Modernity pierces fort link | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Modernity pierces fort link

A Sunday column in which HT explores a place in today’s Delhi and finds out what it used to be once, Nivedita Khandekar reports.

delhi Updated: Sep 09, 2012 00:05 IST
Nivedita Khandekar

It is a classic case of how increasing urban demand has gnawed at an ancient causeway to facilitate the modern traffic.

The Mehrauli-Badarpur Road has pierced the ancient stone wall at the entrance of the 14th century Tughlaqabad Fort.

It used to be a causeway connecting the fort with the tomb of Ghias-ud-Din Tughlaq — the architect of the fort town of Tughlaqabad, the third city of Delhi — across the road.

The Gazetteer of Delhi published in 1912 provides a picturesque description of the then surroundings.

“It is situated in the midst of an artificial lake, fed by the overflowing of the Hauz Shamshi and by a lot of natural drains, which flowed into the base of the fort and which at one time must have formed one of its natural defenses. It is connected with the fortress by a causeway 600 feet in length, supported by 27 arches.”

There was a kuchcha road running below the arches. “I remember cycling to the school on the barely 20ft wide kuchcha road passing below the causeway,” said Ramesh Bidhuri, a resident of the ancient village of Tughlaqabad and an MLA from the area.

He also recalls how the area to the south of the fort was rocky terrain and during rains, brought silt flowing towards a nullah that flowed below the causeway, parallel to the road, flowing towards the Yamuna.

Over the years, layers piled upon layers increasing the height of the road, which has ultimately resulted in the truncated causeway.