Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Golconda Fort Makes My Nerd Heart Happy

Of all the places I visited in Hyderabad this weekend, Golconda Fort was the favorite.

Don't get me wrong -- I loved the pearl markets and the shops outside Charminar, the musical clock at the Salar Jung Museum, the brilliantly lit spectacle of Lakshmi Bazaar at night, and the lassi stand where I tasted... oh, I won't bother, it' s indescribable. ^__^

But I think I loved Golconda Fort the best.

At Golconda Fort, I got to go exploring. Ignoring the advances of the men at the entrance calling out "Madam, guide?" I took off up the path myself. (In case you haven't been there, this is perfectly safe. The fort is completely walled, etc. The only danger might be tripping and falling down the 380 steps to the top.)

What I loved about the fort was its complexity. Paths branching and curving, maze-like, leading to lakes or gardens or ice-cream-wallahs; rooms opening into other rooms which opened into courtyards. From the outside, the fort looks imposing but monolithic; only when entering did I realize how vast and concentric it was.

There was no one path to the top. I had to make choices and evaluate possibilities. Each level contained innumerable nooks and crannies to peek into. Every time I turned a corner, I saw something unexpected.

And then, halfway up, I thought "this is like being inside a video game." Exploring, negotiating pathways, discovering secret rooms. All I needed was a sword and a fire-resistant amulet.

When I finally got to the summit, I looked down -- and realized that the fort layout was identical to the overworld map in The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past.

The fort is set up the same way. Buildings set within a sandy area in the southwest section, green meadows in the southeast section, the town proper at mid-level with the sultan's home directly above, watery areas in the northeast area, and rocks at top leading to a summit.

It made my nerd heart happy.

Editor's Note: Sorry the map is not in color. She tried to get a color one to load, but it was taking much much much too long, and she's got a class to prep for. Um... she means "a class for which to prep." Nerd, remember. ^__^

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