1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Daulatabad

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DAULATABAD, a hill-fortress in Hyderabad state, India, about 10 m. N.W. of the city of Aurangabad. The former city of Daulatabad (Deogiri) has shrunk into a mere village, though to its earlier greatness witness is still borne by its magnificent fortress, and by remains of public buildings noble even in their decay. The fortress stands on a conical rock crowning a hill that rises almost perpendicularly from the plain to a height of some 600 ft. The outer wall, 23/4 m. in circumference, once enclosed the ancient city of Deogiri (Devagiri), and between this and the base of the upper fort are three lines of defences. The fort is a place of extraordinary strength. The only means of access to the summit is afforded by a narrow bridge, with passage for not more than two men abreast, and a long gallery, excavated in the rock, which has for the most part a very gradual upward slope, but about midway is intercepted by a steep stair, the top of which is covered by a grating destined in time of war to form the hearth of a huge fire kept burning by the garrison above. Besides the fortifications Daulatabad contains several notable monuments, of which the chief are the Chand Minar and the Chini Mahal. The Chand Minar, considered one of the most remarkable specimens of Mahommedan architecture in southern India, is a tower 210 ft. high and 70 ft. in circumference at the base, and was originally covered with beautiful Persian glazed tiles. It was erected in 1445 by Ala-ud-din Bahmani to commemorate his capture of the fort. The Chini Mahal, or China Palace, is the ruin of a building once of great beauty. In it Abul Hasan, the last of the Kutb Shahi kings of Golconda, was imprisoned by Aurangzeb in 1687.

Deogiri is said to have been founded c. A.D. 1187 by Bhillama I. the prince who renounced his allegiance to the Chalukyas and established the power of the Yadava dynasty in the west. In 1294 the fort was captured by Ala-ud-din Khilji, and the rajas, so powerful that they were held by the Mussulmans at Delhi to be the rulers of all the Deccan, were reduced to pay tribute. The tribute falling into arrear, Deogiri was again occupied by the Mahommedans under Malik Kafur, in 1307 and 1310, and in 1318 the last raja, Harpal, was flayed alive. Deogiri now became an important base for the operations of the Mussulman conquering expeditions southwards, and in 1339 Mahommed ben Tughlak Shah determined to make it his capital, changed its name to Daulatabad (“Abode of Prosperity”), and made arrangements for transferring to it the whole population of Delhi. The project was interrupted by troubles which summoned him to the north; during his absence the Mussulman governors of the Deccan revolted; and Daulatabad itself fell into the hands of Zafar Khan, the governor of Gulbarga. It remained in the hands of the Bahmanis till 1526, when it was taken by the Nizam Shahis. It was captured by the emperor Akbar, but in 1595 it again surrendered to Ahmad Nizam Shah of Ahmednagar, on the fall of whose dynasty in 1607 it passed into the hands of the usurper, the Nizam Shahi minister Malik Amber, originally an Abyssinian slave, who was the founder of Kharki (the present Aurangabad). His successors held it until their overthrow by Shah Jahan, the Mogul emperor, in 1633; after which it remained in the possession of the Delhi emperors until, after the death of Aurangzeb, it fell to the first nizam of Hyderabad. Its glory, however, had already decayed owing to the removal of the seat of government by the emperors to Aurangabad.