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Daulatabad ;Persian meaning “City of Prosperity”), is a 14th century fort city in Maharashtra, India, about 16 kilometers northwest of Aurangabad. The place, was once as known as Deogiri, (circa the sixth century AD, when it was an important uplands city along caravan routes and is now but a village, based around the former city of the same name.

Starting 1327, it famously remained the capital of Tughlaq dynasty, under Muhammad bin Tughluq (r. 1325-1351), who also changed its name, and forcibily moved the entire population of Delhi here, for two years, before it was abandoned due to lack of water.

The area of the city includes the hill-fortress of Devagiri (sometimes Latinised to Deogiri). It stands on a conical hill, about 200 meters high. Much of the lower slopes of the hill has been cut away by Yadava dynasty rulers to leave 50 meter vertical sides to improve defenses. The fort is a place of extraordinary strength. The only means of access to the summit is by a narrow bridge, with passage for not more than two people abreast, and a long gallery, excavated in the rock, which has for the most part a very gradual upward slope.

Daulatabad is just 16 km from Aurangabad and is easily accessible by road. Visit to the Daulatabad fort is a half day affair. One can book a taxi cab from Aurangabad from near the central bus stand. Its advisable to go for taxis through the authorized taxi union which has its office just adjacent to the 'out gate' of the central bus stand. Alternatively, single tourist can also go by the state transport buses or many private buses which ply from Aurangabad.

The marvellous 'bhul bhullaiya' (Maze) follows the trench and is a dark corridor maze which anyone has to pass to climb further up. The bhul bhullaiya has some perfect traps for the enemy where he could slip and slide down directly into the trench ! The 'bhul bhullaiya guides' present there would explain many things and show you around using a flame torch for a price. For the non-enthusiast, you can always take the outer stairs constructed later by the government.

Many tourists back off after this but for the committed and enthusiastic, you would like to climb further up and in the end, you reach the Moghul Pavilion (the white colored structure at the top) which seems to be the top of the fort.

It would be a nice idea to club the visit to Daulatabad with Aurangzeb's tomb at Khultabad, Bhadra Maruti Mandir, Ellora Caves (11 km ahead) and the Grisneshwar Temple of Lord Shiva

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Additional Photos by Paramantapa Dasgupta (paramantapa) Silver Note Writer [C: 6 W: 0 N: 10] (151)
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