Old is Beautiful – Adrift in Tughlaqabad Fort


Taking in the wind in the face, I kept staring at the maroon-white structure looking back at me across the shrub filled vegetation. After a few customary pictures, all that had been left to do was to sit quietly and look around…look around at the ruins around you and may be , at the lapwing resting himself on a mound of stones in the premises of the  ruins of a mosque. The bird had completely foiled my attempts at capturing him in a frame and had flown across the yard of the mosque with his black-n-white wings spread up beautifully.

Sometime while tracing the bird’s flight, my thoughts also completed a circle and I resumed my attempts at trying to frame all that lay around me in digital bytes. It was a curious feeling. Four friends who are basically a motley group of people brought together by a common liking for exploring and having a good fun time.

Morning had been fresh but alas, we had started late as usual, when it was almost the time for a siesta.

But no matter, as the clouds had shrouded the sun and weather was tolerably pleasant. Boarding DJ’s beast i.e. his newly bought jeep, we had taken Mehrauli Badarpur road and after half an hour, had parked the beast outside the perimeter of Tughlaqabad fort.

We were in Tughlaqabad, the fifth historic city of Delhi. Built by Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq of the Delhi Sultanate in 14th century, Tughlaqabad fort now lies in impressive ruins. One can still see the massive ramparts with circular bastions and gateways in between. The walls of the fortification as well as the structures that once existed inside are all rubble filled now. But the symmetry and the design are still visible all too clearly. Standing atop one of those walls, one can get a nice idea of the layout and structure of the fort.

The ruins of the citadel with its highest tower called Bijai Mandal and an underground passageway were the prominent sights in the fort. On one side, we also passed ruins of an old time mosque. Sitting at a vantage point across from Bijai Mandal, we got a panoramic view of South Delhi areas with tall buildings and smoke chimneys dotting the skyline at the horizon. Area around the fort was mostly a little underdeveloped. Most of the old Tughlaqabad city now remains inaccessible due to forested vegetation.

The most beautiful part of the fort is the fortified outpost of Ghiyasuddin’s tomb that lies to the south of the main fort across from the main road. The mausoleum is built in a serene environment, with lush green lawns in the yard and is connected to the fort by an elevated causeway.

Ghiyadussin Tughlaq’s tomb
Ghiyadussin Tughlaq’s tomb
Main fort seen from Ghiyadussin Tughlaq’s tomb
Ghiyadussin Tughlaq’s tomb
Inside Tomb Premises

The fortification around the fort runs 6.5km in circumference and 10-15m in height. One can nicely trace the wall by standing on the top at any point in the fort precincts. On the south eastern border of the fort lies Adilabad fort, build in a similar fashion. Unfortunately, we did not have time left for visiting that fort.

With the day moving towards the later half of its life, it was time for us to leave. The fort stood where it was, the way it has been for the last 691 years.

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