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Tughlaqabad Fort, Delhi

 

Tughlaqabad Fort, Delhi

Located in the national capital city of Delhi, the Tughlaqabad Fort was built in 1321, by Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq who founded the Tughlaq dynasty. The construction of the fort was intended to keep the marauding Mongolian raiders at bay and was known as the 3rd historic kingdom of Delhi. The fort is also connected to the tomb of Ghiyas ud-din Tughlaq, which sits at a scenic location beside a highly ornamental causeway.

In a state of total ruin, the Tughlaqabad fort was once a symbolic of the might of the Tughlaq dynasty. The Tughlaqabad fort was built by Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq, the founder of the Tughlaq dynasty. The fort is spread over an extensive area and a piece of architectural marvel. Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq built the Tughlaqabad fort as part of Tughlaqabad, the third city of Delhi. This was the period of political unrest and there was continuous danger of Mongol attack from the North western borders of the Empire. To save the Empire and his subjects from the marauding Mongols, Ghiyas-ud-din built the Tughlaqabad fort.

Even though the fort is in a state of ruins, it bears testimony to past glory and might of the Delhi Sultanate. The massive ramparts, battlements and the mammoth stonework of Tughlaqabad fort speak highly of the architectural skills and advancement of the craftsmen. The Tughlaqabad fort served twin purpose of a defensive structure as well as the imperial capital of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq. There are a number of monuments within the precincts of this massive fort.

The Tughlaqabad fort was completed in a short period of four years (1321-25). The fort’s massive ramparts and bastions (as high as 15-30 m, built of enormous blocks of stone and walls 10 m thick in places) speak volumes about the might of the Sultanate. Within fort’s high walls, double-storied bastions and massive towers were housed magnificent palaces, grand mosques and audience halls. The city lay on the eastern outskirts of the massive fort. On the southern side of the fort is the tomb of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq, which was built by the ruler himself. The tomb is enclosed in a courtyard with fortified walls and a fine example of Indo-Islamic architecture.

Ghiyathu’d-Din Tughluq (1321-25) built the fortified town of Tughluqabad, the third city of Delhi. With its battered walls of grey rubble perched on desolate hills, where its position gives it a natural advantage, Tughluqabad was raised as a stronghold rather than as an architectural enterprise. It is in two parts, the citadel and palaces along the southern walls forming one unit and the city to the north the other. On plan it is an irregular rectangle with over 6 km. of fortification. The citadel is still intact, and the walls of palaces can also be discerned. The city-portion is, however, in extreme ruins, although one may make out the alignment of some of its streets.

Across the main entrance of Tughluqabad on the south is Ghiyathu’d-Din’s tomb. Faced with red sandstone relieved by marble, and with batter on exterior, it is enclosed within high walls forming an irregular pentagon. With a ‘spear-head’ fringe on the underside of its arched openings on three sides and its colour-scheme, it still retains some of the characteristics of Khalji architecture. But its arch, with an ogee curve at the apex recalling the ‘Tudor’ arch, a slightly-pointed ‘Tartar’ dome and the use of beam-and-arch for openings are new features. Originally it stood within an artificial reservoir and was connected with Tughluqabad by a causeway, now pierced by the Qutb-Badarpur road. The sluice-gates of the vast reservoir are to be seen to the north of the main road close to the massive embankment between the northern and southern spurs of the hills.

Ghiyathu’d-Din’s successor, Muhammad Tughluq (1325-51), added the small fortress of ‘Adilabad on the hill south of Tughluqabad, with which it shares the main characteristics of construction.

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