Daulatabad Fort: An imposing structure with historical significance

[] The Daulatabad Fort is so imposing that noone has attempted to estimate the size, scale and value of it

Located on MH SH 22 in Daulatabad, is the imposing and majestic Daulatabad Fort in Maharashtra. This famous fort, which is also known as Deogiri and Devagiri, is located in the Daulatabad village near Aurangabad. It was once the capital for the Yadava Dynasty in the ninth to 14th century CE and was also the capital of the Delhi Sultanate briefly between 1327 and 1334 and the secondary capital for the Ahmednagar Sultanate between 1499 and 1636.

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Estimating the sheer size, scale and value of this monument is a daunting task, which is probably why it has not been attempted yet. Like many other priceless Indian monuments, its value could run into hundreds, if not thousands of crores.

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Daulatabad Fort

Daulatabad Fort: Interesting facts

Around the sixth century CE, Devagiri became a vital town near what is Aurangabad today. It had several vital caravan routes snaking towards the southern and western parts of the country. The famous triangular fortress was initially built sometime around 1187. Here are some interesting facts about the same:

  • When Muhammad Bin Tughlaq took over the throne of Delhi, he was drawn to this fortress and decided to shift his capital and court here, renaming the area as the City of Fortune or Daulatabad.
  • The entire population in Delhi was ordered to shift out towards this new capital.
  • Some of the key structures within the Fort premises include the Mahakot, which has four lines of walls with a whopping 54 bastions surrounding the structure for close to five kilometres.
  • The walls have thickness between six and nine ft while being 18-27 ft high with granaries and ammunition depots built inside, as well.

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Daulatabad Fort Aurangabad

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  • The Hathi Haud is a massive water tank measuring 38 x 38 x 6.6 metres, with 10,000 cubic metres of overall water capacity.
  • The Fort was secured with a wall of five kilometres and various defenses including the 30-metre-tall Chand Minar that was built later on, with its three circular balconies.

Maharashtra Daulatabad Fort

  • The lower slopes of the hill on which the Fort stands were cut away by the rulers of the Yadava dynasty, to leave a 50-metre vertical side. This enhanced the defensive capabilities of the Fort.
  • The only way to access the Fort is a narrow bridge with maximum space for two people at a time.
  • The access gallery also has steep stairs with a grating covering the top of the same. This formed the hearth for a big fire that was kept burning by the garrison during war. There are huge old cannons facing the countryside at intervals throughout the access pathway, while a cave-like entrance lies midway for confusing any enemy invaders.
  • There is just one exit/entrance to the Fort and no parallel gates. The flag mast is situated on the left of the hill. Spikes were placed on the gates on the right.

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Deogiri Fort

  • There are several false doors, curved walls and other arrangements for confusing enemies and trapping them inside.
  • The hill is shaped like the smooth back of a tortoise.
  • The Ellora Caves is located nearby and Daulatabad is roughly 16 kilometers away from Aurangabad.

Daulatabad Fort history

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The site of the Daulatabad Fort was occupied since at least 100 BCE, as per historians, with remnants of Jain and Hindu temples here, which are similar to the remains found at Ellora and Ajanta. There are several niches carved within the cave with Jain Tirthankara. The city was reportedly founded by Bhillama V, the Yadava prince in 1187, who stopped his allegiance to the Chalukya rulers while establishing the supremacy of the Yadava dynasty throughout the west. During the reign of Yadava king Ramachandra, Devagiri was raided in 1296 by Alauddin Khilji from the Delhi Sultanate. This forced the dynasty to start paying massive tributes. When the payments stopped, a second force was sent in 1308 by Alauddin, forcing king Ramachandra to become his vassal.

Devagiri Fort

Muhammad Bin Tughlaq shifted the capital of his kingdom in 1328, to Devagiri from Delhi. Resultantly, it was renamed as Daulatabad and the sultan made this his second capital in 1327. Some say that his idea was logical, since Daulatabad was mostly towards the center of the empire and secured the capital from attacks along the north-western frontier. Emperor Bin Tughlaq ordered the whole population of Delhi to shift here in 1327, although he finally reversed his decision in 1334, shifting the capital of the Delhi Sultanate towards Delhi once again.

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Daulatabad came under the Ahmadnagar Sultanate in 1499 and this was the secondary capital. In 1610, the new Aurangabad City (then-Khadki) came up as the capital for the Ahmednagar Sultanate, spearheaded by Malik Ambar, the slave-turned Ethiopian military general, who was also the prime minister of the Sultanate. Several fortifications at the site were built during the reign of the Ahmadnagar Sultanate. The Chand Minar was built by Hasan Gangu Bahami, the Bahmani Ruler or Ala-ud-Din Bahman Shah. It was a replica of Delhi’s Qutub Minar and was built by architects from Iran. They used Red Ocher and Lapis Lazuli for coloring purposes. Chini Mahal was a prison created by Aurangzeb where he kept the last Qutb Shahi Dynasty ruler, Abul Hasan Tana Shah. Aurangzeb had him imprisoned here in 1687.

Daulatabad Fort: An imposing structure with historical significance


Where is Daulatabad Fort located?

Daulatabad Fort is located in Daulatabad village, near Aurangabad in Maharashtra.

When was Daulatabad Fort built?

The Fort was built by Yadava prince Bhillama V in 1187.

How reach Daulatabad fort from Aurangabad?

Daulatabad Fort is 16 kms from Aurangabad. The nearest airport to Daulatabad Fort is in Aurangabad (22 kms), while the nearest railway station is in Aurangabad (16 kms).

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Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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