Lost World -The Ruined City Firoz Shah Kotla in Delhi, India

Firoz Shah Tughlaq or Feroz Shah Tughlaq (r. 1351–88), the Sultan of Delhi, established the fortified city of Ferozabad in 1354, as the new capital of the Delhi Sultanate on the banks of Yamuna river, the site of the present Feroz Shah Kotla, literally Kotla (fortress or citadel) of Feroz Shah. Here he erected the Lat or Ashoka Column, attributed to Mauryan ruler Ashoka. The 13.1 metres high column, made of polished sandstone and dating from the 3rd Century BC, was brought from Ambala by Feroz Shah. Here it stands on the uppermost section of a three-tiered arcaded palace pavilion located near the main royal residences and congregational mosque at the heart of the fortified area. Most of the city was destroyed as subsequent rulers dismantled its buildings and reused the spolia as building materials.

Firoz Shah built a new capital city on the banks of the Yamuna, called Firoz Shah Kotla, thereby abandoning the old fort-city of Tughlaqabad. Apart from the desire of the new Sultan to make his mark, this decision could also have been prompted by an increasingly irregular water supply at Tughlaqabad.

The fort itself was fairly straightforward, using common-sense building principles used the world over for buildings of a similar type.

The king’s quarters as well as those of his wives and concubines were situated along the river-front. Within the perimeter walls of the fort were structures serving as barracks, armouries, rooms for servants, halls for audience, an imposing mosque, as well as public and private baths, a stepped well or baoli, and an Ashokan pillar removed from Ambala and mounted on top of a pyramidal three-tiered construction. Symbolically, this was an icon of the Sultan’s supremacy in North India, very much like the Gupta Iron Pillar in the Q’uwwat-ul-Islam mosque at the Qutb.

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