|Type : Hill forts||Fort Range : Aurangabad|
|District : Aurangabad||Grade : Medium|
| Out of the 500+ forts in Maharashtra, Devagiri is considered as one of the most important forts, and has been the symbol of greatness. It has been a major witness of great dynasties in the Medieval era.
| The Sabhasad Bakhar has described this fort as a huge fort but less in height. This fort, which was built by King Bhillam, was described as a kingdom so magnificent that matched Lord Indra’s kingdom. Devagiri was also known as “Devgad”, “Surgiri” and “Dhargiri”. This fort was named as “Daulatabad” by Muhammad bin Tughluq, who moved his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad.
|Fascinating Spots :|
| Daulatabad is situated in the central part of Maharashtra, near Aurangabad city, a part of the Deccan Plateau. The terrain around the mountain of Devagiri flat, and hence it was necessary to have a strong fortification. The fort is protected by 4 layers of protective walls, which divides it in distinct sections. The section within the outermost wall is around the Daulatabad town which is called “AmberKot”. This is said to be built during the Nizamshahi rule by Malik Amber. Then is the second layer of protective walls which engulfs the Fort premises and this section is called “Mahakot”. After that we can see the main fort which is called as “Kalakot”. The fourth protective layer after Kalakot is the “Balakot”, which comprises the walls on the fort. The outmost “Ambarkot” used to have seven entrances, which were named after the surrounding villages of those entrances. The entrance of Lasur is one of them, which is pointing towards Lasur village.
|1. Buildings / Structures on the fort :|
| The walls surrounding the main entrance gate are still in good shape. A well-designed moat is dug along the entire “Amberkot”. There is a small bridge to cross the moat. The internal structure in the moat is worth watching. The distance between the Amberkot and the inner wall is about 100 feet. The entrance of the fort lies in between these walls. The wooden doors of this gate are still intact, on which we can find big iron spikes of around 12 cm length. Entering through this gate, we can see 5-6 porches meant for guards at the right hand side. There is a canon near these porches. The arrangement here is such that any enemy entering the gates is subject to attack from all sides. In the buildings at the front side, there are few cannons called as “Sutarnaal” (small cannons usually transported using camels). There is an eagle sculpture at the base of the second entrance. This entrance also has porches for guards. A path from here goes to the bastion guarding these entrances. We can see some sculptures lying here, which seem to be the parts of an old temple and were later used in construction of the ramparts and the bastions.
In the fort premises, we can see Jain temples at the front side. Also there is a “Deepmaal”. There are two plinths of about 5-6 ft. height near the arch of the door.
If we head rightwards, we come across huge cannon on the way. After a small distance from there, we can see a well which is constructed with bricks and arches. It has steps for descending. There are few buildings with arches on the back side of this well.
|2. Hatti Talav :|
|If we head straight on the main path from the second entrance, we come across some buildings on the right. Exactly opposite to these on the left side, we can see a big water cistern which is about 38 meter long, 38 meter wide and 66 meter height and has a potential to store 10000 cubic meter of water. This might have been the main source of water for the entire fort.|
|3. Bharatmata Temple :|
|“Bharatmata” temple is at the back side of the water reservoir and is the temple dedicated to mother India. There are many sculptures lying on the way to this temple. The magnificence of this temple can be seen only after entering inside. There is no roof for the courtyard but all pillars are still intact. Overall the temple looks like from ancient time of ‘Yadavas’. There is a big statue of “Bharatmata” inside the temple.|
|4. Chand Minar :|
| Chand Minar is a prominent tower of height about 100 meters near “Bharatmata” temple. It is said that, Sultan Ahmed Shah constructed this tower to commemorate the victory over Gujarat. The tower is constructed by “Irani” construction style. Its 30m high shaft is divided into four stages, separated by diminishing circular balconies on projecting brackets. There are steps inside the tower to reach at the top; also there are small windows for ventilation and sunlight. Nowadays, it’s prohibited to enter inside this tower.
Some dilapidated structures can be seen at the back side of the Chand Minar. There were few palaces, mosques and a “Hamamkhana” (bath place) situated here. All monuments from the forts are gathered and kept in one of the buildings here. Different cannons, the sculptures found on the temples are also kept here. This place is also decorated with beautiful garden. We should come back to main way/road/trail after watching all these; this front way takes us to main Devagiri fort. The “Kalakot” can be seen at the front, where as the shattered structures of a Hemadpanthi temple can be seen at the right side. Pillars of this temple are still intact.
|5. Kalakot Devagiri :|
| The first entrance of “Kalakot” has strong bastions at both the sides. We can start climbing main Devagiri fort after passing through this gate. The trail turns to right after entering through this gate. On this path, we can see a hall for the soldiers to rest. Next to this is the second entrance of “Kalakot” which is called as “Dindi Darwaja”, the wooden doors of which are still intact. Some porches for guards can be seen next to that. Few steps ahead take us to a dilapidated palace called as “Chini Mahal”, which was used for keeping prisoners on the fort. The left route from the entrance takes us to “Nizamshahi” palace, which has multiple rooms and halls, which indicate that this was the royal residence of the Bahmani and Nizam kings. There are few caves at the back side of this palace.
The trail behind the palace takes us to some Buddhist caves. There is a circular bastion in front of the palace, which hosts the main cannon on this fort. The cannon about 23 feet long, is kept on this bastion in such a way that, it can be rotated in any direction. It’s called as “Mendha Tof”. The closed end of the cannon is fashioned as a ram’s face, hence called as “Mendha Tof”. The article (note) written on the cannon has called it as “Killa Shikan” that means “The one which destroys a fort”. We can see the complete moat around Devagiri from this bastion.
|6. The Moat :|
| This moat around Devagiri is cut from the base of the mountain itself. It is 20 meter wide and has two bridges on it for crossing. One is an iron draw-bridge at the ground level while another old one is made up of rocks and stones at little lower level. There are two walls for maintaining water level in the trench. The trench was made in such a way, that if the enemy penetrates the main wall, the moat was filled with water enough to drown the rock bridge and the upper bridge was drawn.
The main hill of the fort is scraped on sideways to make the bottom (about 200 ft. above ground) steep and slippery.
|7. Bhoolbhulaiya (The Maze) :|
|The trail after crossing the bridge takes us to the third entrance. The narrow way here can hold maximum 10 to 12 people. The next rock cut trail takes us to a “Chowk” where few dark rooms like caves can be seen in front. From here starts the “Bhoolbhulaiya” or the Maze, which is a long tunnel meant for entrapment of the enemies. On the entrance of the tunnel are the sculptures of “Kirti-Mukh”. After entering inside, a narrow open space without roof can be seen, which can hold maximum 4-5 people. One has to climb the steps at the right side, because that is the only way to go ahead. The rock wall at the right side has a small window in it, which looks like an escape tunnel and leads into another trap. There are two steps carved below this window, from here one will directly fall into the trench. The actual tunnel way of about 50 to 60 ft is at the left side. There are small windows at some places in this tunnel way. Through these windows the army can trouble the enemy by pouring boiling oil and chilies onto them. There are few steps ahead for leading towards the fort. The next defensive trick was, releasing the smoke of hot chilies and oil into the tunnel by keeping a hot pan at the top of the tunnel way. This fort was made as impervious as possible by applying various such tricks. It was very difficult to conquer such invincible, inaccessible and strong fort. After crossing the tunnel way and reaching the fort, we can see few steps which are carved in the rock.|
|8. Other Places :|
| A lord Ganesha temple from recent times can be seen after climbing some steps. An extensive octagonal building called as ‘Bardari’ is seen after climbing around 150 steps. Mughal governor used to stay here. Dome shaped roof, nicely carved windows, octagonal rooms and balconies are seen in this building. The door at right side takes us to the “Bijali Darwaja”. A very big bastion can be seen after crossing this place. This bastion has a cave within it. The right side of this has a tank of potable water; whereas left side has sacred footprints of “Janardan Swami”. A cannon embedded in wood can also be seen here, which is called as “Kala Pahad”. It needs climbing of 100 steps to reach the top of the bastion. Here, a cannon about 20 ft. long, named as “Durga” or “Dhuldhaan” can be seen. The complete area around the fort can be seen from this bastion. The widely spread “Amberkot” fortification can also be seen. It takes a day to see the fort completely.
Devagiri was the most important fort in the medieval history. It was ruled by various dynasties and has been the symbol of great culture of this country.
|Ways To Reach :|
|Devagiri is situated 17 km to the north-west of Aurangabad city, NH 211. State transport buses from Aurangabad to Dhule, Kannad, Chalisgaon and Khuldabad take us to the fort. Private vehicles or jeeps are also available from Aurangabad city.
|Accommodation Facility :|
|No accommodation available on the fort. Aurangabad is well developed as a tourist center with numerous hotels.
|Food Facility :|
|Restaurants are available in front of the fort.
|Drinking Water Facility :|
|No drinking water on the fort, available in the restaurants.
|Time To Reach :|
|Half an hour from Aurangabad city.|
|Best Season To Visit :|
|All year round|
|Devagiri fort, the tomb of Aurangzeb, Caves of Ellora (Verul) and the water mill of Aurangabad, all these can be seen in one-two days. There are daily guided tours arranged by Maharashtra tourism Board, which takes us to these places.|