Visiting the Daulatabad Fort at Deogiri

Daulatabad Fort, India Arun ShanbhagDaulatabad, previously known as Deogiri (Hill of Gods), was founded by Raja Bhillama of the Yadava dynasty in the 11th century of the current era. Raja Bhillama renounced his allegiance to the Chalukyas, and after victorious campaigns against neighbors, retained control of the strategic Deccan with his capital at Deogiri.

Having heard of the wealth of the land, Alauddin Khilji marched down, destroyed the town and laid siege to the fort in 1294. After a 3-week stand-off, Raja Ramachandra Deva surrendered on payment of a record tribute which had to be carted off on elephants and camels. The tribute was believed to include 54,000 lbs of gold, 560 lbs of pearls, 160 lbs of precious stones, silver, silk and adjacent towns. This was the first time Muslims had penetrated as far south as the Deccan. Fresh with booty, Alauddin schemed and murdered his uncle Jalauddin Khilji and ascended the throne in Delhi in 1296. And a few years later Alauddin would lust after Padmini, ending tragically in the massacre at Chittor.

Having tasted the wealth, and rather than choosing to barter or trade, the Muslims returned in a few years, killed the king and in 1312 annexed Deogiri to the Delhi Sultanate. In 1328, Muhammad-bin-Tughluq decided to move his capital from Delhi to Deogiri, now named Daulatabad (City of Wealth). He ruthlessly commanded the immediate evacuation of Delhi and migration of the inhabitants 800 miles south. With pressing military engagements in the North, he transferred his capital back to Delhi.

Minaret at Daulatabad Fort, India Arun ShanbhagThe fort was captured by the Bahmanis of Gulbarga in 1445, who built this minaret to commemorate the victory. The Bahmanis held Daulatabad till 1526, when it was taken over by the Nizam Shahis of Ahmednagar. The 1600s saw many wars between the Deccan Sultans and the Mughals in Delhi, and it was finally captured by Shah Jahan in 1633. Aurangzeb was assigned as the viceroy here in Daulatabad from where he captured Bijapur and Golconda, and went on to imprison his father, put to death his brothers and seized the throne in Delhi. After Aurangzeb’s death Daulatabad passed into the hands of the Nizams.

The Daulatabad fort is an impressive structure with an almost impenetrable 3-rings of fortifying walls. The guide tells me that in its history the enemy has never been able to capture the fort without the aid of traitors or surrender.

See my related post on: School girls visiting the Daulatabad Fort

Guns protecting the entryway
Guns protecting the entryway at the Daulatabad Fort, India Arun Shanbhag

Imposing stone work at the entrance. You get the clear impression, this fort was built to withstand fierce attacks.
Daulatabad Fort, India Arun Shanbhag

This young couple came here to spend a quiet moment incognito.
Young couple at the Daulatabad Fort, India Arun Shanbhag

A beautifully crafted, but unmaintained well.
Daulatabad Fort, India Arun Shanbhag

An older, but rebuilt “Bharat Mata” temple on grounds.
Bharat Mata Temple at Daulatabad Fort, India Arun Shanbhag

Panorama of temple grounds. (click for bigger image)
Bharat Mata Temple at Daulatabad Fort, India pics by Arun Shanbhag


You may enjoy my Series of articles on the Cave Temples of Badami:


References:

  • Imperial Gazetteer of India, Ed. WW Hunter, vol 4 (1885)
  • Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th ed. (1910)

7 thoughts on “Visiting the Daulatabad Fort at Deogiri

Add yours

  1. I visited Daulatabad when I was in 7th grade. This post of yours made me nostalgic. If I remember it right, it is close to Aurangabad. 🙂 . Have you visited, Ajanta, Ellora, Bibi ka Maqbara(in Aurangabad), Shirdi, Lonar crater lake? They are close to Aurangabad…

    Thanks for sharing..

    Cheers,
    – Poornima

    1. Poornima:
      Yes, it is about 10 miles from Aurangabad. And yes, we did go to Ajanta, Ellora, Bibi Ka Maqbara. And had a great time! Even Meera enjoyed the caves. it was scary taking her up and down the stairs, but well worth it.

      I will slowly start to post pics from those trips. An amazing heritage we have.

      Thank you
      Arun

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