India // Delhi //

Tughluqabad

Some 15km southeast of Connaught Place on the Mehrauli–Badarpur Road, a rocky escarpment holds the crumbling 6.5km-long battlements of the third city of Delhi, Tughluqabad, built during the short reign of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq (1320–24). After the king’s death the city was deserted, probably due to the lack of a clean water source nearby. The most interesting area is the high-walled citadel in the southwestern part of the site, though only a long underground passage, the ruins of several halls and a tower now remain. The grid pattern of some of the city streets to the north is still traceable. The palace area is to the west of the entrance, and the former bazaar to the east.

The southernmost of Tughlaqabad’s thirteen gates still looks down on a causeway, breached by the modern road, which rises above the flood plain, to link the fortress with Ghiyas-ud-Din Tughluq’s tomb. The tomb is entered through a massive red-sandstone gateway leading into a courtyard surrounded by cloisters in the defensive walls. In the middle, surrounded by a well-kept lawn, stands the distinctive mausoleum, its sloping sandstone walls topped by a marble dome, and in its small way a precursor to the fine series of garden tombs built by the Mughals, which began here in Delhi with that of Humayun. Inside the mausoleum are the graves of Ghiyas-ud-Din, his wife and their son Muhammad Shah II. Ghiyas-ud-Din’s chief minister, Jafar Khan, is buried in the eastern bastion, and interred in the cloister nearby is the sultan’s favourite dog.

The later fortress of Adilabad, built by Muhammad Shah II in much the same style as his father’s citadel, and now in ruins, stands on a hillock to the southeast.