Daulatabad Fort, Aurangabad
Located 15 km away from the main city of Aurangabad, Daulatabad Fort is an ancient fortification that rises formidably from the midst of verdant greenery. Often hailed as one of the ‘seven wonders of Maharashtra’, this architectural marvel is believed to have been built in the 12th century. Perhaps the most enchanting qualities of the Daulatabad Fort is its location, from the zenith of which you can capture a mesmerising view of the entire city. You need to hike some 750 odd steps up to the top, but the view down below is a wonderful thing to behold.
One of the most inspiring aspects of the Daulatabad Fort is its design which makes it one of the most powerful fortresses of the medieval period. It is built on a 200 metres high conical hill, which provides this grand fortress with a strategic position, architectural beauty and protection from the enemies. Another unique aspect of this destination is its engineering genius, which not only provided an impregnable defence against enemy forces but also managed irreplaceable resources of water quite well. The contrast of the ancient edifice against the lush green fields of Aurangabad paints a wonderful picture that takes you back through the pages of the days bygone.
History of Daulatabad Fort
The town of Daulatabad was once known as ‘Devgiri’ meaning the ‘the hill of gods’. The entire township of Daulatabad was developed by the King of Yadava dynasty, Raja Bhillamraj Yadav in the year 1187. The main constructions of the town include both Daulatabad fort and Devgiri fort. The fort is considered among the best-preserved forts in the country which has survived several years without any alteration. The prosperous kingdom of Yadava dynasty was taken over by the Tughlaq dynasty of Delhi under the leadership of Mohammad Bin Tughlaq who captured the town of Devgiri along with the two forts.
In the beginning of the year 1327, when the city of Devgiri was taken over by the Tughlaq dynasty, the name of the place was forcefully changed from Devgiri to Daulatabad. In the year 1328, Daulatabad was completely taken over by the Sultanate of Delhi and was established as a capital of Tughlaq dynasty for the coming two years. The huge population was moved to Daulatabad in order to set up the rule of Tughlaq dynasty in the city. The city was abandoned by the Delhi rulers due to the lack of water supply in the area. Within the span of two years, the capital of the Tughlaq dynasty was soon shifted back to Delhi leaving Daulatabad in an abandoned state.
Construction of Daulatabad Fort
The strategic and powerful construction of this fort makes it amongst the most well-preserved forts in the country. It is located on the top of a conical hill and the lower part of the Daulatabad fort is surrounded by the moat which was filled with crocodiles to protect the entry of enemies. The whole fort is protected by several bastions. During the period of Tughlaq dynasty, it was further strengthened by the various canons and the strong wall of 5 km was built to protect the mighty edifice. There are several mazes and puzzles built at the entrance of the grand fort as a strategic measure to prevent the entry of unknowns. A 30 metre Chand Minar was also built inside the fort during the rule of Tughlaq dynasty.
The construction of the Daulatabad Fort was peculiar in its own right, and it was meant to be such so that any enemy marching towards it is thrown off track. The fort had a single doorway which served as both the entrance and the exit. This was done so that any enemy troops who try to penetrate through the fort looking for an exit get trapped in the premises. In the olden days, intoxicated elephants were used to break open the gates of the forts. To avoid such a situation, the Daulatabad Fort has a special provision of spikes on the gates which gave an instant death to the giant beast.
Dauatabad had no parallel gates which was meant to confuse the enemy and the flag mast of the fort was situated on the left-hand side. When the enemy tried to attack the same, they turned left, but the exit gates were on the right, which further trapped them in the labyrinth of the fort. Serpentine arrangements of entryways, false doorways, peculiarly curved walls and many such ruses were used in the wall to confuse the enemy and eventually condemn them to defeat. Even the smooth and curved shape of the hill was used to protect the Daulatabad Fort against mountain lizard climbers, who would miserably fail if they tried to climb up the mountain. These and many other intelligent placements of resources tricked the enemies of Daulatabad Fort and kept the rulers protected against any danger.
Trekking to the top of Daulatabad Fort
One of the most challenging parts of a visit to the Daulatabad Fort is reaching the top of this mighty edifice, which can only be accessed on foot. You will have to walk up 750 stairs which can take anywhere between 1-3 hours depending on your speed. The difficulty level is easy to medium and there are a few dark areas along the way for which you need to carry a torch. You will get to experience the peculiarities of Daulatabad Fort as well, such as the fact that no two entrances are in front of each other, which are quite interesting to note and observe as you go. All the effort and time is made worth by the view from the summit, which is a fascinating testimony of the architectural brilliance of the medieval times.
How to Reach Daulatabad Fort
Daulatabad fort is located 27 km away from Aurangabad and lies a half an hour drive away from the same. Buses run from Aurangabad to Daulatabad Fort quite frequently, or you can hire a private car that is provided by tour operators.
1. Hire a local guide to know the history of the place.
2. Carry your water bottle and eatables with you, as it is difficult to find food stalls near the fort.
3. Wear proper footwear and comfortable clothes if you plan to trek to the top of Daulatabad Fort. Taking breaks between your journey is a must too.