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Daulatabad (Deogiri) fort Aurangabad : Unbelievable structure

About fifteen kilometres from Aurangabad 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 twelve century, when it was the capital of the Hindu Kingdoms in the Deccan 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, Deogiry was to attain a brief period of glory as Indias capital. Muhammad Tughlak, ascending the Delhi throne, ordered his capital to be moved to the southern city which he renamed Daulatabad, the City of Fortune. It was transplantation rather than a transfer, for Delhis 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, rivaling Delhi in size and importance. 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 strengthened 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 fortifications 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 kilometers 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 first gateway leaders into the enclosure which has, at the left, a huge water tank and further up there is an ancient Hindu temple. Its roof supported by 150 pillars. Towards the right is the Chand Minar, a pillar of victory built by a king to commemorate his conquest of Daultabad. Minar has a gallery with ornamental brackets and a balustrade. The steps lead up to Chini Mahal, so named because of the blue porcelain tiles on its faade. The palace of which it once formed a part is gone altogether. SO are the other places that once stood on the adjoining gate.
A large gun about five and a half meter (17 ft.) long, which has a name inscribed on it, lies at the top of a round high bastion. This has a rams head designed at one end.  Beyond these later construction is the moat, twelve meters (40 ft.) deep, with a drawbridge. Here begins the original citadel of Deogiri. The solid rock is scraped to a height of about 76 meters (250 ft.).

There is only one narrow entrance over the moat. The upward climb now leads to a subterranean passage over 45.72 meters (150 ft.). It spirals darkly over the hewn steps shielded by the rock mass overhead. Some parts of it are pitch-dark and the attendant lights a flare for the visitor. In the olden days it could be easily barricaded. At its far end , a fire was lighted in the brazier the great heat blew into the passage-due to an effective device of suction-and the passage become altogether blocked.
The total height of the fortress is about 183 meters (600 ft.). Close to its top, there is a reservoir, fed apparently by some underground, natural source. The use of this supply to a besieged fortress is obvious. Further up, there is a mugal pavilion and to crown all a bastion with a gun. From this spot, there is a wonderful view of the countryside around. However, visitors who find the climb strenuous need not proceed beyond the subterranean passage.

All over the fortress there are strong ramparts. Cannon were mounted at strategic points and the defenses were so designed that a great concentration of fire could be attained. European travelers of those days, who have left very readable memoirs, have described this citadel as one of the most powerful in India. This fort is as pyramid cal and only of its type in India. It is self powerful for enemy.

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