There are places which are hidden by the time and where nature gradually resumes its rights. It is difficult to imagine that these places are steeped in history. This is what happens at Devgiri fort (Daultabad fort)

Devgiri: mythological origins

Before being called Daultabad, this place was named Devagiri, literally means mountain of gods. In Hindu mythology, Shiva came to observe the region from the top of the mountain. From this mythological past, they have remained a temple at the top of Daultabad.
Temple de Shiva au sommet de Daultabad

Temple of Shiva at the top of Daultabad

 A strategic location and the first capital

Although there are traces of occupation of the mountain since 100 BC, it was the Yadava who made Daultabad, a fort. In 1187, Bhillama V, a Yadava prince, established his new capital on Devgiri Mountain.
The Yadavas are an ancient people who think they are descended from Yadu, a king from the mythology cited in the Puranas. Bhillama V comes from the Seuna dynasty, who claim to be from Yadava. They are commonly called the Yadava of Devgiri. Daultabad remained the capital until the fall of their empire in 1313.
During their reign, they endowed their capital with three lines of defence protected by watch towers. They also built a unique entry system to trap their enemies inside the citadel. They also built the dark tunnels that are still difficult to cross to get to the top of the mountain. All these defensive techniques allowed the citadel to be one of the rare strongholds in the world which have been never invaded. Indeed, all the occupants of these places have always surrendered.

The capital of India

A legend tells that the first time Muhammad bin Tughluq saw Devgiri, he fell in love with it and decided to make it his capital. In fact, historians has given strategic reasons for this decision. Muhammad bin Tughluq was a sultan from Delhi from 1325 to 1351. He was the second king of the Tughluq dynasty which was founded by his father, Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq.
carte du sultanat de Delhi

Delhi sultana map


During his reign he greatly enlarged his empire. And that is precisely what would have decided to transfer his capital from Delhi to Devgiri.

Daultabad (name given by the Sultan) was central to the territorial evolution of the empire. His changes in capital was a decision of more tactical than love.
In addition, Muhammad bin Tughluq would have wanted to make his new capital a center of Islamic culture on the Indian subcontinent. This would have allowed him to have better control over the Deccan region, by reducing Hindu rebellions. He invited many ulemas for this purpose. This worked rather well since the area is known as the Valley of Saints. Khultabad was a spiritual capital in the 15th century.

A complicated and unsustainable capital change

For the success of the transfer, Muhammad bin Tughluq had to force the inhabitants of Delhi to leave. For this he used force. Ziauddin Barani, a politician of the time, observed: “Without consulting or weighing the pros and cons, he ruined Delhi, which for 170 to 180 years, prospered and rivalled Baghdad and Cairo.The city with its Sarais and its The suburbs and its villages stretched for four or five leagues. Everything was destroyed (in the abandoned sense), there was no longer a cat or a dog.”
The transfer began in 1328 and was completed in 1331. Many people died during the largest population movement in Indian history after the 1945 partition.
Daultabad remained a capital of empire less than 10 years because in 1339, Muhammad bin Tughluq decided to go back to Delhi. For all this, he inherited the nickname of crazy king. The lack of water and the invasions to the north of the empire defeated the will of Muhammad bin Tughluq.
On his death, the Sultanate of Delhi arrived to the foot of Devgiri for the empire of Bahmani in the Deccan. Even if Daultabad was the capital, it never had the prestige it could have been in being the capital of the Indian subcontinent.
This city become a secondary city included with different kingdoms or empire.

Abandoned monument

As often when a place has had a glorious past, it has a duller present. Today, Devgiri Fort is a tourist attraction that attracts more school buses or students than national or international tourists. Located on the highway to the famous caves of Ellora, people usually stops to just take a picture from a far end.

In a future article, we will talk about beauties to discover inside and around the fort.

If you are interested in a guided tour, do not hesitate to contact us.

Akvin tourisme

Author Akvin tourisme

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