What happened in 1321 is of little practical concern to most of us. Unless you’re going to pay a visit to the Tughlakabad Fort. Built by Ghiyaz Ud din Tughlaq, this fort holds its 6km large territory as strongly today as it ever did. Ghazi Malik wished the then Khalji king to build this fort and the king suggested to him that he could do so when he became king. Ghazi took it to heart and drove away the Khalji’s and gave life to the fort of his dreams.
Tucked away under Alaknanda and Okhla, it lies just ahead of Hamdard nagar on the Mehrauli-Badarpur road. As you park your car there is a small tourism booth nearby selling tickets to the Fort. It costs a mere Rs 5. Inside you’ll find tunnels, pathways, domes, arches and pillars all lying in ruins, letting your imagination only make up for everything that must have once stood there.
The catacombs hold small dark cells that look like one room dormitories. The towers are spread around the whole area and getting from one to another can be a task owing to the bushes and shrubs growing and also because there is no noticeable path around the fort. Once on top of one of these towers you can see the fort spread around and actually understand the magnitude of the citadel. A part of it also stands across the road near a large open field, almost as if an annex. Across the road also lies the mausoleum Of Ghyaz ud-din Tughlaq. This part is well maintained and not in ruins. The tomb is square and topped by a single dome with red sandstone sloping walls. It is cleaner and greener than the fort area although not every expansive. Here lies the graves of Ghyaz ud-din Tughlaq, his wife and son and successor Muhammad bin Tughlaq.
You could try and roam about the whole fort from one tower to another. Or better yet, carry some food laze atop your favourite one for a whole winter afternoon. You can watch the whole of Nehru Place, Okhla, the Lotus Temple from this vantage point and the metro scuttling around the city looks like a toy train. In the orange glow of the sun all of this looks surreal. If you don’t mind the villagers that have made this fort their daily haunt and take up a tower for themselves and laze around or play games. They aren’t very intrusive but there are quite a lot of people at the fort most of the time.
For a place that’s 15 minutes from CR park and takes you out of the usual city sights and sounds, Tughlakabad fort is a must visit. But when you do make sure you have at least half a day to spend there.