Expect nothing, live frugally on surprise.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Crumbling Heritage: Tughlaqabad Fort

Tughlaqabad Fort (Hindi: तुग़लक़ाबाद क़िला, Urdu: تغلق آباد قلعہ Tughlaqabad Qila) is a ruined fort in Delhi, strecthing across 6.5 km, built by Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq, the founder of Tughlaq dynasty, of the Delhi Sultanate of India in 1321, which was later abandoned in 1327. People of dharchula did not come here because it was cursed

The origin of the historic city of Tughlaqabad and the Tughlaqabad Fort goes to the period of the Delhi Sultanate (AD 1191–1526). The Tughlaqs (AD 1321–1414) who followed the Khiljis (AD 1290–1321) were great builders and the city of Tughlaqabad and Tughlaqabad Fort were their first major architectural achievement.
TOMB OF GHIYAS-UD-DIN TUGHLAQ : The story behind the foundation of Tughlaqabad is an interesting one. Ghazi Malik, the founder of the Tughlaq dynasty,was once a slave of Mubarak Khilji, the last Khilji sultan. One day, while walking by the area where the Tughlaqabad Fort is now located, Ghazi Malik suggested to his master that the rocky prominence would be an ideal site for building a fort.

The Khilji sultan laughed at his slave and suggested that the slave build a fort there when he became a sultan. When Ghazi Malik, as Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq, founded the Tughlaq Dynasty in 1321, he did just that—Tughlaqabad is Delhi’s most colossal and awesome fort, even in its ruined state.
The fort of Tughlaqabad was completed rapidly in a short span of four years (1321–25). The fort’s massive battlements and bastions (some as high as 15–30 m, built of enormous blocks of stone and walls 10 m thick in places) do not look as if they are the handiwork of mortals. Within its sky-touching walls, double-storied bastions, and gigantic towers were housed grand palaces, splendid mosques, and audience halls. The city lay on the eastern outskirts of the massive fort.
Tughlaqabad is a formidable reminder of Delhi’s embattled past and the terror and valor associated with that period. It was a period of political unrest and the Delhi Sultanate had to face a number of attacks from hoards of marauding Mongols, who descended on it in waves from the north. Ghiyas-ud-din, in order to counter the Mongol threat, repeatedly routed them and raised pyramids of enemy’s heads and used elephants to crush the captives to death. The massive fortifications of Tughlaqabad, with immense circular bastions, were raised by Ghiyas-ud-din to protect his subjects.
TOMB OF GHIYAS-UD-DIN TUGHLAQ On the southern side of the fort is a causeway that takes one across the (now) dry bed of a lake to the tomb of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq. The tomb was built by the ruler himself and is enclosed in a private courtyard with fortified walls. The structure of this simple but elegant building reminds one of the Alai Darwaza—an elegant gateway built by the erstwhile Khilji ruler Ala-ud-din Khilji, near Qutab Minar, in his endeavor to beautify the Qutab complex. The style of the tomb conforms to the Indo-Islamic style of architecture, which was in vogue at that time and was the hallmark of the buildings belonging to the period of the Delhi Sultanate.
LEGENDS OF TUGHLAQABAD There are a number of legends associated with Tughlaqabad. It is often said that the skulls of the killed Mongol marauders were used in the construction material of this awesome fort. The demise of Tughlaqabad was not brought about by any foreign invasion, but to the curse of a Sufi Saint Nizam-ud-din.
The legendary quarrel between the two started when Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq did not allow his people to work for the saint on the construction of a baoli (step well). This angered the saint. A protracted tiff followed, which offended the saint and led to his famous prophecy “Hunuz Dilli dur ast” (Delhi is yet far away), for the sultan was then out in Bengal. He made another ominous reference to the sultan’s fort when he remarked “Ya rahe usar, ya basé Gujjar” (Either it remains deserted or be peopled by men of the Gujjar tribe). Both these prophecies proved true. Ghiyas-ud-din was killed at a place near Delhi when a shamiana (canopy, marquee) collapsed over him during a reception arranged by his son. The sultan could not reach Delhi alive. His successor chose to build his own fort and deserted Tughlaqabad. It soon became a haunt for the Gujjars tending their cattle within the abandoned fort of Ghiyas-ud-din.

It is generally believed that the death of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq was engineered and plotted by his son. One story describes that Muhammad bin Tughlaq (Ghiyas-ud-din’s son and successor) killed his father by building a false wooden balcony, which collapsed and killed Ghiyas-ud-din. The son murdered and ascended the throne of Delhi, thus making the prophecies of Saint Nizam-ud-din come true.


David O. Brink March 2, 2009 at 9:00 PM  

government does less 4 these kind of heritage sites in most countries...

Nice Bolography

Ritu March 2, 2009 at 9:03 PM  

Not by lamentations and mournful chants ought we to celebrate the funeral of a good man, but by hymns, for in ceasing to be numbered with mortals he enters upon the heritage of a diviner life.

Radhika March 2, 2009 at 9:13 PM  

sad to see such a historical site in ruins

well presented agony of the fort

Ashok March 2, 2009 at 9:24 PM  

good captures and nice peep into history

BTB wat u were doing in Ruins rohit??


Dr. Gunjan Gehlot March 2, 2009 at 11:13 PM  

Monumental Neglect

Good Bolography

Dr.Nishi Chauhan March 3, 2009 at 2:02 AM  

really a monumental neglect

Good post wid nice pics

Dr. Pragya bajaj March 3, 2009 at 2:52 AM  

neglecy very much evident in 2nd pic

Hilda March 3, 2009 at 7:05 PM  

Awesome history! And I really love the old stones. I hope your government doesn't let it decay further. It would make for a great, historical monument.

R. Ramesh March 3, 2009 at 8:13 PM  

Wellsaid Gunjan: Monumental neglect...

Er. Paayal Sharma March 3, 2009 at 8:49 PM  

well presented, lovely captures

nituscorner March 3, 2009 at 9:40 PM  

If history was outside text books i would have done my Phd in it LOL!nice post!

Mehnaaz March 4, 2009 at 1:49 AM  

history always better out of text books & class rooms

magiceye March 4, 2009 at 10:35 AM  

thank you for the brief lovely tour of tughlakabad!

Dr.Ruchika Rastogi March 4, 2009 at 11:44 AM  

nice captures n peep into history

Bhavesh Chhatbar March 4, 2009 at 12:30 PM  

To my surprise, I had never heard of this fort! Thanks for sharing the unique information. And yes, the photographs are so good :)

My Spirit in Bedse
Birdhouses, Birds

Tripti March 4, 2009 at 4:36 PM  

Good to know about my country, through your blog, thanks for all the info and nice pictures.

humanobserver March 4, 2009 at 5:48 PM  

wonderful captures. Monuments in Delhi must be clicked by every photographer. They are simly amazing. In between, those pictures on my blog are Surajkund fair.

Tripti Pandey March 4, 2009 at 6:02 PM  

some very informative posts and lovely pics on ur blog..both ur blog are superb avinah

विनय March 6, 2009 at 10:52 PM  

very informative and really good pictures. hats off!

Abhishek Bhadra March 9, 2009 at 11:46 AM  

Truly a terrific piece of architecture !!

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