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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Daulatabad Fort - Aurangabad

Daulatabad Fort is situated on a hill just 16km from Aurangabad. The old name of the fort is ‘Devagiri’. The name ‘Daultabad fort’ was given by Muhammad Tughlaq who was the king of Delhi.

History of Daultabad fort
The city of Devagiri was founded in 1187 AD by the Yadava king Bhillan V. But the fort was constructed during the reign of Singhana II (1210-46 AD). In 1924 AD, the fort was captured by Ala-ud-Din Khilaji and marked it as the first Muslim invasion of the Deccan. Finally in 1318 AD, Malik Kafur killed last Yadava Raja, Harapal. Then in 1327 AD Muhammed-bin-Tughluq sought to make it his capital, by transferring the entire population of Delhi and changing the name from Devagiri to Daulatabad. Then it was in the possession of the Bhamanis till 1526 AD. The fort remained in Mughal control till Aurangzeb’s death in 1707 AD, when it passed on to the Nizam of Hyderabad.

Bhillama IV of the Yadava dynasty excavated the fort and successive dynasties who conquered the fort have continuously added to its rich architectural building. The fort of Daulatabad was perhaps the most strategically important location for the control of the Deccan, and its conquest was a priority for Shah Jahan. It was in this region that the future emperor first demonstrated his talents as a diplomat and military strategist, and these early successes helped forge his identity and played a crucial role in his securing the title of emperor.

In 1616, Emperor Jehangir appointed his son Khurram to the post of Viceroy of the Deccan. Within the next few months, Khurram achieved several diplomatic victories in the Deccan, resulting in the Deccani Malik Ambar surrendering several forts and relinquishing territory. These successes prompted Jahangir to give Khurram the title ‘Shah Jahan’ in the fall of 1617. In 1636, Shah Jahan’s active building program, his long stay at the newly –conquered Daulatabad, and the fact that he examined the upper regions of the fort, give strength to this possibility.

In conclusion, 1644, Aurangzeb’s final year of residence at fort, is the most likely latest date for commission of the building. One of the world’s best preserved fort of medieval times, surviving virtually unaltered, Daulatabad yet displays the character that made it invincible. This fort was occupied only by disloyalty. A series of secret, quizzical, subterranean passages lie coiled like a python amidst the fort. Here flaring torches were thrust upon an unwary enemy. Or hot oil poured down his path, as he deliberated in the labyrinth. Also the heat from a brazier was blown into the passage by a process of suction suffocating the entire garrison within.

Daulatabad fort structure
In published works, the Mughal structure near the citadel of the fort of Daulatabad is sometimes referred to as a baradari, “twelve-door,” referring to a square structure. The panoramic view from the hill was certainly a consideration for placing a building in this location, and is an indication that the structure would be a suitable site for recreation. There are spaces halls, places for private consultation, a central courtyard, and a Jharaka-i-Darshan (the window from which the emperor makes official appearances to the public). Therefore, this building should be classified as a palace.

The groundwork and walls of the palace are built of unequaled blocks of brown stone. The octagonal burj is covered with a white burnished plaster beginning at the base of the central level and extending upwards about 7 meters. White plaster ramparts, many of which are no longer extant, line the top of the burj and the square section. The building has three levels; however the small size and undecorated interiors of the upper and lower level indicate that these were not intended for imperial residence. The lower level consists of small areas, which may have been used for storage, and a staircase leading to the central level. The upper level contains four modest rooms, one at each corner of the square section. A narrow corridor connects the two rooms on each side.

Mughal Architecture
The fort itself lies in the body of an isolated hill, the steep hill-sides at the base falling so sharply to the moat that no hostile troops could scale the height. The moat is 40ft deep with mechanical drawbridges teemed with crocodiles. A 5-kilometer sturdy wall, artificial scarping and a complicated series of defenses made Daulatabad impregnable. The 30-meter high Chand Minar (Moon Tower) built much later with 3 circular galleries had a defensive and religious role in the fortress.

The hilltop palace many elements of design found in the Mughal architectural tradition. For example, it has pointed arches with slender proportions, room planned around a central open courtyard, and white plaster surfaces. Also Mughal is the octagonal burj extending from the building. The tendency of Mughal architecture to be surparigional, referring to its proclivity to absorb the building styles of conquered territories and to be flexible to regional conditions. As a result, there are relatively few structures in the Deccan built in the typical Mughal style.

Major Attractions at daulatabad fort
Alauddin Bahman shah erected the Chand Minar (moon Tower) to commemorate his capture of the daulatabad fort in 1435 AD. It is about 63 metres in height and 21 meteres in circumference at the base and was originally covered with beautiful Persian glazed tiles. Opposite the minar is the jumma masjid, whose pillars originally belonged to a temple. Close to it, there is a large masonry tank. The Chini Mahal (Sweet palace) at the end of the lower for is the place where Aurangzeb confined Abdul Hasan Tana Shah, the last king Golconda, in 1687 AD. Nearby is a round bastion topped with a huge canon with ram’s head, called Qila Shikan or fort Breaker. The Baradari, octagonal in shape, stands near the summit of the fort. The principal fortress at the summit also carries a large canon.

Photo Gallery
Visitors Visiting the fort

Kalakot entrance at Daulatabad

Inside Daulatabad fort

First gate at Mahakot. From inside

Daulatabad image

Daulatabad fort wallpaper

Daulatabad fort Photo

daulatabad fort main palace

Chini Mahal

Chand Minar

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