Tughlaqabad is considered to be the third extant city of Delhi, after Lal Kot (built in mid-eleventh century by the Tomars) and Siri (built by the second ruler of the Khalji Dynasty, Alauddin Khalji). The Tughlaq Dynasty that ruled a large part of India from Delhi enjoyed the prowess of three prominent rulers: Ghiasuddin Tughlaq, his son Muhammad bin Tughlaq, and his nephew Firoz Shah Tughlaq. The dynasty that stayed in power for almost a century (ad 1320–1412) constructed major areas on the southern outskirts of the capital, including the three cities, Tughlaqabad, Jahanpanah, and Firozabad, as well as other forts, tombs, and mosques. Ghiasuddin Tughlaq, the founder of the Tughlaq Dynasty was the slave of the last sultan of the Khalji Dynasty and had dreamt of raising a city from those days. Gaining power after the ruler’s death in ad1320, Ghiasuddin Tughlaq, during his short reign (ad1320–24), built Tughlaqabad, the second fortified city, spanning across nearly 6.5 km, over a period of only four years. Tughlaqabad, located along Mehrauli-Badarpur Road stands on a high outcrop of rock towards the south-eastern edge of Delhi.
The fortified city is easily accessible from the nearby metro station, named after the city itself. Ghiasuddin’s city is distinctly divided into three parts: the wider city area, originally built along a rectangular grid towards north, the citadel, and the adjacent palace that once held the royal residences, towards south-west. The city area, with residences and commercial settlements is now mostly in ruin with recent developments towards north-east. The fort with remarkable, massive stone fortifications surrounds the irregular ground plan of the city. The walls built of random rubble masonry in places rise to a height of nearly 30 m and have a pronounced batter with frequent bastions and numerous slits. A mausoleum, probably built during Ghiasuddin’s own lifetime, is sited within a vast (now dry) water reservoir along the south of the city. Constructed of finely cut red sandstone and white marble, the mausoleum is connected to the city through a causeway that spans across a length of approximately 120 m. Along the same side, lies another fort named Adilabad that was built by Muhammad bin Tughlaq. The fort, similar in style, with an outer and inner fortification is much smaller in scale than Tughlaqabad Fort. About 800 m south-east of Adilabad, is yet another fort known as the Nai ka Kot that is believed to have been built by Muhammad bin Tughlaq as a private residence before he built Adilabad. These forts and mausoleum, maintained by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) are a testimony to the city’s grandeur and give an interesting peek into Delhi’s glorious past.