Part 2:  Brief History and Description of the Fort of Daulatabad

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

The Fort of Daulatabad is located at 19 degrees 57' north latitude, 75 degrees 14' east longitude in the Indian province of Maharashtra. It is sometimes referred to by its earlier name of Deogiri (or Devagiri), and is situated on and around a large basalt outcrop surrounded by plains. Daulatabad was one of thirty-nine forts which comprised a line running from the north to the south in western Maharashtra. It was of pivotal importance for the defense of the Deccan, being the largest and strongest fortification after crossing the Narmada river, and its defensive capabilities were especially important from 1600-1800. According to M. S. Naravane, Daulatabad may have been the strongest fort in all of India.

The entire complex is comprised of four principle walled areas built in consecutive stages: the hill (known as Deogiri), the Kalakot, the Mahakot, and the Ambarkot. The Kalakot and Mahakot extend from the eastern base of the hill. The former is a small fortified region directly below the scarp. The Mahakot flanks the hill to the north, east and west. It contains the ruins of a large Shah Jahani palace (the Daulat-Khana), the Jami Masjid, and two large baths. The Ambarkot is the largest of the four fortified areas and surrounds the Mahakot towards the east, north and south.

Deogiri, the hill fort, is the distinguishing feature of Daulatabad. It rises approximately 200 meters high and rests upon a base of granite scarp reaching 65 meters in height. Its top is very uneven and not uniform in width. At its highest point sits a gun turret, and directly below rests the hilltop palace, facing northeast.