2023 is off to a lousy start blogging-wise. As much as I wanted to spend time writing last week, I was all out of ideas. The new year hasn’t really had that ideal start for me with the year starting off with a big fight with my father. (Yay?) The fight triggered A LOT of negativity for me and I’ve just been trying to recover from it. So I decided to continue on my quest to rediscover my love for my city – Delhi. Despite having lived in the city for a long time, I still haven’t seen a lot of places including the one we visited this weekend i.e. Tughluqabad Fort.
On a freezing morning, we headed to the Fort to hear stories about it and explore the massive fort area. The fort is a little offbeat since most tourists prefer to explore the better-preserved Red Fort. But this also means that there are far lesser tourists in the fort. We went to Red Fort two weeks back and there were thousands of people flocking the fort but there were only a handful of people at the Tughluqabad Fort. The Tugluabad Fort lies in ruins near the outskirts of South Delhi.
How it began: The story and history of the Fort are hauntingly beautiful. The Fort was built 700 years back in 1321 by Ghiyasuddin Tughluq, the first king of the Tughluq dynasty. The story of his ascension to the throne is a really interesting one. The former king (Mubarak Shah) was killed by his lover (Khusrau Khan) who then took over the throne for a short period before Ghiyasuddin dethroned him and became the king.
The curse: The building of this HUGE fort took 2 years and Tughluq ordered every labourer in Delhi to work on nothing else during the construction of the Fort. It is said that the great sufi saint, Nizammudin Auliya was also constructing a baoli (step-well) at the same time. The labourers would go work for him during the night and end up exhausted at the Fort construction site during the day. The King wanted to put an end to the situation and banned the sale of oil to ensure that oil lamps couldn’t be lit during the night to enable the labourers to work. And so Nizammudin cursed the Fort saying “ya rahe ujjar ya base gujjar” meaning either the fort will remain desolate or be an abode for nomads.
Although Tughluq was able to complete the construction of this enormous fort, he died soon after in 1324 (it is fabled that his son killed him). His son then moved the capital of the Kingdom to Daulatabad and the fort fell into disuse fulfilling the Sufi Saint’s curse.
The fort lies majorly in ruins as of today. Although across the road from the fort lies Tughluq’s Tomb built during the construction of the fort itself. The Tomb is well-preserved and extremely beautiful.
I was so glad we did this despite the low low temperatures in Delhi. I loved exploring a new-old part of Delhi. It gives me so much perspective about life, longevity, and legacy. This is also my way of falling in love with my city and romanticizing my life. If you live in a city with a lot of heritage, I definitely recommend revisiting or touring the places as an adult to fall in love with your city and appreciate it more. How is your new year going? How is 2023 treating you?
Note 1: We went on a heritage walk organized by INTACH Delhi. They announce new heritage walks weekly on their Instagram page. The cost per walk is usually Rs.400. There are around 30 people for the walks usually. There are multiple such organizations conducting these walks. City Tales and Enroute Indian History have great walks too!
Note 2: The tomb portion of the Fort has a lot of monkeys. Please don’t carry food packets/water bottles in your hands. Please do not engage with them (like you might in the Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest).
Note 3: The entry ticket to the fort for Indians is Rs.20.
If you haven’t already, check out my other recent posts –
- Banaras – The City of Light & Liberation: Moksha-Prakāshikā Kāshī (Travel Guide)
- January 2023 Check-in: Where Have I Been?
- Has a book changed your life? The Midnight Library – Book Review
- Delhi Heritage Walk – Tughluqabad Fort
- 2023: My Hopes and Wishes