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 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.

 

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