Daulatbad Fort

Midway between Aurangabad and the Ellora Caves stands the impressive and historic fortress of Daulatabad, purported to be built over the remains of a Buddhist monastery.The fort, initially begun in 1187 AD by Bhilamraj Raja of the Hindu Yadava Dynasty, was at that time called Deogiri, “the hill of the gods.”Although this rock-hewn citadel was considered to be invulnerable it was eventually conquered and passed into the hands of the Sultans of Delhi around 1308 AD.In 1296, Ala-ud-din Kahlagi laid siege to the fort and defeated the Yadava prince.  From then on it remained in Muslim control.Legend has it that thirty years later Muhammad ibn Turghlauq moved his capital and most of its inhabitants from Delhi to Deogiri and renamed it Daulatabad, the “City of Fortune.”Alas the undertaking was not to last and it is said that seventeen years later the Sultan relocated the majority of the population of Daulatabad his capital to Delhi at the cost of many lives.However, the Sultan allowed many of the Chishti Sufis to remain behind spreading Islamic culture and Sufi spiritual ideas throughout the Deccan.

Over the centuries the fortress was extended refortified many times by subsequent Muslim rulers until the outer walls stretched six kilometers around the original citadel.The fortress sits six hundred feet high on the top of a pyramid shaped hill of volcanic lava rocks, and near its top is a reservoir fed by an underground natural source.The massive outer walls and supplemented by two additional inner walls and the entire complex contains many inner and outer moats and numerous subterranean passages.The unique defense system includes among other things heavy iron gates fortified with iron spikes to prevent the use of elephants to breach the gates.

Eruch reports that Baba did visit the fort with His disciples during various excursions to the Ellora Caves.During these visits, Baba and His mandali would sometimes proceed inside the fort complex to view the Tower of Victory.That is not to say that Daulatabad is without its own spiritual importance.Here lies the tomb of the Perfect Master, Janardan (d 1575), the guru of the poet-saint Eknath (d 1599), that Baba may have visited.Remarkably Janardan was renowned as both a military commander under Muslim rulers and a saint.Both saint and guru were Hindu but both were deeply influenced by the Deccan Sufi tradition and literature.