Saturday, April 10, 2010

City Landmark - Tughlakabad Fort, Near Badarpur

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Plain Prose

The solitary savageness.

[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Think frozen music. The Tughlakabad Fort’s sloping rubble-filled outer walls are spread out on a hillock, like ripples of sound waves extending to infinity. The third city of Delhi (circa 1324) lies forsaken. Monkeys have taken over the ramparts. Thorny grass has laid siege to palace enclosures.

Built in just two years by the Tughlak dynasty founder, Ghiyasuddin, the fort’s walls with its invincible fortifications of arrow slots and tiers of loop-holes, were designed to repel the Mongol barbarians, who never came. Inside was a city with a palace and citadel for the king, and neighbourhoods and bazaars for his people. The 14th century traveler Ibn Battuta talked of “gilded tiles” and “vast stores of wealth”. All that has disappeared.

There is no water in the seven tanks. Most of the 13 outer gates are blocked by jungle growth. The underground pits and arched passageways of the citadel are home to snakes and wild peacocks. The vast rugged landscape is marked with remnants of stonewalls. Only the distant boom of the aeroplanes flying above shatters the fort’s regal silence.

After Ghiasuddin’s death in a freak accident (he was inside a pavilion when it collapsed on him), his successor forced Tughlakabad’s population to move into his new capital in central India. The fort fell into disrepair and acquired all the trappings of an abandoned place.

Some believe that Tughlakabad Fort was cursed by Delhi’s Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. Having a strained relationship with Ghiasuddin, he had said, “Ya rahey ujjar, ya basey gujjar” (“May [the fort] remain unoccupied, or else be occupied by herdsmen).”

With its massive circular towers and colossal bastions built to last for all times, the fort’s desolation is especially melancholic. Tourists rarely come to visit this, Delhi’s grandest and largest fort. You must. Tughlakabad’s savageness will stay with you long after you have left its seemingly unassailable ramparts.

Where Mehrauli-Badarpur Road Time Sunrise to sunset (early morning hours are best)

Strong and masculine

City Landmark - Tughlakabad Fort, Near Badarpur

It's there

City Landmark - Tughlakabad Fort, Near Badarpur

God, I'm dwarfed

Incredible Delhi

Anybody here?

Plain Prose

Splendid isolation

Spot the Aeroplane

I'm not alone

City Landmark - Tughlakabad Fort, Near Badarpur

Air India?

Air India?

Is Delhi far?

Three Idiots

Look, cricket!

Sixer

For all times

Plain Prose

Back to the civilisation

City of Ruins

5 comments:

ZEEVIE said...

hahahahhaha.only U can visit a place like this:D.U r rave man

Kartik said...

Love the place...been there a few times...its quite close to my place(Kalkaji).Even the Habitat center people arrange walks here sometimes.Its great to even come for a drive here after sunset..

Anonymous said...

Never been there. Is the palace still there?

DoctorGenius said...

@Anonymous..Yep mate..The fort IS still there n There To Be for-ever
Have seen the fort wen passin from tat road..Long long time ago
Definitely looks MASSIVE n Masculine
Gr8 re-discovery sirjee..Love all ur work:)

Peeyush said...

One of my favorite place. Strange that most of the Delhites are unaware of this beauty. Raw and Virgin.

If you are looking for a place very different, somewhere you can hang out with your friend and live your world of dreams.

This is it. This is it. This is it.