Conclusion and Further Research

 The Hilltop Palace of the Fort of Daulatabad, by Carl Lindquist

Containing numerous rooms capable of various functions, the hilltop palace at Daulatabad was designed in the style of an imperial residence. However, the difficulty in accessing the palace, and its distance from amenities such as the mosque and bath, indicate that it was intended as a place for retreat and not for everyday residential use. The panoramic view provided by the cloister of the building is a feature which made the structure particularly suitable as a place for recreation and retreat.

Like many examples of Mughal architecture, the palace was intended in part as a symbol of imperial presence and strength. Its position and orientation allowed it to be visible throughout the fort and by all approaches to Daulatabad. Located high on the hill of Deogiri, it remains today the most conspicuous structure within the fort. The construction of the palace, requiring the removal of previous buildings, altered the appearance of the citadel and the fort as a whole. By so doing, the hilltop palace announced the changed ownership of the fort.

The hilltop palace was likely commissioned by Shah Jahan, a vigorous builder who recognized the political power of architecture. The palace was closely based on the design of an earlier Shah Jahani structure, the Daulat-Khana: both buildings share a similar floor plan and external appearance, and both were designed using the Shah Jahani gaz. The most likely year of commission of the hilltop palace is 1636, when Shah Jahan stayed in the fort for several months.

The Daulat-Khana, which was completed in 1636, immediately became associated with Mughal presence within the region. Therefore, repeating the design of this building near the citadel of the fort would be a particularly effective way of projecting Mughal dominion. The strategic importance of Daulatabad for control of the Deccan, a goal long-sought by the Mughals, made the citadel of this fort a well-suited site for a structure which would announce imperial presence and authority.

Suggestions For Further Research

It has been suggested by Virginia Fass and by Sidney Toy that the hilltop palace rests on the foundation of a previous structure, perhaps built during the Yadav period. Irregularities of stones used in the lower foundation give credence to this possibility, and study of the 1633 Mughal miniature by Murar show earlier structures in the precise location of the hilltop palace. Therefore, the structural chronology of the citadel needs further examination. A complete record of the hilltop palace will include examination of the foundation, elevations throughout the building, and measurements of the upper and lower portions.

While the hilltop palace is in a good state of preservation, its architectural precedent, the Daulat-Khana, is in a state of ruin. It has been stripped of its plaster and its walls and ceilings are in the process of caving in. The layout of the rooms adjacent to the courtyard can be determined only through the process of excavation. Two wings originally adjoined the burj section, and of these only the one to the south remains, largely disintegrated. It is hoped that better preservation and excavational study will result in complete formal documentation of the Daulat-Khana.