Tughlaqabad Fort in Delhi | Exploring the third city of Delhi – A city of 7 cities
The capital city of India -Delhi is a city of 7cities. Tracing its historic lineage from the time of the ‘Pandavas’ of the epic Hindu Mythology Mahabharatha in which the city of Delhi is mentioned as ‘Indraprastha’ – capital of the Pandava kings, archaeological research points out to the city being the capital city atleast 7 times, beginning from the Tomar dynasty in 9th century to Lutyens Delhi of British rule. Being a Delhi resident all my life, I find it fascinating that there is still so much to explore around the city for a heritage lover like me. I had been planning to visit Tughlaqabad fort for a long time and there could not have been a better day than a sunny winter morning to do this. The Tughlaqabad Fort and mausoleum of Ghiasuddin Tughlaq are what remains of Tughlaqabad – considered to be the 3rd extant city of Delhi.
I actually got to know a lot about Tughlaqabad and its remains from the wonderful booklet set published by INTACH – Delhi : 20 Heritage Walks. Its a detailed yet very handy set of booklets on various heritage monuments & sites in Delhi for people who want to venture out exploring Delhi’s diverse heritage.
The INTACH booklet says this about Tughlaqabad “Tughlaqabad is considered to be the third extant city of Delhi, after Lal Kot (built by Tomars) and Siri (built by the Khaljis). The Tughlaq dynasty that rules a large part of India from Delhi enjoyed the prowess of three prominent rulers : Ghiasuddin Tughlaq, his son Muhammed bin Tughlaq and his nephew Firoz Shah Tughlaq“.
Presently, parts of Tughlaqabad Fort along with mausoleum of Ghiasuddin Tughlaq remain, with lot of the city having crumbled to dust. The Tughlaqabad fort is located on the Mehrauli-Badarpur Road, on a high outcrop of rock towards south-western side of Delhi.
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The fort walls are visible as one drives down from Mehrauli towards Badarpur and even from a distance, the fort ruins look intimidating. As rightly mentioned in INTACH booklet, the architecture of the city came from the mindset of a military officer’s which wanted to protect its people and its city from attacks or infiltration.
The construction of the fort is in stone (mostly Delhi Quartzite), with massive blocks of stone used everywhere, with little embellishments or attempt at intricate carvings to decorate (which one can see in abundance in the Mughal structures more popular with tourists in the city). Walking around the ruins of the fort, looking over the landscape of the city, I felt a bit overwhelmed standing here; I mean this was built centuries ago and here I was standing after so much time, in the present day city of Delhi. I could understand why people built grand structures or even statues of themselves – its certainly a way to immortality in human memory through the years!
The Mehrauli-Badarpur main road cuts the causeway, which originally connected the Fort with the mausoleum of Ghiasuddin Tughlaq. It takes a very tricky road crossing to get to the other side to visit the mausoleum!
The mausoleum of Ghiasuddin Tughlaq is built in similar style of a fortification and in fact the main tomb structure looks like a vault with marble only used on the inner ceiling, with absolutely no carving or decoration.
The visit to Tughlaqabad Fort and mausoleum of Ghiasuddin Tughlaq gave me an interesting insight of the city as a military front, of a turbulent period of attacks and living precariously. I certainly felt much more reassured to be living in the Delhi city of present times!
If you liked this post on Delhi, you may like to read my following articles on the city :
You might also like to read this interesting piece by fellow travel blogger Jitaditya on Tughlaqabad Fort as he experienced it here.