Kazan Cathedral, Saint Petersburg

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Daulatabad Fort

Google Maps: Daulatabad, Maharashtra, India
Trip: Aurangabad > Ajanta > Lonar > Daulatabad > Ellora > Aurangabad

  • A full fledged 7 tiered fort, Daulatabad is worth studying on the defense systems of forts used by early rulers of India. At worse its a healthy trek to the top.
  • Dont miss the bat cave, a set of staircases to the top only few hundred metres long but full of squeaking bats. You need to cross it to reach the top.
  • Within few miles of Daulatabad are the grand Ellora Caves and Grishneshwar - one of the twelve jyotirlingas, both dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Daulatabad Fort is impregnable by the look of it - a layer of seven increasingly difficult barriers from bottom to top. We arrived at the foot of this hill fort through a shared auto that runs frequently from Bawa Petrol Pump in Aurangabad City. The entrance is a massive wooden gate that opens to view of a high watch tower and the fort itself. The gate is not counted among the seven layers of defence.

View from Bharat Mata Mandir

We started with the Bharat Mata Mandir complex on the left. It has a huge courtyard similar in size to Jama Masjid. The top of Daulatabad is visible like a crown from here. On the right is the high rise watch tower which we crossed to reach the first fortified gate.

A plaque at the entrance of Daulatabad Fort

The second gate was a few flight of stairs to the left. The facade on top of this gate is multi-story and can hold a small army that would probably create a rain of hot oil or arrows to attacking enemy. The stairs crossing this gate took us to a large platform which hosted numerous cannons in attacking position and overlooking the entire range of fort area. A bridge connects this base with the rest of the fort.

Third Layer of defense is a 50 ft wide 20 mtr deep moat@Daulatabad

The narrow bridge overlooks a 100 ft deep gap between the platform and the rest of fort. The hill was chosen for this reason. Next in line was the fourth layer of defense of Daulatabad Fort which is a hundred metre long tortuous uphill pitch dark tunnel full of squeaking bats.

View from the top@Daulatabad Fort

Crossing this portion is thrilling and scary - the bats keep making squeaking noise all around you. We reached an elevated opening soon and were able to see the entire fort complex from top. There was still a considerable number of stairs to cover before we reached the palatial area. To reach the centre of this palace is a winding series of tunnels with openings at regular interval. This would be the sixth level of defence.

Windowat the top@Daulatabad Fort

It takes an hour of trek to reach the top most point from the bottom. View from the top is magnificent. We captured the view from several angles before starting downwards. The so called 'bat cave' was more threatening this time as we were going down.

Facade@Daulatabad Fort

Once down we started moving towards the more famous Ellora Caves which is roughly 7 miles from here. Grishneshwer Jyotirlinga was also in the list which is surprisingly a stone throw from Ellora Caves.