In state of Maharashtra, near Aurangabad, there is a magnificent fort at Deogiri also known as the Daulatabad. It used to be called the Deogiri fort later renamed as the Daulatabad Fort. Get ready to step back in time and discover the origins, rise, and fall of this iconic structure.
Table of Contents
- The Story of the Deogiri fort
- Where is it, and how do we get there?
The Story of the Deogiri fort
It’s story begins around the 12th century, approximately 800 years ago, in the heartland of India. At that time, Deogiri was a small village located in present-day Maharashtra. It was ruled by the ambitious Yadava dynasty, a clan of powerful warriors.
In 1187 CE, the Yadava ruler Bhillama V founded a fortress atop a hill near Deogiri. This was the birth of the Deogiri Fort, which would later be renamed Daulatabad under the Delhi Sultanate. The strategic location of the hill made it an ideal spot for a fortress, providing a commanding view of the surrounding plains and enhancing its defensive capabilities.
Over time, the Yadavas transformed the fort into a formidable stronghold, fortifying it with thick stone walls, moats, and intricate defense mechanisms. The fort became renowned for its impregnability. The Yadavas dreamed of power, wealth, and prosperity.
One of the most striking features of Daulatabad Fort was its majestic hilltop citadel. Perched at the summit, this inner fortress housed the royal palace, elegant courtyards, and luxurious chambers. The citadel was a testament to the opulence and grandeur of the Yadava dynasty.
However, the fortunes of Deogiri Fort took a dramatic turn in the early 14th century, around 700 years ago.
Treachery – The Fort falls into enemy hands
The ambitious Sultan Alauddin Khalji of the Delhi Sultanate set his sights on the fort, determined to bring it under his rule.
The Sultan, knowing the fort was almost impregnable employed a clever strategy to deceive the defenders. He enlisted the services of an engineer named Malik Kafur, who pretended to be a defector and gained the trust of the Yadava rulers. With insider knowledge, Kafur meticulously studied the fort’s vulnerabilities and defense mechanisms.
Exploiting internal strife and creating confusion among the defenders, the Delhi Sultanate launched a surprise attack, breaching the supposedly impregnable gates and capturing the fort.
Legends of this time tell the tale of Harpaladeva, a fearless Yadava warrior known for his loyalty and valor. He valiantly defended the fort against the invading forces of the Delhi Sultanate. Despite his heroic efforts, the fort eventually succumbed to the relentless assault, and the Delhi Sultanate emerged victorious in 1296 CE, after a fierce battle.
They later renamed the city “Daulatabad”, meaning “City of Fortune”.
Through available stories, we glimpse the heroic defense of Harpaladeva and the treacherous tactics of Malik Kafur.
The fate of the Daulatabad Fort
Under the Delhi Sultanate, Daulatabad Fort witnessed a period of decline. Its strategic significance diminished, and the fort gradually lost its glory. The Sultanate rulers made some modifications to the fort but didn’t invest much effort in its upkeep.
In the centuries that followed, Daulatabad Fort changed hands multiple times, each transition leaving its mark on the fort’s architecture and history.
It passed from the Delhi Sultanate to the Bahmani Sultanate. One notable event occurred during the Mughal Empire, approximately 400 years ago, when Emperor Aurangzeb aimed to bring the Deccan region, including Daulatabad, under his control. After a prolonged siege, the Mughals conquered the fort in 1633 CE, utilizing their military might and strategic approach.
After the Mughals, it fell to the Marathas. Each new ruler left their mark on the fort, adding their architectural influences and adapting it to their needs.
By the 18th century, approximately 300 years ago, Daulatabad Fort had lost much of its military importance. It became more of a historical landmark than an active stronghold.
The British East India Company, who emerged as a dominant force in India during that time, took control of the fort, and it eventually fell into disuse.
Today, the Deogiri or Daulatabad Fort stands as a remarkable testament to India’s rich history. Its awe-inspiring architecture and storied past draw visitors from around the world. Exploring its winding passages, secret chambers, and panoramic views allows us to connect with the past and marvel at the triumphs and setbacks of those who built and fought for it.
So, there you have it—the captivating tale of the Deogiri or Daulatabad Fort. From its humble beginnings as a village fortress to its rise as an impregnable stronghold, and its eventual transformation into a historical landmark, this fort has witnessed the ebb and flow of empires.
It stands as a testament to the resilience of ancient civilizations and leaves us in awe of the remarkable achievements of India’s past.
Where is it, and how do we get there?
The Deogiri or Daulatabad Fort is located near the town of Daulatabad in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India. It is approximately 16 kilometers northwest of Aurangabad city.
To reach the fort, one can travel to Aurangabad, which is well-connected by air, rail, and road. The nearest airport is Aurangabad Airport, which has regular flights from major cities in India. From the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Daulatabad.
If you prefer traveling by train, Aurangabad Railway Station is the closest major railway station. It is connected to various cities across the country. From the railway station, you can hire a taxi or take a local bus to Daulatabad.
Once you reach Daulatabad, you can easily access the fort. The fort is situated atop a hill, and there is a paved pathway leading to the entrance. However, do keep in mind that reaching the fort requires climbing a substantial number of steps, so it is advisable to wear comfortable footwear and carry water.
Guides are available at the fort entrance who can provide interesting insights and historical information about the fort. Exploring the fort can be a captivating experience as you wander through its ancient passages, marvel at its architectural wonders, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
It is worth noting that Daulatabad Fort is a popular tourist attraction, and it is advisable to plan your visit during weekdays or non-peak seasons to avoid crowds. Additionally, it is recommended to check local regulations and opening hours before planning your trip, as they may be subject to change.
So, pack your curiosity and embark on a memorable journey to the Deogiri or Daulatabad Fort, where history awaits to be discovered amidst the stunning landscapes of Maharashtra.