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RACHAKONDA FORT

Rachakonda is a 14th century fort located in Telangana. Its history dates back to the 14th century, when it was constructed by Recherla Singama Nayak, the founder of a new clan of kings (previously serving the Kakatiya dynasty rulers as military commanders since the 12th century) and governing the territory of Rachakonda.

The original kings of Rachakonda were chieftains of the Recherla clan and Padmanayaka (Velama) caste who rose to rule over the entire Telangana during the post-Kakatiya and pre-Bahamani period in the Deccan. Due to family quarrels over power, their cousins later ruled over a separate state centered at Devarakonda fort. Rachakonda acted as a buffer State between the Muslim Bahamani kingdom and the Hindu Vijayanagara empire and was subsequently taken over by the Bahamanis in 1433 during the Velama rule. Rachakonda was unique that in spite of its small size and frequent tensions, Telugu literature received major patronage and flourished. Most famous was Sarvajna Singha Bhoopala III of the Recherla clan, the last king of Rachakonda, who patronized both Bammera Pothana and Srinatha - legendary Telugu poets. By Shitab Khan's time in the late 15th century, the Bahmanis had recently acquired this important buffer state on their eastern frontiers. Bammera Pothana's Bhogini Dandakam contains excellent descriptions of Rachakonda fort and city life in its last glory days under Singha Bhoopala III before the Bahmani conquest. Vinukonda Vallabharaya wrote his famous Kridabhiramam in the 15th c describing Warangal city's glory in exquisite detail, but his description probably reflects Rachakonda since Warangal was already damaged by the time of his writing.

From 1480 to 1485, Sitapati Raju titled Shitab Khan was the Bahmani governor of Rachakonda (near Narayanpur in modern Nalgonda district, Telangana). He seems to have taken advantage of the internal turmoils of the Bahmanis and declared his independence in 1503, ruling from the Rachakonda, Warangal and Khammam forts from 1503 to 1512.

In 1498, the last Bahmani governor of Telangana, Qutubul Mulk Dakhani, controlled the territory of Golconda. As the Bahamani empire crumbled, he declared independence and then conquered Rachakonda, Warangal, Khammam, Koilkonda, Kondapalli forts by 1515 and went on to build the edifice of the Qutub Shahi dynasty. Rachakonda the fort, offers a good example of medieval Hindu fort architecture. The construction is of cyclopean masonry, and the whole fort is devoid of the use of mortar.

The gateways to the fort offer good examples that highlight the use of monolith pillars, beams and lintels and is most interesting to the history connoisseur. The fort walls are quite typical with stone cuts and diversified and laid on the side facing the outside with mudslopes on the interior.

The fort structure, as observed, seemed to be functionally useful as a defence bastion in the pre-firearms era as the structure suggests, leading experts to infer that with the induction of fire-arms in the mid 14th century, even as Golconda began to upgrade itself to suit the use of fire-arms, Rachakonda remained indifferent to the changing times and needs. In times to come Rachakonda settled to merely being a Jagir (province) of the Qutub Shahi kings. To understand the history of forts, one needs to realise that various forts in a geographical region had different defence bastions and served different purposes. While some served as frontiers of kingdoms, others merely acted as centres of trade and commerce. These frontiers too kept changing from time to time. and hence no two forts can be compared to each other without understanding the role the served in the right perspective.

Rachakonda forms an ideal case to understand medieval Hindu town planning and architecture. The fort even adheres to Viswakarma's Vasthu Sastra on Hindu fort architecture. One can observe that the fort was structured as upper and lower tiers with the city lying on the south eastern side of the fort, partly sprawling outside the boundary wall.

To reach rachakonda fort from hyderabad - go on nagarjunasagar highway up to ibrahimpatnam (20 km), there take turn to manchala village(7 km), then take a road to tippaiguda(4 km), from there the fort is 2 km only. It is very nearer to hyderabad and must visit place for history lovers.