Tughlaqabad is a twelve miles to the south of modern Delhi. This fort and city was commenced in 721 A,H (1321 A.D) and completed in 723 (1323 A,D). Ferguson appropriately describes it as "the gigantic fort of an old patahan chief." It is an irregular half hexagon in shape, with three short sides facing the east, west and north, of rather more than three quarters of a mile in length each, and a base of a mile and a half on the south the former is protected by a deep ditch, and the latter by a large sheet of water, held up by artificial embankments at the south east corner. The whole circuit of tughlaqabad is only a furlong less than four miles. The fort stands on a rocky height surrounded by ravines,with a piece of low ground, probably the dry bed of a lake, on one side of it. The walls of the fort are built of massive blocks of stone, of r\extraordinary thickness, and contain two storeyed domed rooms. The largest stone which General Cunningham observed was 14 feet in length by (two and half) 2 ½ feet 2 inches,and 1 feet 10 inches in breadth, and must have weighed rather more than six tons.
The rock on the southern face is scarped, the walls above rise to a mean height of 40 feet, with a parapet pierced with low sloping loopholes and corned with a line of rude loop holed stone battlements of 7 feet. Behind this rises another wall of 15 feet, the whole height above the low ground being upwards of 90 feet, In the south west angle is the citadel, which occupies about one sixth of the area of the fort, were the quarters of the troops garrisoned in the fort. Some of the bastion are still in a fair state of preservation. The walls slope rapidly in wards, even as much as those of Egyptian buildings. But the cast size, the great strength and the visible solidity of the whole give to tughlaqabad.
The Citadel writes Franklin is strongly defended by ranges of towers and bastions, within which were the private apartments of the emperor here in times of danger he was perfectly secure, as the ascent even at this period is weeding and difficult, the rocks the gladiator of the place, the approaches to which were thus rendered almost impracticable. At the foot of the citadel is tank of great magnitude and depth, lined with stone, from which the garrison were supplied.
The general plans of these ruins, according to Mr. beggar, suggest a court-yard surrounded on three and sometimes on all, sides by rooms there was only one entrance to each such enclosure, and facing the side on which the entrance was is the hall, an oblong of about 15 or 20 feet by 12 feet wide on either side of this were small rooms communicating with the court-yard. Sometimes the hall had also a range of small rooms at the back all the rooms are furnished with numerous small arches but never a window opening outwards.
The ascent to the main gateway is steep and rocky, and now that the ruins of some of the inner rooms have tumbled into the passage which lead to it. , it is by no means an agreeable undertaking. The gateways are formed of masses of granite of huge dimensions, out of the rocks at the foot of the wall. The fort of tughlaqabad has 13 gates, and there are three inner gates to the citadel. According to Syud Ahmed khan, who follows tradition, there were 56 bastion and 52 gates in the fort and city of tughlaqabad.
It contains seven tanks for water besides the ruins of several large buildings, as the jama masjid and the Birij Mandir. There are three extensive baolius in perfect order there are apartments under ground from thirty twenty feet on it level with large wells or tanks of water faced with stone. The emperors consist of a suite of eight circular rooms with arched roofs and a space of two feet in diameter at top for the purpose of admitting light. The rooms are twenty feet in diameter and were used in th hot waether. The third baoli is suited near the citadel. There are tanks to each of these ranges of rooms 40 by 30 feet in length and breadth, all lined with free stone.
The upper part of thefort is full of ruined houses, while the lower appears never to have been fully inhabited. These sense of grandeur, which a distant view of the fort so strongly impresses on the spectator's mind is not sustained when he finds himself within the walls of the fort and admits its piles of ruins. The desolation which are surrounds him has no special claim to his attention, he has to walk out of the view of the debris of ruined walls and compartments and once more to look at the lofty walls and the commanding height of its massive bastions, before he can relise the majestic solidity of this magnificent fort.
Tughlaqabad belonged to the principality of Balabgarh, but it was annexed by the British Government for the complicity of its Raja in the rebellion of 1857. It is now an insignificant Gujar village, the importance of which is entirely due to its ruins. Nizam-uddin Aulia the saint of whom we shall have to speak at greater length hereafter, and who carried on a secret war against Sultan Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq shah, prophecies of this fort.