Sunday, 18 February 2018

Formidable Daulatabad Fort, Aurangabad


Located at a  distance of 16 km from Aurangabad Railway Station  in Maharashtra, on the way to Ellora Caves, Daulatabad is an ancient hill fort (14th century). It was on the caravan route (sixth century AD) and since it a best preserved Fort, no doubt, it  attracts a lot of tourists  from other parts of India and other countries. Built on a 200 m high conical hill, this triangular shaped  fort was defended by a moat and  glacis.  It is said to have been the most powerful fort during the medieval period and it was difficult to penetrate, considering its geography and lay-out.  The entire fort complex consists of an area measuring approximately 94.83 hectares. With the combination of hill and land, the  fort is divided into small sectors encircled by fortification walls. The moat is 40 feet deep  filled with  ferocious crocodiles and mechanical drawbridges  to cross the moat.
Daulatabad Fort, Aurangabad, MHRemote Traveler

Daulatabad Fort was built by Yadava king Bhillama V in 1187 and the  city was then called 'Deogiri', meaning the hill of gods. 
The fortification included a few parts.  Ambarkot was built  for common people. Mahakot area having four distant lines of enclosure walls served the residential area for higher class of the society. The Kalakot was exclusively  the royal residential area with double line of fortifications. During the reigns of different dynasties, additional structures and improvements were made and as a result the fort grew in size as years went by.
Daulatabad Fort, Aurangabad, MH. Alamy
Daulatabad Fort Aurangabad Best Tourist Places
Mention my be made of such  structures as stepped wells, Kacheri (Court) building, Bharat Mata Temple, Hathi haud, Chand Minar, Aam Khas, Royal Hammam, Chini Mahal, Rang Mahal, Andheri, Baradari, water cisterns and 10 unfinished rock cut caves belonging to the Yadava period.These varied features make this place more attractive for the tourists,
Baradari , Daulatabad fort , Aurangabad,MH Alamy
Among  them, Chand Minar with a soaring tower  rising  to a height of approximately 210 ft (64 m) high and 70 ft (21 m) in circumference at the base, is an interesting one.  The four-storied tower was adorned with Persian glazed tiles and carved motif and it was built  in 1447 AD by Ala-ud-din Bahmani to commemorate his capture of the fort. It is believed that Chand Minar was used as a prayer hall  in the earlier times.  Inspired by the Gutub Minar of Delhi, Hasan Gangu built the Chand Minar as a replica of the Delhi tower. 
Daulatabad, MH location map. Maps of India
Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq captured this region and made the city his capital  in 1327 AD and called it Dauladabad 'the abode of wealth'. Muhammad bin Tughluq (r. 1325-1351), who was more known for his eccentricity than for his military prowess  forcibly moved the entire population of Delhi for two years before it was abandoned for lack of water. Then his capital was shifted back to Delhi. He built a myriad of water canal system and water storage tanks, etc. But, it did not wok well here
Daulatabad Fort with a  turret,Maharastra  tripAdvisor
Mendha cannon, Dauladabad fort , Aurangabad, MH cityshor.com
The history of this fort is an interesting one changing hands  frequently and it signifies its strategic importance and right location. It is an impenetrable fort, and it is a tough job to get access into the fort.
The fort came under Bahamani rulers under Hasan Gangu in 1347 AD and Nizam Shahis of Ahmednagar in 1499 AD. Nizam Shahi dynasty in 1607 AD made it their  capital. The Chini Mahal (literally: China Palace), is in ruin. Once it was  a building of great beauty. In it Abul Hasan Tana Shah, the last of the Qutb Shahi kings of Golconda, was imprisoned by Aurangzeb in 1687. Later it was possessed by  the Moguls, Marathas, Peshwas and finally the Nizams of Hyderabad in 1724 AD took control and kept it  till India's independence.
Inside the gate at Devagiri Fort in Daulatabad near Aurangabad  Alamy
How does this fort differ from other forts? What are the advantages this fort has? These moot questions linger the minds of the visiting tourists. The following may be worth to note:

01. There are no separate exits from the fort. It is a sort of box canyon, same way in and same way to get out.  

02. This plan is to confuse the enemies who will be driven deep into the fort and may face danger

03. Absence of parallel gates and this reduces the momentum of the invading army. 

04. Misleading location of the flag mast which is on the left hill will  obviously misguide the enemy who may turn left and get into trouble. In reality, the real gates of the fort are on the right and this will confuse the enemy.

05. Hardened iron spikes fixed on the gate will injure the intoxicated elephants  that were used as a battering ram to break open the sturdy gates. The presence of spikes would cause  the elephants to bleed and ultimately they'll die of injury.

06. Yet another interesting features are the complex arrangement of entryways, curved walls and  false doors. All these designed  to confuse the enemy inside the fort. The trapped  enemy soldiers will ultimately become a prey to the hungry  crocodiles.

07. The shape of the hill is rendered smooth so that expert mountain climbers can not climb the slippery slope.

08. The outer wall comprising  2.75 miles (4.43 km) in circumference, once enclosed the ancient city of Devagiri and between this and the base of the upper fort are three lines of defences and the enemy soldiers have to break these fortifications to access the summit.

09. The hill itself is  200 meter high. At the summit, and at intervals on the slope, are placed massive old cannons facing out over the surrounding countryside These cannons are designed for wide firing range and a threat to the enemy.

08. Also on the hill at the mid way, there is a cave entrance meant to confuse the enemies.

This fort is worth a visit, as it provides quite hiking opportunities to the tourists. Any visitor to this historic for can not return without appreciating the ingenious way with which  it was built to face raids as then the political situation was chaotic, the rulers of other places constantly posed threats.

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daulatabad,_Maharashtra