The Magnificent Ruins of Tughlakabad - The New Indian Express

The Magnificent Ruins of Tughlakabad

Published: 09th January 2014 09:41 AM

Last Updated: 09th January 2014 09:41 AM

Since childhood, I must have visited the ruins of this capital that is just about 15 kilometres away from Indraprastha, the famed kingdom of the Pandavas, umpteen times.

 As it is the city of seven dynasties, Delhi has innumerable relics and remnants from different eras which are in different stages of ruin and deserves a visit. But Tughlakabad with its semblance of a fort like structure has always been a favourite haunt of Delhites for a weekend picnic.

I still remember running around this place with its uneven boundary and undulating thorny terrain where there were lot of hiding spaces amids the tall craggy broken structures.

The battlements with its huge holes made for an ideal viewing space of the entire city in ruins which in fact, looked like as if stones and boulders had been placed here and there in a rectangular manner.

Another attraction here was an underground tunnel connecting the fort to the tomb which we as children would traverse a few distance in awe and fear and then retract. But today it has been closed for visitors. High battered walls, rocky outcrops, broken battlements, irregular structures, domed and arched gateways, vaulted passages, and massive embankments is the hallmark of Tughlakabad, the third city of Delhi and the capital of the Tughlak  dynasty who built this massive fortified citadel as their imperial capital which also served as a defence mechanism. Ghiyas-ud-Din Tughlak was the founder of this dynasty. 

Nowadays, only the eastern parts of the fort is visible while a beautiful red sandstone tomb of the Tughlak dynasty founder lies in the southern most part but to see this, one has to go across a bridge.

In fact, all capitals of Delhi have been built on the banks of River Yamuna or a few kilometres away so as to build reservoirs for their water needs. It is said that there was a huge reservoir in the southern part of the city which, however, has totally dried up today.

But there is a large bawli (a step well that was recently renovated) in the southern parts which archaeologists say must have been for the convenience of the residential quarters of the Sultan. Recent excavations by ASI has further revealed that this city had an elaborate and unique system of water distribution even during those days. This fort is as wide as seven square kilometres and is reported to have been built in 1321 with the sweat and blood of labourers who came all the way from Delhi toiling for a period of six long years on a totally thorny, hilly region.

It is said that Delhi’s saint patron Nizammudin Aulia cursed Ghiyas-ud-Din Tughlak as with all the labourers busy building the fort, there was no labour force available to construct a bawli which the Saint had undertaken for the common man.

“May this city be the abode of nomads or remain in wilderness,” he had uttered and after this, the Sultan was killed, the fort abandoned and till date, it stands in isolation.


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