Feroz Shah Kotla or Firozabad is the first city of Delhi to have been built on the banks of Yamuna. What was once a majestic citadel is today believed to be the home of djinns. According to believers, these spirits or djinns have the power to set everything that is wrong in their lives. Feroz Shah Tughlak sure had in mind a very different set of inhabitants when he set out to construct this city! A ruler of the Delhi Sultanate, he established this fortress in 1354 with a view of creating a new capital city for Delhi according to his creative tastes. Located near Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg in between New and Old Delhi, the most fascinating thing about this city is a piece of marvelous architecture that dates back to the third century B.C. Though the city itself lies in ruins, a polished sandstone pillar stands tall within the premises of the fort. It was one of the many pillars that the Mauryan emperor Ashoka had erected in different parts of the country. This specific pillar was relocated from Pong Ghati in Ambala, Punjab to its current location by Tughlak in 1358. The only other thing that remains standing of this grand fortress are parts of its 15 meters high walls.
The djinns or the recent inhabitants of this city are considered to have been living here since 1977 when a fakir named Ladoo Shah began living in its ruins. According to Anand Taneja, an anthropologist, it was after the Emergency that Muslims started to visit the ruins of this fort for praying to these spirits of justice from the medieval era. After suffering state excesses during the Emergency these disillusioned people, argues Taneja in this well written article, started approaching the djinns in search of a semblance of justice. Though people find Thursdays to be the most auspicious day to visit these spirits, the same day that holds significance for visiting Sufi saints, the two are completely different. People visiting the djinns of Firozabad paste hand written letters on the walls of the fortress. Chief among these djinns is the Laat waale baba who is believed to be residing in the pillar (Laat) Minar-e-Zarren. This, folks, is the same pillar that was erected by Ashoka around 2400 years ago! Whether or not you believe in the djinns, visit this place to get a glimpse of the tenacity with which people hold on to hope.
Nearest Metro Station: Pragati Maidan Station (Followed by a 2 km autorickshaw ride).