Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Daulatabad Fort

Daulatabad is a fort city located in Maharashtra, about 13 kilometers northwest of Aurangabad. We visited it on the way to Ellora Caves.

Daulatabad is known for its majestic fortress, which was build in the 12th century on top of a 600 ft (200 m) high hill. It is one of the world's best preserved forts of medieval times and also one of the few impregnable forts in Maharashtra with excellent architecture. For a few years during the early 14th century it was even the capital of India (during the reign of Tughlaq dynasty), but it got abandoned quickly due to lack of water.

Daulatabad Fort is built on an isolated pyramid-shaped natural mountain peak. The fort area is surrounded by three concentric walls (fortifications) known as kots. The outer one covers the Daulatabad old town, the middle one is currently the boundary of the fort for all practical purposes and the third one directly surrounds the main fortress.

Imagine that you are an invader and you somehow managed to cross the three kots. Now what you need to do is to find a way of crossing a 40 ft deep trench with mechanical drawbridges and crocodiles. If you manage that, then you still need to navigate through a pitch-dark maze, followed by a flight of 400 odd steps leading up to the main fortress...

No invader ever managed to do that as the defense system of the fort was absolutely full proof. However, the fort did get conquered once by treachery.

The second row of fortifications of Daulatabad Fort:

One of many gates inside the fort:

Hindu Temple and the Chand Minar in the background:

Hindu Temple:

The crocodile-filled moat around the main fortress:

Views from the top:

Anil and Majid (our driver) in front of the Chand Minar:

The fort was very well-maintained. But I was shocked to find out that it was all a result of manual labor...: