Daulatabad Fort, A Medieval Gem In The Hiding

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In a time where kingdoms were invaded and battles constantly waged, there stood an indomitable Deccan fortress known for it strategic military defences – the Daulatabad Fort. Built on a 200-meter-high conical hill, Daulatabad was one of the most powerful forts in the Deccan during medieval times.

Vintage engraving of Daulatabad Fort during the 1890s

Vintage engraving of Daulatabad Fort during the 1890s

Approximately 22kms from Aurangabad, this 12th-century structure has had minimal alterations, which makes it one of the world’s most well-preserved forts. Like a proud conqueror, this rock-hewn fortress stands tall at 600ft, dominating the landscape for miles.

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History Of Daulatabad Fort

Daulatabad was founded by the Yadavas of Deogiri (The Hill of Gods) in 11th Century AD under King Bhillama V, which is why some people still refer to it as ‘Devagiri’. It was Muhammad bin Tughlaq, a Sultan of Delhi, who named it ‘Daulatabad’ (meaning city of fortune) and he was so in love with the fortress that he moved his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad because of it.

The colossal Daulatabad Fort was one the most high-powered forts of the medieval Deccan

The colossal Daulatabad Fort was one the most high-powered forts of the medieval Deccan

And it is the impenetrability of this fort that makes it unique. From the way it was designed to the structural improvements that were made on it as it passed from conqueror to conqueror, the fort boasts of some brilliant defence strategies.

What Made Daulatabad Fort A Defensive Marvel

The way to enter the fort is through a stunning labyrinth of narrow subterranean passages that allowed the first inhabitants of the fort to defend themselves. When under attack, the citizens would pour hot oil or throw blazing torches down these passages to prevent their enemies from getting closer.

If this sounds like something from an Indiana Jones novel, it probably is. These ingeniously built passages were essential to Daulatabad’s defence and, like the Egyptian pyramids and Mayan temples that it is reminiscent of, the mysteries of most of these passages are yet to be discovered. P.S. – We wouldn’t recommend straying too far from the group when exploring these passages.

Daulatabad Fort has mysteries in every passage you cross

Daulatabad Fort has mysteries in every passage you cross

During Muhammad bin Tughlaq’s reign, these defences were further fortified with moats and three encircling fortification walls with lofty gates and bastions at regular intervals.

Huge bronze cannons were mounted on these battlements to guard the entrance. Inside the fortification walls, a 40-feet-deep moat with crocodiles and a mechanical drawbridge was built to protect the original citadel. The sides of the plateau on which the fort sat was scraped away, which prevented even the most aggressive troops from climbing its steep walls.

Its strategic location and strong protective defenses made Daulatabad famous as an impregnable fort and its possession became a matter of pride for each dynasty that conquered it. The best part about this fort is that unlike others, one can still see the military precision with which it was defended.

Get on board The Deccan Odyssey and travel back in time to explore this ancient fort of Daulatabad.

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