Visiting Daulatabad Fort in India.

The lower defences at Daulatabad Fort, India.

About Daulatabad Fort, outside of Aurangabad, Maharashtra State, India.

Daulatabad Fort dates back to the 11th century when it was founded by the Yadavas of Deogiri. Later rulers included Sultan Muhammad-bin-Tughluq of Delhi - during 1328 he moved everybody from Delhi and re-created his capital at Daulatabad but due to continuous famine and sickness eventually returned to rule from Delhi. Although a very powerful fort, Daulatabad was captured in 1633 following a four month long siege by the Deccans and Emperor Aurangzeb became viceroy. The Fort sits on a 200 metre high conical hill, it's defence system includes moats and three encircling fortification walls - all with high gates and bastions placed at regular intervals. In all the complex and it's outer fortification walls ecompasses an area of around 63 hectares.
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Looking at the very top picture this might look like a fairly uninteresting fort to visit however the features of the fort are quite invisisible from the bottom area - it is a very good place to go up and look round and quite unusual because of the extensive defences it contains. Visiting this fort involves climbing several hundred steps and also involves going through low, narrow, pitch black rising tunnels (Andheri) - in other words it is a fairly strenuous place to visit. Having a torch with you is essential - if possible the best type would be a sort of head-lamp since this would leave your hands free - also remember to take bottled water. Also if you dislike bats then this is probably not the place for you - there are seemingly thousands of them living in the tunnels i.e. hanging just above your head.
Probably the walk up to the top of the fort and back needs around 2 1/2 to 3 hours depending on how fit you are. There is an entrance fee for non-Indians to the fort which is 100 Rupees and Daulatabad Fort is open daily during daylight hours.

A Pol at Daulatabad Fort near Aurangabad, India. Daulatabad Fort lower entrance gate, Aurangabad, India. Daulatabad Fort cannon. Daulatabad Fort Gates, India.
The start of the way up is from a small car park and initially involves walking through an imposing outer gate and then along an often shadeless dusty rough rising track between outer walls to the main inner gate. However there are a few small trees either side of the track at times which means some shade is around so the best time to walk up is either early'ish in the morning or later in the afternoon.
Daulatabad Fort ruins, Aurangabad, India. Fairly intact building at Daulatabad Fort in India. The Chandminar at Daulatabad Fort, India. Once Jama Masjid now Bharatmta Temple at Daulatabad Fort, India. Bharatmta Temple Pillars,  Daulatabad Fort, India. Temple gateway leading to a scruffy tank  at Daulatabad Fort in India. Daulatabad Fort's Chandminar, India. Daulatabad Fort Pol (gate), India.
Daulatabad Fort inner gate, India. One of the many huge gates at Daulatabad Fort, India. Daulatabad Fort inner courtyard, India. Fort ruins, Daulatabad Fort, India.
A little way up the track you reach the Chand Minar (which means Victory Tower) - this was built in 1435 by Ala-Ud-Din Bahmani and was originally covered in blue and turquoise Persian tiles. On the opposite side to the tower is the old Jama Masjid - this is the oldest Islamic building in the fort - it's 106 pillars were pillaged from Jain and Hindu temples. The mosque has now been converted into a Bharatmata Temple. Adjacent to the temple is a large elephant tank which served at one time as part of the Fort's extensive irrigation and water supply system.
The path continues up passing through huge gates, bastions and fortified walls and then reaches a more open area where there are the ruins of the Chini Mahal which still shows signs of it's original blue and white tiles - the Mahal is where the last Sultan of Golconda was imprisoned by Aurangzeb in 1687. Having crossed the drawbridge over the moat the next part of the climb involves going through the tunnels.
The Chini Mahal at Daulatabad Fort, Aurangabad, India. Daulatabad Fort and a ruined building, India. Daulatabad Fort Battlements, India. The Moat at Daulatabad Fort near Aurangabad in India.

Daultabab Fort, it's virtually impregnable Citadel and the Andheri - Dark Passage.

The only way up for invaders to reach the Citadel was via these long ascending tunnels which made the top of the fort all but inaccessible. The pitch-black tunnels are of uneven height, the steps vary in width and at various points chambers are cut out of the rock which were used as guard rooms and store houses. At one place there is a sort of tall opening (now covered with a grill) through which unwary intruders could easily fall through - and subsequently end up in the moat below (which contained hungry crocodiles). Add to this the defenders throwing boiling oil, hot ashes and so on down on them - not an easy occupation for any invader.
Bastions at Daulatabad Fort near Aurangabad, India. Daulatabad Fort outer area, India. Tunnel entrance at Daulatabad Fort near Aurangabad, India. Some of the thick lower walls at Daulatabad Fort, Aurangabad, India.
The Baradari at the very top of Daulatabad Fort, India. Having walked through the tunnels the route continues up on steep rock-cut steps - this is quite a tiring part of the walk especially in hot weather. Once near to the top of the Fort you reach the Baradari which is a 12 pillared pavillion which at one time may have been used by the royal family. This is still not the top - to get to the lookout post a further reasonable climb is involved but it is well worth the effort. The views of the fort's extensive battlements and surrounding countryside are really good from here.
Going back down from the top obviously involves going through the tunnels again - if anything this is more difficult then climbing up since the surfaces are often even more slippery and of course dropping. It's all good fun though and if you don't bang your head on the roof at least once then you have not done it properly!. Once back down to the parking area there are several places where you can get a cold drink and snacks i.e. samosas etc.
This visit to the fort can easily be done in conjunction with a visit to Ellora Caves - maybe a good plan would be to go to the Caves first and then visit the Fort in the slightly cooler mid-afternoon on the way back to Aurangabad.
There is much more about touring in India via our India Travel and Touring Guide Home Page.

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