Location: Aurangabad, Maharashtra
Built In: 11th Century
Built By: Raja Bhillamraj
Dynasty: Yadav Dynasty
Other names: Daulatabad Fort
Built by Raja Bhillamraj in 11th century on a conical shaped hill over 200 meters high, Devagiri Fort is one of the major tourist destinations in the region. This imposing structure of medieval period is situated at a distance of about 12 km from Aurangabad city. In ancient times, Devagiri was also known by the name Deogiri, meaning the land of prosperity. The earliest records of Deogiri reveal that, the city lied on an important caravan route for the travelers. During the Yadav rule, the fort was constructed to guard the city against foreign invasion. Devagiri Fort subsequently came under many dynasties such as Khilji, Tulag, Bahamanis, Mughals and finally the Nizams of Hyderabad. During the reign of Mohamad bin Tughlaq, Daulatabad was declared the state capital. Nizam of Hyderabad was the last ruler who held the Devagiri Fort until 16th September 1948.
History of The Fort
The history of the Devagiri Fort dates back to 11th century A.D. The fort was built during the reign of Raja Bhillamraj of Yadav dynasty. Raja Bhillamraj is believed to have waged war against Chalukyas, Holysalas and Paramaras and emerged victorious after which he established Deogiri as his capital. By 1294, the fort came under the domination of Ala-ud-din Khilji after he launched a successful military expedition in the region. In 1301, the fort was captured by Malik Kafur, a Muslim ruler. Later, it became important headquarter for Delhi Sultanate rulers. Muhammad Bin Tughlaq made an attempt to shift his capital from Delhi to Devagiri, which was re-named as Daulatabad in 1328. The fort then fell in hands of Gulbarga chieftain, Zafar Khan. Around 1347, Hasan Gangu Bahamani established Bahamaini kingdom in Daulatabad region. Their rule lasted for 150 years. Until 1526, the Devagiri Fort remained under the rule of Bhamanis. After the downfall of Bahamani kingdom, Nizamsahi of Ahmednagar ruled over Daulatabad from 1499 onwards. Under this rule, a new township called khadki was founded and was named Aurangabad. Mughal Emperor Akbar invaded the fort and briefly occupied it. Then the successive Mughal rulers such as Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb laid claims to the Devagiri Fort. The last Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb made Daulatabad the capital of his southern territory. After the death of Aurangazeb in 1707, Devagiri Fort came under the jurisdiction of Nizam of Hyderabad, the founder of Asafjahi Dynasty although, it was briefly held by Peshwa ruler, Sadashivrao Bahu Peshwa from 1760 to 1762.
Architectural Layout Of The Fort
The outer walls of the fort measures 4.43 km in circumference. The base of the upper fort is fortified by three concentric lines of defensive walls referred to as kots. The outer line called Amberkot encircles the Daulatabad old town. The second outer line called Mahakot works as a boundary of the fort. Around this line, one can see water pool and the main entrance with eight other gates. The inner line is the Kalakot where one can find moat, escarpment and rough passage chiseled out of rock.
The important features of the fort include stepped wells or baolies, Aam Khas Rang Mahal, Hathi Haud or elephant tank, court buildings, Baradari, mandir, Chini Mahal, Bharatmata Hammam and Chand Minar. The Chand Minar, about 70 ft in circumference, was erected by Ala-ud-din Bahmani in 1445 to signify the conquest of the fort. Around this tower, there are masonry tank and Jumma masjid. At the end of lower fort is Chini Mahal where the last ruler of Golconda, Abdul Hasan Tana Shah was incarcerated by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1687.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and state archaeological department are the two agencies responsible for the maintenance of this historical fort.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit the fort is between October and March. The fort is open to visitors from 9 am to 6 pm on all days. The entry fee charge is Rs. 10 and Rs. 100 for foreign tourists.
How to Reach
- Devagiri Fort, located in Aurangabad is well connected by roadways, railways and airports.
- There are plenty of buses plying from Mumbai to Aurangabad.
- The nearest railway station is Aurangabad. Tapovan Express and Devgiri Express are the two trains that connect Aurangabad town to Mumbai city.
- The nearest airport is Aurangabad airport, located just 10 km away from Aurangabad town which is connected to all the important cities in India.
Around The Fort
The other interesting tourist spots near the fort are Aam Khas Rang Mahal, Hathi haud or elephant tank, court buildings, Baradari, mandir, Chini Mahal , Bharatmata Hammam and Chand Minar. The famous Ellora Cave is located just 16 km from Devagiri Fort.
Devagiri Fort sustained under successive medieval rulers such as Tughlaq, Bahamanis and Mughals. This medieval monument today attracts many tourists from all over the world owing to its historical significance. Devagiri Fort is an interesting historical place to visit in Aurangabad.