¤ Fort Stands In Isolation
base gujjar, ya rahe ujjar.' (May [this city] be the abode of
nomads or remain in wilderness.)
These words, with which the great Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya
cursed Ghiyas-ud-din's city, seem to still echo all over the ghostly
ruins of Tughlaqabad. The citadel frowns down ominously like some
Gothic palace all over the Qutub-Badarpur road and seems to prefer its
splendid isolation. Which is of course not exactly what Ghiyas-ud-din
Tughlaq had in mind when he started out building it. It would have
broken the old sultan's heart if he had seen just how swiftly the
saint's curse went into action; soon after his death in fact.
¤ Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq Raised The City
It seems that even when he was far from being a king Ghiyas-ud-din
Tughlaq had dreamed of raising his city, Tughlaqabad. Earlier,
Ghiyas-ud-din had been a general (he rose to being the governor of an
important province like Punjab, but that's another story) in
Ala-ud-din Khalji's army. Once while on the road with Ala-ud-din,
Ghiyas-ud-din, on spotting this area, mentioned to the sultan what an
ideal setting it seemed to provide for a new city. Upon this the king
indulgently (and, knowing Ala-ud-din, also perhaps patronizingly)
replied, 'When you become king, build it.' Knowing full well, as every
boss, that while he was around there was not a shadow of a chance of
anyone else taking his place. After the death of Ala-ud-din various
events conspired to put the general on the throne at last. Then he
fulfilled his long-cherished dream.
¤ A Stratigical Layout of The Fort
Romanticism apart, Tughlaqabad also made perfect strategic sense.
Those were the times the Mongols were a real menace to society and
generally a pain in the neck for all the sultans of the Delhi
Sultanate. Almost everything that the sultans built was aimed baffling
the Mongols with sheer structural magnificence (read somewhere to duck
in and hope for the best).
Tughlaqabad fort, situated as it was on high rocky ground, was ideally
located to withstand sieges. Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq helped matters
along by putting up formidable walls which, though short on aesthetic
value, are excellent examples of solid unimaginative masonry and not
the type that any invading army could hope to scale in a hurry.
Tughlaq put ramparts towering at heights of anywhere between 9m (30ft)
to 15.2m (50ft), and rising up to 29.8m (98ft) around the citadel,
between himself and the Mongols.
The fort is half-hexagonal in shape and Ghiyas-ud-din seems to have
built defenses around and in it till he was blue in the face. The
outer walls are built around the silhouette of the surrounding land
and, what with their height and width, add formidably to the natural
barriers. They were also well defended. On the north, east and west
sides it is protected by trenches that go far down, and in the south a
lake acts sentinel.
¤ To Reach The Inner Complex of The Fort
The parapets have small loopholes all over them from where
Ghiyas-ud-din's soldiers to spot invaders quickly and start saying it
with arrows. The fort has or at least had thirteen portals and the
inner citadel has three more. If you could reach them that is, because
it was defended in depth by three layers of battlements.
For all the defense, the city of Tughlaqabad hardly saw any warfare.
Perhaps that is why it bears such an air of dejection it could
never fulfill the task it was built for. You enter the fortress by a
highway, which was set one 27 arches, almost all of them have vanished
now. Water being prized commodity (and allegedly one of the reasons
why Tughlaqabad was finally abandoned) there was a huge reservoir to
store rainwater in the fortress; you can still see it.
When one enters the fort, the first impression is of emptiness; the
ruins begin registering later. It is difficult to imagine that if one
was somehow transported a few centuries back, these very walls would
come alive, with people brushing past you and if things got really
lively one could even find oneself in the midst of a full-scale Mongol
As you enter, to the left, used to be the palaces and to the right
still stand the ruins of the a tower (Bijai Mandal, not to be confused
with the one in Jahanpanah; also see Bijai Mandal), several
halls and a subterraneous passage that led to the Bijai Mandal in
Jahanpanah. Just beyond was the city, with its streets (all laid out
in a grid), houses, mosques, peoples and bazaars.
¤ An Excellent View
A walk up the walls is well worth the while and, well, one of the
main reasons why people come here at all. The vista is glorious; the
ruins inside the fort, Ghiyas-ud-din's tomb next door and remains of
the Adilabad fort (built by Ghiyas-ud-din's son Muhammad) lay
scattered in front of you like petty detail.
Walking along the southern side of the fortress next to the outer
wall is a way out of the impregnable fortress which one supposes was
reserved for dire emergencies in case of prolonged sieges. This was a
standard practise all over India; a secret escape route was part of
the building plan in any fortress. Don't feel tempted to try it, if
you value your neck. Further towards the west there is an abysmal tank
which you don't want to go falling into it is called the road
to hell (Jahannum ka raasta) and for obvious reasons.
For a place of its size, Tughlaqabad was built with surprising speed,
just four years. and of course abandoned with equal speed in 1327.
Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq, probably being one of those modern free thinking
guys who didn't want to be known by his father's laurels, chose to
make a city of his own called Jahanpanah. One of his first achievement
being to do away with Ghiyasuddin by arranging one of those accidents
that were so frequent in medieval ages; a pavillion built to welcome
Ghiyas-ud-din fell on him, of all things.
Anyway, with the sultan's death, the city's short-lived glory to an
Indiasite.com, a trusted name in the travel industry in India caters to all the needs of a tourist coming to India.
Any unauthourised duplication of this site is strictly prohibited and liable to prosecution.
Copyright © : indiasite.com (All rights reserved)