Curse that still haunts a magnificent fort


Ya base gujjar, ya rahe ujjar (May this city be the abode of nomads or remain in wilderness) was the curse of Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya to Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq’s city-fort, which seems to still echo inside the ruins of Tughlaqabad Fort which stands tall even in its ruins.

In 1320, Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq became the Sultan of Delhi and established his own township Tughlaqabad.

Tughlaqabad is one of the formidable reminders of Delhi’s embattled past and the terror and valour of that era as Ghiyas-ud-din came to power after beheading Khurso Khan, who had also snatched power in a bloody coup.

Within this township, Ghiyas-ud-din built the Tughlaqabad Fort with a strategic layout. A high rocky ground was selected for the purpose. To withstand siege Ghiyas-ud-din intentionally put up 15-mt-high formidable walls, which though not great on aesthetic value, are considered excellent examples of solid unimaginative masonry that no invading army could hope to scale in a hurry.
The fort has towering ramparts at a height of anywhere between 30 feet to 50 feet. It is half-hexagonal in shape and the outer walls are built around the silhouette of the surrounding land with their height and width adding up as its natural barriers. On the north, east and west sides it is protected by trenches that go far down, and in the south a lake acts like a guard to the fort.

The parapets have small loopholes all over them from where Ghiyas-ud-din’s soldiers could spot invaders and hit them with arrows. The fort has sixteen portals including the three situated in the inner citadel, which are defended by three layers of battlements.
For all the defense, the city of Tughlaqabad hardly saw any warfare and could never fulfill the task it was built for. As one enters the fort, the first impression is of emptiness. Perhaps, the curse of the Sufi saint is still keeping the citadel like an ominously palace in its splendid isolation. For soon after the death of the Sultan, his son Mohammad Bin Tughlaq shifted the Capital from Tughlaqabad to Jahanpanah.

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