Tucked away amid the residential buildings and everyday bustle of New Delhi lie the intriguing remains of a 14th-century fort and palace. Bijay Mandal is a remnant of Jahanpanah, one of the seven medieval cities forming Delhi—though seeing the neglected ruins as they stand now, you would be hard-pressed to believe this was once the seat of power of the Tughlaq dynasty.
The ruined Bijay Mandal fort complex consists of a large structure believed to be the site of the “Thousand-Pillared Palace” of the Tughlaq Sultan Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq, who founded the walled city of Jahanpanah to protect from Mongol invasions. The fort is topped with an octagonal pavilion that overlooks a smaller unknown structure with an impressive dome.
Upon entering the palace remains, head up a flight of stairs and turn right. You’ll come to a steep and half-broken staircase leading to the first level of the fort. One more round of steep stairs from there and you are at the top of the pavilion, with incredible panoramic views of the city. Looking out over this vista you can imagine what it would have been like when Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq came up here to keep an eye on his kingdom.
This historic monument is a peaceful oasis within the city limits, a chance to escape the crowds and breathe the fresh air from high above the ground. A short walk from Bijay Mandal, through a wild growth of grass, you can also visit the shrine of Sufi saint Sheikh Hasan Tahir.
Know Before You Go
The fort has two entry gates and the main one could be slightly challenging to locate. Once you get in the vicinity, the best is to ask the locals for "Bijay Mandal Purana Qila" and follow their directions.