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Tughlaqabad Fort: The Lost City in Delhi

Tughlaqabad Fort is one of the largest forts in India. The fort is a ruined fort in Delhi with only some parts accessible to the visitors. Earlier it used to be the fourth city of Delhi established by Ghiyas - Ud - din Tughlaq, the founder of the Tughlaq dynasty.

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Tughlaqabad Fort is one of the largest forts in India. The fort is a ruined fort in Delhi with only some parts accessible to the visitors. Earlier it used to be the fourth city of Delhi established by Ghiyas - Ud - din Tughlaq, the founder of the Tughlaq dynasty.  Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq is the founder of Tughlaq dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate of India in 1321, as he established the third historic city of Delhi, which was later abandoned in 1327.

History of Tughlaqabad Fort

Tughlaqabad is the Third City out of the Seven Cities of Delhi which was captured by Muslims before starting the Muslim rule in Delhi. Ghazi Malik was a feudatory of the Khalji rulers of Delhi, India. Khaliji dynasty is muslim dynasty which ruled India. Once while on a walk with his Khalji master, Ghazi Malik suggested that the king build a fort on a hillock in the southern portion of Delhi. The king jokingly told Ghazi Malik to build the fort himself when he would become king.

In 1321, Ghazi Malik drove away the Khaljis and assumed the title of Ghias-ud-din Tughlaq, starting the Tughlaq dynasty. He immediately started the construction of his fabled city, which he dreamt of as an impregnable, yet beautiful fort to keep away the Mongol marauders. However, destiny would not be as he would have liked.

 

Ghias-ud-din is usually perceived as a liberal ruler. However, he was so passionate about his dream fort that he issued a dictate that all labourers in Delhi must work on his fort. Saint Nizamuddin Auliya, a Sufi mystic, got incensed as the work on his baoli (well) was stopped. The confrontation between the Sufi saint and the royal emperor has become a legend in India. The saint uttered a curse which was to resonate throughout history right until today.

Architecture of Tughluqabad

Tughluqabad still consists of remarkable, massive stone fortifications that surround the irregular ground plan of the city. The sloping rubble-filled city walls, a typical feature of monuments of the Tughluq dynasty, are between 10 and 15 meters high, topped by battlemented parapets and strengthened by circular bastions of up to two stories height. The city is supposed to once have had as many as 52 gates of which only 13 remain today. The fortified city contained seven rainwater tanks.

Tughluqabad is divided into three parts:

the wider city area with houses built along a rectangular grid between its gates
the citadel with a tower at its highest point known as Bijai-Mandal and the remains of several halls and a long underground passage
the adjacent palace area containing the royal residences. A long underground passage below the tower still remains.

 

Today most of the city is inaccessible due to dense thorny vegetation. An ever increasing part of the former city area is occupied by modern settlement, especially in the vicinity of its lakes.

South of Tughlaqabad was a vast artificial water reservoir within the fortified outpost of Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq's Tomb. This well preserved mausoleum remains connected to the fort by an elevated causeway that still stands today.

Well visible in the southeast are the remains of the Fortress of Adilabad, built years later by Ghiyathu'd-Din's successor, Muhammad Tughluq (1325–1351) which shares the main characteristics of construction with Tughlaqabad fort.

 

How to reach Tughlaqabad Fort?

Tughlaqabad Fort is entered from the Southern side on Mehrauli Badarpur Road and is located close to the Mehrauli Metro Station. The entry fee to this protected monument is INR 10 for Indian nationals and INR 100 for international tourists.  Sadly, the city which once would have existed for people but now it is almost ruins.