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Tughlaqabad Fort, Tughlaqabad, Delhi

Tughlaqabad Fort (Hindi: तुग़लक़ाबाद क़िला, Urdu language: تغلق آباد قلعہ

،Tughlaqabad Qila) is a ruined fort in Delhi, stretching over 6 km, built by Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq, the founder of Tughlaq dynasty, of the Delhi Sultanate  of India in 1321, as he established the third historic city of Delhi, which was later abandoned in 1327. It lends its name to the nearby Tughlaqabad residential-commercial area as well as the Tughlaqabad Institutional Area. Tughalaq also built  Qutub-Badarpur Road, which connected the new city to the Grand Trunk Road. The road is now known as Mehrauli-Badarpur Road.[1] Also nearby is the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary, Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range and Okhla Industrial Area.


Massive stone fortifications of Tughluqabad

File:Tughluqabad information.JPG

Stone tablet by the Archaeological Survey of India

Ghazi Malik was a feudatory of the Khalji rulers of Delhi, India. Once while on a walk with his Khilji master, Ghazi Malik suggested that the king build a fort on a hillock in the southern portion of Delhi. The king jokingly told Ghazi Malik to build the fort himself when he would become king.

In 1321 AD, Ghazi Malik drove away the Khaljis and assumed the title of Ghias-ud-din Tughlaq, starting the Tughlaq dynasty. He immediately started the construction of his fabled city, which he dreamt of as an impregnable, yet beautiful fort to keep away the Mongol marauders. However, destiny would not be as he would have liked.

The Curse of Nizamuddin Auliya

Ghias-ud-din is usually perceived as a liberal ruler. However, he was so passionate about his dream fort that he issued a dictate that all labourers in Delhi must work on his fort. Saint Nizamuddin Auliya, a Sufi mystic, got incensed as the work on his baoli (well) was stopped. The confrontation between the Sufi saint and the royal emperor has become a legend in India. The saint uttered a curse which was to resonate throughout history right until today: Ya rahey ujjar, ya basey gujjar which can roughly be translated to "either remain inhabited or would live gujjars". So, after the fall of sultanate, Gujjars of the area captured the Qila and till date village Tughlakabad is situated in it.

The Death of the Emperor

Another of the saint's curses was Hunuz Dilli dur ast (Delhi is still far away). The Emperor was engrossed in a campaign in Bengal at this time. He was successful and was on his way to Delhi. However, his son, Muhammad bin Tughlaq, met him at Kara in Uttar Pradesh. Allegedly at the prince's orders, a Shamiana (Tent) fell on the Emperor, who was crushed to death (1324 AD).

Mausoleum of Ghiyas ud-Din Tughluq

Mausoleum of Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq at Tughluqabad, also showing a side tomb.

The 'Mausoleum of Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq' is connected by a causeway to the southern outpost of the fortification. This elevated causeway 600 ft in length, supported by 27 arches, leads across a former artificial lake, however sometime in 20th century portion of causeway was pierced by the Mehrauli-Badarpur road.[2] After passing an old Pipal tree, the complex of Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq's tomb is entered by a high gateway made up of red sandstone with a flight of steps.

File:Ghiyath aldin tughluq tomb inscription.JPG

Information by the Archaeological Survey of India

The actual mausoleum is made up of a single-domed square tomb (about 8 m x8 m) with sloping walls crowned by parapets. In contrast to the walls of the fortification made up of granite, the sides of the mausoleum are faced by smooth red sandstone and inlaid with inscribed panels and arch borders from marble. The edifice is topped by an elegant dome resting on an octagonal drum that is covered with white slabs of marble and slate.

Graves inside the Mausoleum

Inside the mausoleum are three graves: The central one belongs to Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq and the other two are believed to be those of his wife and his son and successor Muhammad bin Tughluq. In the north-western bastion of the enclosure wall with its pillared corridors is another octagonal tomb in similar style with a smaller marble dome and inscribed marble and sandstone slabs over its arched doors. According to an inscription over its southern entrance this tomb houses the remains of Zafar Khan. His grave has been at the site prior to the construction of the outpost and was consciously integrated into the design of the mausoleum by Ghiyath al-Din himself.


Tughlaqabad Fort walls by the Mehrauli-Badarpur Road.

Tughluqabad still consists of remarkable, massive stone fortifications that surround the irregular ground plan of the city. The sloping rubble-filled city walls, a typical feature of monuments of the Tughluq dynasty, are between 10 and 15 meters high, topped by battlemented parapets and strengthened by circular bastions of up to two stories height. The city is supposed to once have had as many as 52 gates of which only 13 remain today. The fortified city contained seven rainwater tanks.

Tughluqabad is divided into three parts:

  • 1) the wider city area with houses built along a rectangular grid between its gates
  • 2) the citadel with a tower at its highest point known as Bijai-Mandal and the remains of several halls and a long underground passage
  • 3) the adjacent palace area containing the royal residences. A long underground passage below the tower still remains.

Today most of the city is inaccessible due to dense thorny vegetation. An ever increasing part of the former city area is occupied by modern settlement, especially in the vicinity of its lakes.
South of Tughluqabad was a vast artificial water reservoir within the fortified outpost of Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq's Tomb. This well preserved mausoleum remains connected to the fort by an elevated causeway that still stands today.

Well visible in the southeast are the remains of the Fortress of 'Adilabad, built years later by Ghiyathu'd-Din's successor, Muhammad Tughluq (1325–51) which shares the main characteristics of construction with Tughlaqabad fort.


See also

  • History of Delhi


  1. Y. D. Sharma (1974). "33. Badarpur". Delhi and its Neighbourhood. Director General, Archaeological Survey of India. p. 105. 
  2. "Modernity pierces fort link". Hindustan Times. September 9, 2012. Retrieved 2013-09-23. 

Coordinates: 28°30′43″N 77°15′39″E / 28.51194°N 77.26083°E / 28.51194; 77.26083

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