Devagiri Daulatabad

About fifteen kilometres from Auragnabad on the road to Ellora rises the famous mediaeval fortress of that name is now all that Daultabad stands for. The great pyramidal shape is visible from a good distance as it dominates the landscape.
The history of Daultabad goes back to the twelveth century, when it was the capital of the Hindu Kingdoms in the Decan and was called Deogiri, the hill of the gods. The fortress of Deogiri was constructed by Raja Bhillamraj, of Yadav Dynasty, who was a great general of his time.

The “Hill” was the site of a rock-hewn citadel which was considered to be invulnerable. However, Deogiri yielded to enemy assault and passed into the possession of the Sultans of Delhi in 1308 A.D.

Thirty years later, Deogiri was to attain a brief period of glory as India’s capital. Muhamad Tughlak, ascending the Delhi throne, ordered his capital to be moved to the southern city which he renamed Daultabad, the City of Fortune. It was a transplantation rather than a transfer, for Delhi’s entire population-men, women and children-rich and poor alike, were to move out in a mass to the new capital. Even the sick and the dying were not exempted from the arduous journey, that involved a terrible toll in human misery and thousands of Delhi citizens perished on the way. And it was all in vain. The sultan regretted his decision and, repeating his act of madness, ordered the whole mass of migrants to move back to the abandoned capital.

However, Daultabad grew to be a great city, rivalling Delhi in size and mportance. The province to which it belonged broke away from the rule of Delhi. Then the old citadel excavated in the body of an isolated hill had to be stregthened further. The steep hillsides at the base of the fortress dropping to the moat were so smooth that no hostile troops could scale the heights. But the fortificatons were now extended well beyond the core of the original citadel. Bastion were built, mounted over with cannon. Great walls with battlements guarded the approaches. The outer wall runs for six kilometres and there are several inner walls with heavy iron gates fitted with elephant spikes these spikes prevented the use of elephants to force the gates.

The only entrance to citadel is through a devious tunnel, which in times of siege was rendered impassable by an ingenious contrivance. This sub-terrain passage is indeed mysterious and in spite of several individual’s attempts, all its mysteries are not known. The long ascending tunnel rises rapidly and tortuously by a flight of steps, which are uneven in width and height, difficult for climb in the absence of light. The labyrinthine passage coupled with the darkness confuse the enemy army to kill themselves along a tunnel containing numerous chambers cut out of solid rock which were used in the olden times as guard rooms and store houses. The turns and twists lead to a window, now covered with grills; but was originally a trap set for enemy intruders, who, on entering tumble down the slope to meet a watery grave in the moat below. The tunnel was impassable when the great obstacles come in the form of darkness, Caltrops, harrier of smoke and a splash of hot oil of water from above. The steps in the courtyard are newly constructed in 1952 for the convenience of tourists.