Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tughluqabad (1323 A.D.) - The Legacy of Delhi Vol 5

(In this edition of Delhi-iteful Tuesdays I am bringing to you the fifth part of this historical series The Legacy of Delhi.) 

The city of Tughluqabad was the fourth city of Delhi. Emperor Ghiyath ud Din Tughluq (also known as Ghazi Malik) (cor. 1320-25) built this fortified city which had battered walls of grey rubble and was perched upon a desolate hill from where its position gave it a natural advantage against opposing armies. The city of Tughluqabad was raised as a military stronghold rather than an architectural marvel. The large size and the visible solidity and strength give this fort an air of stern and massive grandeur.

Physical Map of Delhi depicting the location of Tughluqabad

Legend -
                  Ghiyath ud din Tughluq (better known as General Ghazi Malik, during the rule of Khilji dynasty) was a vassal of the Khilji rulers of Delhi, India. Once while on a walk with his Khilji master Ala ud din Khilji, a lady who was passing by suggested that the king build a fort on a hillock in the southern portion of Delhi. The king jokingly told Ghazi Malik (Ghiyath ud din Tughluq) to build the fort himself when he was the king.

 The causeway leading to the South Gate (the current entrance to the fort)

The region of the city which housed the palaces

History -
                  Ghiyath ud din Tughlaq (Ghazi Malik) (1320-25) after ascending the throne selected this site as his capital for strategic reasons. He himself had fought large Mongol armies and warded off Mongol invasions and so, was aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Keeping this in mind he got constructed, during A.D. 1321-23, a massive fort for his capital city which stood high on a scarred outcrop of a rocky hill.

A view of the wall and the bastions from the top of the battlements

These high walls in this section of the city enclosed the 'Citadel'

Architecture -
                             The fort is is roughly octagonal in plan. The fortifications are 6.5 kms long and the 10 to 15 meters high rubble-built walls are provided with bastions and gates at intervals. The rampart walls are pierced with loop holes and are crowned with a line of rude battlements of solid stone which are also provided with loop holes. Presently the fort has thirteen gates (out of the 52 which were said to be there when it was built) and there are three inner gates to the citadel.

A bastion of the fort wall, as visible from the outside

The site map of Tughluqabad shown at the entrance to the fort.

Tughlaqabad was chiefly divided into three portions(See the site map above). To the east , a rectangular area with high walls and bastions served as the citadel. A wider area immediately to its west similarly bounded by rubble walls and bastions, housed the palaces. Beyond this to the north lay the city. The houses of the city are in ruins but some streets of that city are traceable even now. They ran in a grid pattern from gates on one side to those on the opposite side. Inside the citadel-enclosure is a tower known as Vijay Mandal (Victory Tower) and remains of several halls including a long underground passage. The fort also contained seven tanks amidst ruins of several large buildings. To the south of the fort outside was a large reservoir created by erecting bunds between hills.

A causeway connects the fort to the tomb of Ghiyath ud din Tughluq while a wide embankment near its south eastern corner gave access to the fortress of Adilabad. Ghiyath ud din also built a road (now known as Mehrauli Badarpur Road) which connected the new city to the Grand Trunk Road.

 The Adilabad fort (built by Ghiyath ud din's son Muhammad ) as seen from the battlements of the Tughluqabad fort

The Curse -
                         Ghiyath ud din Tughluq, who was genarally perceived as a liberal ruler, was very passionate about building this city of his, because of which, he gave a decree according to which all the labourers in Delhi had to come to work for the construction of the city. As a result the baoli(well) which was being constructed  by revered saint Hazrat Nizam ud din Auliya got stopped mid-way. The confrontation raised tensions to such a level that the saint uttered a curse saying that the city which was being built would 'either become barren or only remain occupied by herdsmen'.

Decline -
                  The son and successor of Ghiyath ud din, Muhammad bin Tughluq decided to shift the capital out of Tughluqabad to Daulatabad in Central India for he felt that he would be able to rule better from there. There was also said to be a problem of water shortage which contributed to his decision of shifting out the capital out of Tughluqabad.

People might have moved out of the fort and the place might have lost its status as a capital city but it's massive walls stand as a testament to the dream of Ghiyath ud din Tughluq (who took the advice of a common passerby seriously and built this city) and the efficiency of their architects in constructing an impenetrable fort. This city also stands testament to the curse of Hazrat Nizam ud din Auliya who cursed that this city would be abandoned (which ultimately did happen).

Important Tourist Information -

Fact - File

Name of the Destination
Tughluqabad (4th city of Delhi)
Constructed By
Emperor Ghiyath ud din Tughluq (also known as Ghazi Malik) of the Tughluq Dynasty
Completed by
1323 A.D.
On the Mehrauli Badarpur Road, New Delhi
How to Reach
The fort is approximately 6 kms/3.72 miles from 'Tughluqabad' Metro Rail Station (on its Violet Line). Take an auto from there. The correct Auto Fare is Rs 45 to 51 (depending on the route you take) as per the government issued fare chart.
Entrance Fee
. For the Citizens of India and visitors from Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives, Afghanistan, Thailand and Myanmar - Rs. 5 per head
. Visitors from other countries -
US $ 2 or Indian Rs. 100/- per head
. (Free entry for children up to 15 years)

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Thanks for sharing the legacy of Delhi in this blog. The images you have shared are mind-blowing. I wish I could be to all these locations without affecting my job life. I have a love for clicking interesting pictures like this.