All of us must have visited many forts and all of them tell various tales from the past. I feel it is one of the most interesting activities ever to delve into the past while visiting these ancient structures. Ancient forts and monuments are like a log book for the past events and they hold within itself so much for us to explore. The Daulatabad Fort is no exception when it comes to this. One of the factors that makes the fort more astonishing is that people often lovingly refer to this fort as one of the Seven Wonders of Maharashtra. A lot of us know about the Seven Wonders of the World as well as Seven Wonders of India. But when it comes to one of the 7 wonders of Maharashtra this is a must visit site for sure.
Moreover this fort is one of the most visited tourist spots in Aurangabad and there are obvious reasons behind it too. So if you are ever visiting Maharashtra then the Daulatabad Fort Aurangabad should definitely be in your itinerary. Keep on reading this article as I will mention all Daulatabad Fort information here that you might need. After reading this article you will be able to plan a successful trip to this location.
Location of Daulatabad Fort: Daulatabad village, Aurangabad, Maharashtra
Daulatabad Fort Timings: The Daulatabad Fort opening time is 9 am in the morning and it is open till 6 pm in the evening.
Daulatabad Fort ticket price: For Indians the ticket price is Rs. 10 and for Foreigners it is Rs. 100. You can do photography here however there is an additional fee for video cameras which is Rs. 25.
How to reach Daulatabad Fort?
The fort is 17 km away from the main city of Aurangabad. Also if you are travelling by air then the nearest airport is the Aurangabad airport. The airport is only 27 km away from this fort. And if you wish to travel by train then the nearest railway station is the Aurangabad Railway Station which is 19 km away. From both the airport and railway station you can hire a car or a cab or take local transport to reach the fort.
Daulatabad Fort History
Who built Daulatabad Fort?
At one point of time the town of Daulatabad was popular with the name Devagiri or Deogiri. Devagiri literally means the hills of God. The king of Yadava dynasty, Raja Bhillamraj Yadav developed this entire township in 1187. Till today this fort is one of the best preserved forts in the country. The fort has passed the test of time and is still standing tall with all its charm. During the initial years a township grew around this fort and it served as the capital of the Yadavas till 1296 AD. After that the fort started witnessing a change of powers. The Sultan of the Khilji dynasty, Alaudding Khijlji captured this fort in 1308.
Later in time the Tughlaq dynasty of Delhi took over this prosperous kingdom of the Yadava clan. Under the leadership of Mohammad Bin Tuglaq the town of Devgiri as well as the two forts came under their rule. During the beginning of 1327 this happened and all of Devgiri was under the influence of the Tughlaq Dynasty. It was then that the Tughlaq Dynasty forcefully changed the name of Devgiri as Daulatabad.
By 1328 the Sultanate of Delhi completely took over Daulatabad and they established Daulatabad as the capital of the Tughlaq Dynasty for the next 2 years. A huge population also moved from Delhi to settle in Daulatabad to set up the new regime of the Tughlaq dynasty. However in Daultabad there was a huge scarcity of water supply and that made the life of the rulers extremely inconvenient. Soon they abandoned the town of Daulatabad and decided to shift back to Delhi. After 2 years, the king wanted the capital of the Tughlaq Dynasty shifted back to Delhi again. Also they left the state of Daulatabad in a completely abandoned state.
Just after this the Bahamanis took control over this fort. They are also responsible for adding many prominent structures to the fort including the Chand Minar. Hasan Gangu Bahami built the Chand Minar which is a replica of the Qutb Minar of Delhi. Architects from Iran came here to construct this structure. They used Lapis Lazuri and Red Ocher for the purpose of colouring. Till today, Chand Minar is one of the most prominent and famous minarets in India. In 1499, the Nizam Shahis of Ahmednagar took over this fort. They also fortified this structure to a lot of extent.
During the 17th century this fort came under Mughal rule. Another important formation was the Chini Mahal. This was a prison that Aurangzeb created where he kept the last Qutb Shahi ruler Abu Hasan Tana Shah and imprisoned him here in 1687. Later it also moved from one rule to another like Marathas, Peshwas and the Nizams of Hyderabad. The fort was under the control of Nizams of Hyderabad till 1947 when India got independence.
Architecture of Daulatabad Fort
The Daulatabad Fort is huge, spreading across a massive area of 94 hectares. One of the most interesting features of this fort complex is its architectural brilliance. The whole premises of this fort houses small designated areas which are for different purposes. There was one area for common people, Ambarkot. Then there was a residential area for the people belonging to the higher strata in the society, Mahakot. Next comes Kalkot, and Kalkot is the royal residential area and Balakot which is the pinnacle of this fort, the place where the flag of the fort fluttered.
Other than that the fort also houses some other major structures. There were public audience halls, palaces, court buildings, mosques, reservoirs, temples, and step wells. Also there were gigantic tanks, victory tower and royal baths as well. All these structures got added to the fort as it witnessed the change of powers from one dynasty to another. The unique water management system, multiple cannons and rock cut caves are also important formations here.
Another important feature of this fort is the defense system of this fort. There were moats both wet and dry. These moats had dangerous crocodiles that protected the fort from the entry of the enemies. Also there were walls with bastions and massive gates here. The walls were almost 5 km to protect the fort well. All of these guarded the fort and prevented the attacks of the enemies. There is a narrow bridge here as well that only has scope for only two people to pass at the same time.
The defense features in the fort were much ahead of its time. There were rock cut tunnels, gates with iron spikes, stone wall mazes, curved walls and more. Especially the mazes and puzzles were enough to trap and confuse the enemies that further prevented the entry of unknowns into the fort. Also this fort only has one proper entrance for both the entry and exit which is quite unique from all other forts. An enemy who might enter through the entry gate would get trapped inside as there were no separate exit gates here. Intoxicated elephants were one of the ways that the rulers used to open gates of a fort. To avoid that situation the spikes on the gates helped. If any animal tries to push open the gates they will instantly get hurt or die due to those spikes.
The serpentine entryways were another unique feature of this fort. There were peculiar curved walls and some false doors as well that the creators made with the sole purpose of confusing the enemies. The wall structure was also curved along with being smooth so that mountain lizard climbers fail to climb the wall of the fort. This intelligent placement of various engineering techniques helped in the defense of the rulers of the fort.
At present the Daulatabad Fort is one of the major protected forts in India. The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation declared this fort as one of the Seven Wonders of Maharashtra. The fort still stands in its full glory even after so many attacks. A lot of portions of this fort are in ruins yet it is one of the well preserved forts in the country.
Major structures inside the Daulatabad Fort
Chand Minar or Moon Tower
This is one of the major attractions of this fort which is a tower with a towering height of 64 metres. It has multiple circular balconies, a mosque and various chambers inside. It is the replica of the famous Qutub Minar in Delhi.
Bharat Mata Temple
This is a temple inside the fort and is one of the oldest structures here. During the pre-independence period a statue of Bharat Mata got installed here and the layout of the structure is that of a mosque.
Aam Khas Building
This one is a public audience hall for the general public and it is huge in size.
This one is a structure with 13 halls. It is a luxurious octagonal building that probably goes back to the 17th century. This is a royal palace which came into being during the visit of Shah Jahan.
This is a huge step well that you can find near the main entrance.
This is another interesting structure here that is a dark passage. It has various turns in it which the rulers had done to confuse and trap the enemies.
Also popular as the Elephant Tank, this one is one of the massive water tanks in this fort. This tank had the capacity to hold about 10, 000 cubic meters of water.
Other famous structures here are Chini Mahal, Rang Mahal, Kacheri that is a two storied structure along with a courtyard, Rock Cut Caves belonging to the Yadava rule etc. Also check out the cannons here like the largest cannon Durga Tope, Kala Pahad, Mendha Tope etc.
If there can be something that will draw you towards this fort it is the perfect architecture and the defense system here. It would certainly be extremely intriguing to learn about all the ways the rulers executed their engineering in order to save them from the attack of the enemies. Forts like these are the best examples of artistic and clever mastery and in no way you should miss visiting this fort. This fort is one of the most popular tourist spots in Maharashtra as well as in Daulatabad. The Daulatabad Fort height built on a 200 meter conical hill and the massiveness of the structure will leave you spell bound. So make sure you definitely visit this fort once you are there. Let me know if this article is helpful for you in planning a trip to this location.