Our heritage walk to Tughluqabad is one of the most awaited events. It always gets a large crowd, last year we had 55 people, this year, 62. And winters are the perfect time to visit this massive site. There is large area to be explored, and walking here is almost a mini trek, with its rocky terrain & ruins almost consumed by vegetation. Add to it the reputation of its builders, the dynasty of the Tughluqs & the notorious tiff between the rulers & Nizamuddin Auliya, the revered Chishti sufi saint, which led to the site & the dynasty being cursed. The site has a sense of mystery that inspires awe among all its explorers & the legends magnify the sense of wonder. Perhaps this is what makes Tughluqabad one of the most interesting sites in Delhi.
Our heritage walks starts at the entrance to the fort, near the ticket counter. The fort itself is divided into three areas: the citadel, the palace area & the city. This heritage trail covers the first two & then the tomb of Ghiyasuddin Tughluq which stands across the road from the fort. It takes at least half a day to cover these three. And there remains much more to be explored such as the dam on Mehrauli Badarpur Road, Adilabad Fort, Nai Ka Kot. Much of the city has been taken over by a modern village which infact grows every day. So, many of the ruins which were visible 10 years ago, do not survive anymore. Recently there was an ASI directive asking the residents to vacate as the former claimed ownership of land. The residents in turn argued that they have been staying here for generations. The matter is in court.
As we walk through the palace area we explore the fortification walls, a baoli, a gateway now called the Hathi Gate, granaries, farm lands, & official court buildings which included multiple courtyards with gateways & a ceremonial ground. The palace area also includes the East gate to the city & what are believed to be stables. The citadel has evidence of palace buildings of private nature, including remains of a late Mughal settlement. There are underground rooms, a baoli, a small mosque, a secret escape route & the Jahan numa or the Vijay Mandal. The last is the highest point here & offers a great view of the entire city, the massive fortifications, the tomb of Ghiyasuddin Tughluq, the Mehrauli Badarpur Road which was created by breaching the causeway, the site of the lake which surrounded the tomb & the Adilabad fort. That’s when one senses the magnificence of these ruins frozen in time.
(posted by Kanika Singh & Kavita Singh, team members, Delhi Heritage Walks)