India: Daulatabad Fort (दौलताबाद – विकिपीडिया)

In Maharashtra is Daulatabad Fort, a formidable presence that dominates the landscape. The site dates back to the 12th Century and used to be known as Devgiri Fort. It is a well-known site in only 13 km outside of Aurangabad and popular for day trips and attracts both locals and tourists from the surrounding areas.100_2960
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I have so many amazing memories from my summer in India back in 2007, but one stands out as the most memorable.

While exploring Daulatabad Fort, we came upon one of the many buildings that are still (somewhat) standing. As my teammates and I stood gazing up at the several-story tall building, a small man came up to us, and in broken English said, “Come! I show you…tower…come! Follow me!”

All I could think of was the opening scene of Aladdin:

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We quickly discussed the proposition. I remember some concern, some delight, and some indifference expressed amongst the four of us, but who expressed which sentiment, I can’t remember. No sooner as the man offered, we were on our way into the dark passageways, blazing torches being shoved into our hands and led into what we assumed was a tower up to the top.

Excited and scared all at the same time, we started following our guide. He lit my torch and instructed us to stay close to him. Again he implored, “Come! Close! Follow me!”

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As we walked deeper into the passageway, the light from the entrance dimmed and then finally disappeared. A bat flew by our heads and scared the living daylight out of us and then suddenly our guide turned around as looked at us. Something felt just…wrong.

He looked at us and said, “Good-bye!” and blew out our torch.

My stomach sank. I felt like concrete sat in the bottom of by belly.With four college-age girls in a dark maze of passages and our guide gone, I refused to allow my mind to go to the worst that could happen. Instead, all I could think of in those initial moments of panic was about a book I read in middle school in which a brother and sister were lost in an underground cave system and a giant was after them and the way they were able to escape eventually was that they put one hand on a wall and never picked it up and walked. Eventually, this tactic helped them escape the caverns safely and short of being eaten my the giant.

He looked at us and said, “Good-bye!” and blew out our torch.

We didn’t have a giant after us, but we didn’t know what lay waiting for us in the darkness and what trick our benevolent guide was playing on us. Panicked and frightened and yelling screaming for someone to help, we started running back in the direction from which we came, and after what felt like an eternity, emerged out into the sunlight.

There was our guide/tormentor hysterically laughing at us. Our leader started yelling at him and a few Hindi women started berating him and then he had the gumption to demand we pay him for our “experience”. After we refused, he stalked away angrily, probably to dupe another group of foreign-tourists.

With our dignity broken but our wallets and safety intact, we left Daulatabad Fort soon thereafter and headed on to our next stop, Ellora Caves.

Daulatabad Fort is located at:

Address: Maharashtra State Highway 22, Daulatabad, Maharashtra 431002, India

Phone : +91 240 234 3169

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2 responses to “India: Daulatabad Fort (दौलताबाद – विकिपीडिया)

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