’ Jennifer Niven’s ‘All the Bright Places,’ and Five Feet Apart’ have topped the list.

When asked as to what they preferred, the movie or the book, most of them picked the movie, while a few chose the book. But the intriguing part of the question was formed when one replied, “I prefer both movies and the book; often I prefer to read the book first, then watch the movie, and later revisit the book again with the revealed images of the characters.”

Sometimes getting a face to imagine and relate the story gives way to incredible fan art.

There are many different reading genres that one can explore and enjoy. A few examples are non-fiction, literary fiction, mystery or thriller, romance, science fiction, historical fiction, young adult, contemporary fiction, horror, biographies, and autobiographies.

To conclude, one can safely say that reading is a form of art that profoundly affects people’s brains, hearts, and souls. It is seen as a skill that many people nurture and celebrate, adding worth and enhancing one’s own life and the one’s world of imagination.

Why Are People Depressed?

Depression is defined by the American Psychological Association as intense melancholy or despair that lasts longer than days. It disrupts daily activities and may result in physical symptoms including discomfort, weight gain or loss, irregular sleeping patterns, or a lack of vitality.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 264 million people are affected by depression, making it the biggest cause of disorder globally. Psychologists polled for the 2020 APA study claim that more people have come out to ask for professional advice and assistance over the course of the pandemic. Even while being acknowledged by many, this disorder is still stigmatized highly and is often misunderstood for being lazy or inactive in certain activities.

The myths associated with depression are also something to look out for. “It’s unimportant,” “simply snap out of it,” sadness just affects women, “talking or thinking about the same would only make the problem worse,” and “all emotions related with sad circumstances are part of being depressed.” Just as we see there are lot of misconceptions and misleading facts about the same. People need to do a lot of study and understand the topic of concern before labeling something on themselves and each other.

Regardless of age, gender, or social situation, anyone can develop depression. Several aspects, including as heredity, trauma, persistent stress, and drug usage, might also be involved. The symptoms associated with it could be mixed feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthiness, and the difficulty to perform everyday activities, lose of interest in activities once enjoyed, changes in appetite and sleep pattern, and thoughts in suicide.

The first step towards any healing is to ask for help, and then proceeding towards taking on the treatments, like therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes from exercises, healthy eating habits to stress reduction techniques. It is also advised to seek professional help.

Substance Abuse Affects All Aspects Of Your Life

Marijuana, cocaine, LSD, sedatives, opioids, heroin, and nicotine vaping—the increased use of these substances is seen to be on the rise. A continuous and addictive pattern of using dangerous substances for mood-altering objectives is known as substance abuse. The repeated usage of harmful substances without the prescription or advice of an educated person could eventually show significant health-related failures; the person could fail to meet responsibilities regarding their physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being.

Picture : Exis Recovery

The addiction to alcohol and drug intake could lead the person to develop mental health related issues and later put the individual at risk of suicidal ideations. Some immediate behavioural changes include recklessness, violence, and aggression. Long-term users may exhibit withdrawal from commitments and the public, isolation, depression, deteriorating behavior, weight loss, and decreased appetites. The following are some facts about substance abuse and suicidal ideation:

  • Heavy drinkers are five times more likely to die by suicide than casual social drinkers.
  • 1 in 5 suicides involves someone who was intoxicated at the time.
  • Several suicides involve the use of drugs like marijuana, cocaine, or amphetamines.

According to a few studies, the frontal lobe does not fully develop until a person is in their mid-20s, which explains why young individuals have a propensity for making rash decisions on drug and alcohol intake. Other factors for the development of addiction in young adults could be associated with the curiosity that comes with age, social media toxicity, the need for adventure, experimentation, and peer pressure.

Cocaine, or the coca alkaloid obtained from the plant Erythroxylum coca, commonly known as coke or crack, acts as a neurotransmitter dopamine. It produces a stimulating effect in the human brain, which, as a result, gives out a sense of euphoria and increased energy for the users. The excessive intake of the same could cause hallucinogenic thoughts and effects in the individual. The certain effects of euphoria and a temporary feeling of happiness after the intake of the drug are what lead an individual down the road of addiction.

The first step towards prevention and control in substance abuse-related situations is to identify them. Identify, and look out for one another. Observe and communicate with the individual. The next step is to educate yourself and seek help. A number of organisations are putting in a great effort to support and help individuals struggling with addictions seek out professional and medical help. Creating awareness and providing support could also be used as measures.

Social Media’s Impact On Human Mind

Social media is a curated virtual platform that helps people connect and network with each other across the world. But what kind of influence and pressure do these platforms put on individuals? How does this influence an individual’s mental health?

It is seen that the constant use of social media platforms often leads individuals to experience feelings of inadequacy, dissatisfaction, isolation, and loneliness. These emotions could worsen into states of depression, anxiety, and stress. Anxiety is the mental health concern most associated with social media. The major concerns associated with social media-related anxiety are the feeling of missing out on popular topics, and social interactions, and the negative comments associated with them. The desire for acceptance and validation from peer groups, along with the constant comparison, contributes to the development of anxiety-related concerns.

The heavy use of social media can also impact the cognitive functioning of the human brain. It shortens the attention span and makes the individual less receptive to distractions. It may also influence and shape a person’s behavior and personality based on interactions and usage on these platforms.

A research study published in September by the American Economic Review found a link between the Facebook app and anxiety and depression-related health concerns. The research was supported by survey data collected from college students across campuses in the U.S. The study was useful in demonstrating that the more time a person spends on an online platform, the more unhappy he tends to become.

Celebrities, models, and other personalities have also addressed the public in general to spread awareness about the negative effects of social media. The pop star Selena Gomez has launched an online platform to help and educate people about mental health. “I really, really want people to be understood, seen, and heard. It’s okay to not be okay,” she shared during one of her conversations. Kendal Jenner, during one of her interviews with Vogue for the series Open Minded, shared her experience with social media. “I find that the more I’m looking at the screen, the more detached I feel from my own body or from what’s happening right in front of me.” “My relationship with social media is a bit addictive right now, which I don’t like, and I’m not proud to say that, but I also feel like that’s something that probably most of us can relate to.”

Limiting your personal exposure to social media in a planned manner can be beneficial if it makes you feel more worried. Giving oneself a specific amount of time to spend on social media or allowing oneself a period of time at the end of the day to do so are two other examples that could be used to lessen the effects of social media.

Youth Seek Justice for Students Across the Nation

During the film festival, ‘Aane Matthu Iruve: Story of a Republic Day,’ organized by the Bangalore Film Society in collaboration with Pedestrian Pictures, Rushes Film Club – St Joseph’s University, and Gamana Women’s Collective, a panel discussion was held on the theme, ‘Youth’ on 20th October in the context of the short film ‘A Night of Knowing Nothing.’

The panel discussions revolved around the theme, ‘Current state of students in our country’ in the context of attacks against students at the Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Millia University in New Delhi, and voicing support for students’ rights and the responsibility of the state towards students.

The panel was moderated by Aravind Nair, and panel members consisted of Shalom Gauri, a writer, Ashwini Bodhi, Youth Mentor, Devashree Nath, Filmmaker and Manu.

Panel member, Shalom Gauri said, “The revolution of activism that we saw in 2015, 2016, and the years followed have transformed students and the campuses in the year 2022. For the long term impact of these events, there is a need for long-term perspectives.”

“Activism is something that I found myself protesting on the street for the rights,” Ashwini Bodhi said. “The film ‘A Night of Knowing Nothing’ is a perfect composition of love and art, articulated together with the concept of humanity.”

Filmmaker Devashree Nath shared her experiences with the protest. “The protest began with a spark, but later on, it went totally out of control and left us helpless.” In the context of the protest being held, she raised a question about the impact of protests on one’s family and loved ones, “What about their family, parents, and loved ones back at home? What they are put to suffer should also be considered.”

The event ‘Aane Matthu Iruve: Story Of A Republic,’ which means, “The Elephant and The Ant: Story Of A Republic” Film Festival was organized from 19th-21st of October by the Bangalore Film Society in the capital city of the state of Karnataka.

Protesters Rally for Justice to Bilkis, Justice from Lawlessness

A protest rally was held against the release of the 11 rape convicts in the Bilkis Bano case from life sentence at the Freedom Park, Bengaluru on 27th August, 2022.

The culprits were sentenced to life imprisonment after the Courts found them guilty of gang-raping Bilkis Bano, a young mother at the time, during the communal riots that had killed thousands of innocent people across the Indian state of Gujarat. The 11 men were also held responsible for killing her six-year-old daughter, reportedly “smashing” the girl to the ground, and hacking to death several members of Bano’s family.

The 11 persons convicted in the 2002 Bilkis Bano rape case walked out of the Godhra sub-jail under the Gujarat government’s remission policy. According to reports, senior state officials told news agencies that they were considered for release from life imprisonment as the convicts had completed 14 years in prison, which is the term given for a life sentence.

Similar protests were held across the state of Karnataka with the objective of raising awareness and seeking justice to the victims. Protesters used posters, Placards, and banners stating “Justice for Bilkis,” “Karnataka stands with Bilkis.” The rallyists also raised slogans, such as “Justice from rape: Justice from lawlessness” expressing their condemnation of setting free the convicted rapists and murderers.

A student protester from St Joseph’s University, Bangalore, Riya said, “There’s no gender or caste or religion for rapists or for someone getting raped. Political support being given to these rapists are illegal.”

K S Vimala, a member of the All India Democratic Women’s Association, (AIDWA) expressed her opposition to the government for letting these convicts go free by asking, “Why are the rapists welcomed back as war heroes” Why is the government releasing them from prison?”

The protesters raised their concerns about the safety and well-being of women in society, where rapists are treated as celebrities and declared innocent.

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