Once known as Devagiri,this mighty 12th century fort stands atop a hill,just 13 KMs from Aurangabad,on the way to Ellora.It was named as Daulatabad or the City of Fortune by Mohd bin Thughlaq.
Sturdy walls,artificial scarping and a complicated series of defense systems made the Fort completely impregnable.The very narrow path leading to the palace at the top of the Hill,gave total security to the Rulers!
One can still see the Bhavani Temple,Saraswath Well,Garden House,Masonry Tank and the beautiful Elephants carvings at the entrance,to remind the hlorioys periods of the Yadav Kings,before the forcible occupation of the Moghuls!
The city is said to have been founded c. 1187 by Bhillama V, a prince who renounced his allegiance to the Chalukyas and established the power of the Yadava dynasty in the west.
Daulatabad or ‘the abode of wealth’ was the name given by Muhammad-bin-Tughluq when he made his capital here in A.D. 1327. The original name being ‘Devagiri’ or ‘Deogiri’ meaning ‘Hill of Gods’ under the Yadavas of Deogiri. The Yadavas were initially ruling under the Chalukyas of Kalyani over region of modern Dhulia and Nasik districts with their capital at Chandradityapur,Nasik district. Bhillama V who was one of the powerful Yadava rulers led victorious campaigns against the Hoysalas, Paramaras and Chalukyas founded the city of Deogiri and shifted his capital here. Since then the succeeding Yadava rulers held their capital here. During the rule of Ramachandradeva, son of Krishna, Ala-ud-din Khilji invaded and captured Deogiri through deceit in A.D. 1296However, Ramachandradeva was allowed to rule from here as a vassal.
Later, Malik Kafur led two campaigns against Ramachandradeva and his son Shankardeva in A.D. 1306-07 and 1312 respectively; Shankardeva was killed during the latter campaign. Harapaladeva was placed on the throne by Malik Kafur who later ascertained his independence. This led to another successful campaign against Deogiri by Qutb-ud-din Mubarak Shah Khilji and the fort was annexed to the Delhi Sultanate. Muhammad-bin-Tughluq succeeded the Khiljis at Delhi and he renamed Deogiri as Daulatabad and seeing its impregnable fort, shifted the capital from Delhi in A.D. 1328. This led to serious repercussions and he had to again transfer the capital back to Delhi.
The region and the fort passed on into the hands of Bahamani rulers under Hasan Gangoo in A.D. 1347 and Nizam Shahis of Ahmednagar in A.D. 1499. Devagiri became the capital of Nizam Shah dynasty in 1607 A.D. Deccan witnessed turbulent periods due to the frequent invasions and infights between the local ruling families during this period. The mughals led several campaigns during the rule of Akbar and Shah Jahan and only during the latter’s period the area was fully captured in 1633 A.D. after a long siege of four months. Thus the Mughals seized power and Aurangazeb was placed as the Viceroy of Deccan who led his campaigns to Bijapur and Golconda from Devagiri. The rising power of raje shahi or maratha troubled the mahashahraj or mughals and for a brief period the region passed under the control of Marathas. Thus the Devagiri fort passed several hands, captured and re-captured, by the Mughals, the Marathas, the Peshwas, and finally placed under the control of the Nizams of Hyderabad in 1724 A.D. which was under their control till independence.
One must spend a few hrs to enjoy this age-old Fort which speaks volumes of the defense systems of the 10 th century AD!