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Once I pass through the naqar khana of the Sharza Darwaza, I see one of the most beautiful sights. An awesome view of the fortifications simply awed me to the core. I am sure that anyone would love that sight. Imagine those days when king was moving inside the fort with soldiers guarding the gateways and the sides. On the left stretches the lines of ramparts with bastions in between and having a passage along the basements for the use of garrison firing at, and hurling missiles on the enemy during siege.
To the north-west, stands the Gumbad Darwaza, which is a most massive structure, the appearance of which presents a striking contrast to the somewhat weak and decorative features of the first two gateways. The distance between the Sharza and Gumbad Darwaza is considerable, but they are connected by a broad passage which is well defended on both sides by massive construction. Two to three thousand solders can easily be posted between these two gateways in time of danger.
The architecture of the Gumbad Darwaza forms an important landmark in the history of Deccan monuments. Its battering walls, its low arch shaped parapet, its fluted corner turrets (guldastas), and its hemispherical dome are all reminiscent of the contemporary architecture of Delhi, but the shape of its outer arch with its significant stilt show Persian influence which gradually became more and more prominent in the buildings of Deccan. The span of this arch is 29 feet. With a view to greater security, the entrance through the Darwaza is through a recessed arch of much smaller dimensions than the outer one, and is fitted with doors plated with iron. The walls of the Darwaza rise 45 feet, above which the dome is built. You would not believe when I say that the thickness of the dome is 10 feet. The interior of the gateway has platforms on either side of the passage for the accommodation of the guards.
From its style of architecture, the gateway seems to be of the earliest period, and it is not unlikely that it was built by Ahmed Shah Wali when he laid the foundations of the fort in 1429. The bastions adjoining the front seem to be later additions built at different periods. We can clearly understand this as they are architecturally not welded into the main body of the gateway, as they cover portions of the original wall and appear as if superimposed. From the entrance of the Gumbad Darwaza, the first object to attract attention is a Banyan tree which is of great antiquity and at one time was of colossal size.
To continue description of the fortifications, it will be best to take the road which goes in a north- easterly direction on entering the fort from the Gumbad Darwaza. First you notice a bastion and a tower, perhaps used as a keep as it commands a complete view of the city. I have read that the interiors of the tower is beautifully finished with plaster work but today it is barred from entrance. On either side of the tower, there are remains of halls. At a lower level, there are some rooms as shown in this picture with arches heavy in proportion.
There are various other fortifications and gun points all across the fort like the Kalmadgi Gate, Kalyani Burj, Delhi Darwaza, Petla Burj, Lal Burj, Kala Burj, Carnatac Darwaza. However, I am not mentioning the details of each as it would be boring for the readers. Each of these gates and bastions are formidable and of utmost importance in the fort.
In the next post, we will visit the Rangeen Mahal. I am sure that my next post would interest a lot of people as Rangeen Mahal is completely barred from entrance to public and my post would be an exclusive account.