in continuation of – Into Elloran Enchantments
It didn’t take us long to reach the city of Tughluq , my favourite character from the Indian medieval history. This city has a history of it’s own. When Tughluq seized it , he decided to make it the capital of the Delhi sultanate . He was enraptured by a certain treasure that the town housed – an impregnable fort which stood atop a rocky and precipitous hill which had devious tunnels running inside and several layers of security making it almost impossible to be breached . Moreover , the sides of the hill had been hewn vertically straight making it too austere to be climbed.
The means adopted by Tughluq in bringing out this sudden mass-exodus were utterly outrageous. He ordered the inhabitants to empty Delhi having himself paid the price for their housing . But the people still refused. Tughluq then assumed his archetypal savage and ruthless colours and decided to lay Delhi on ruins. It was decreed by royal dictum that none should be seen in Delhi after three nights.
After the third night , the city was devoid of people except just two – a cripple and a blind person. The cripple was flung from a mangonel in the direction of Daulatabad and the blind man was dragged all the way to the town behind a chariot. After forty days of journey , he had fallen into pieces and all that remained of him was a leg.
Then one night , the sultan stood upon his turret and looked over the deserted ruins of Delhi – there was fire nor smoke. He then said – ” now my mind is tranquil and my wrath appeased” and afterwards commanded the people to move to Delhi and repopulate it .
I told the group all of this , while we moved up through the cobblestoned street. After a while we reached a long red tower.
It took a long time to reach the fort’s threshold. Once there , we started our journey up the steps which was an overly arduous one. After some time, we were overcome by hopelessness . The path was exasperatingly long and kept on increasing incessantly . All of us were drenched in sweat and out of breath.
A lifetime later , we reached a bridge, and now the contours of the land were flat again. The bridge flew over a little pond now green with muck. Ahead lay the most exciting part of the fort – a bat cave!!
The batcave was a devious and helical tunnel whose (low lying) ceiling was lined with a layer of bats hung upside down. The place reeked of what we acknowledged as bat-pee and bat-poop. On our first attempt through the cave , we aroused the bats halfway through it and they started screeching and flying. This scared the wits and shits and all of its out of us so much that we turned tail and ran backwards.
After a rousing speech by the Antiblack , we embarked on a second attempt to conquer the bats and their cave. This time we planned to lie down on the ground if in case thongs go out of hand. And this time too , things went the same course except we knew what was about to come. Well , better the devil you know , than the devil you don’t!
Some dimwit flashed a camera on the ceiling and the nocturnal beings again ran riot. But we managed to pull it off just in time ( had the flash occurred a little earlier , we sure would have needed a third attempt).
After the batcave escapade we let some air rush into our diaphragm and again set off upwards . Upon the batcave was another , but smaller batcave. The bats again panicked and we panicked along and I , complying with the plan , promptly fell down to the ground at once. Embarrassingly, no one else did.
After a long climb , we reached a point from which we had to do a rock-climb using our hands and feet , like monkeys. Bro and Thenotsowhite gave up at once . The Non-kafir was already up along with the Antiblack.
I persisted alongside Theslut. I made it after the second try. We sat on the ramparts and cooled our heels. After some time , Bro appeared over the horizon and after further recess , the least white showed up.
A drizzle started and we again hurried up. After another unnerving climb we reached the Turret and stayed there for a while. The least white one was the last to show up , again. When he finally did, it was against all hope.
We clicked a few , marveled at the height ( we were actually on a greater height than a hill near the fort) and turned back to return . The fort was about to close . For some reason indiscernible even to us, I and the Non-kafir began a race all the way down the fort. We ran and ran and I lead the race the entire way. After half an hour of constant running over the dangerous steps , when the gates were a fifty metres away , an epiphany dawned upon me. I gave up the race. I wanted him to win , to take back victorious memories from the fort of Tughluq. All of this , plus the fact that I was almost lying on the ground while envisioning these pious thoughts, panting for breath with my lungs fallen out.
On the way out we bought a few coins – I bought three, 1 pice Indian govt coin, Tughluq’s coin , and the coin of the Nizam of Hyderabad.
Once all were out ( the least white being the last) , we set out for Bibi ka maqbara (Tomb of the Lady) – a mausoleum erected in the memory of Dilras Banu Begum , the wife of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. A slight drizzle began .
A dog appeared on the road and I remarked – “Wow! see that antelope ?”
A lump of poop appeared on the road and the least white remarked – ” Such a big brick of turd !”
Soon we were in the city of Sultan Aurangzeb . As we stepped out of the Innova , the sky had turned several shades darker than what it was when we stepped in.
The monument resembles the Taj Mahal a lot , differing only in size.
We went in , awed at the magnificent minarets and dome and went inside having removed our footwear. The sepulchre was lying down in the sanctum and we could see it from the top . The chamber had a ring like marble pathway on the sides to sit on overlooking the sanctum below. The center had been cut out and a parapet raised along.
As we looked down , we were left stricken with awe. The sepulchre wasn’t visible to the eye ! It was covered with a plethora of pebbles.
On further inspection , reality dawned on us – they weren’t pebbles , instead were notes , coins , debit cards and mobile phones all over .
We sat in the peaceful and soulful milieu inside the mausoleum for a while , flipped a few notes and coins into the sanctum and then stood up and took leave.
The trip had ended. We went to a hotel and had a hearty meal . I forgot to request them a lesser amount of spice so for me, the meal was no less than an austerity – a bite now and a gulp of mango drink follows.
In the end we were chauffeured to the station where we waited for our train till midnight. A drunkard made things a bit frightening for the Bro.
We sat reminiscing our journey – ventures and escapades.
What had started off with Rhododendron juice ended with Budweiser .
scratch your craniums a bit
- question – If the fort was impenetrable , how did Sultan Muhammad manage to seize it ?
- answer – He couldn’t . He just waited outside the fort for months till the food ran out and all died.
A month later , I rummaged through my bag for something to write with and out came a plastic bag …… of a few remaining stale blackberries .
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