Historical Accounts on the Cities Founded by Firoz Shah Tughlaq

Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq excelled all his predecessors on the throne of Delhi in the erection of buildings. Firoz Shah Bin Rajab (1351-1388) laid out several new cities; built many monuments, and also repaired a number of edifices of former kings. Malik Ghazi Shahna was the chief architect and Abdul Hakk otherwise Jahir Sundhar was the deputy.

New Towns founded by Firoz Shah:

Fatehabad (in Haryana):

While Firoz Shah was at Ikdar, he received the news of birth of his eldest son Fath Khan. Firoz Shah founded a new town on the banks of Sarsuti at Ikdar, to which he gave the name of Fatehabad. It is the first town built by the Sultan. (Fath Khan died in 1374, in the lifetime of his father.)

Hisar Firoza, now known as Hisar (in Haryana) & Firozabad, now known as Firoz Shah Kotla (in Delhi):

The Mosque at Firoz Shah Kotla Ruins at Firoz Shah Kotla

Shams-i Siraj says that it took two and a half years to build the city of Hisar Firoza. Formerly there were two large villages stood, namely Great Laras and Little Laras. The neighborhood of Great Laras greatly pleased Firoz and he decided the build a city there. That city was in fact very deficient in water. So the Sultan resolved to built a city, in the hope that if he built a town for the benefit of people, God would provide it with water. Hard stone was brought from the hills of Narsai (Narnaul), and used with strong quicklime and burnt bricks. A fort of great extent and height was commenced. When the fort was finished, the Sultan gave to the place the name of Hisar Firoza. A ditch was dug round the fort, and along the banks of the ditch battlements were built. Inside the fort a large and deep tank was formed, the water of which ran into the ditch and replenished it from year to year. Inside the fort a beautiful palace was built. One of the arrangements of this palace was that any person, after passing through several apartments, would arrive at the center, which was very dark, and the passages were narrow, so that if the attendants did not guide the visitor he would never be able to find his way out. Since there was a great scarcity of water, he built two canals; one from Yamuna and the other from Sutlej. The canal from the Yamuna was called Rajabwah and the other Ulughkhani. Both these streams were conducted through the vicinity of Karnal, and, after a length of about eighty kos, discharged their waters by one channel into the town. Firoz Shah also laid out many gardens in the new town. The districts of Hansi, Agroha, Fatehabad and Sarsuti as far as Salaura and Khizrabad, with some other districts were included in the division of Hisar Firoza.

The Palace of Firoz Shah at Hisar

On the banks of Yamuna, at the village of Gawin, five kos distant from Delhi, Firoz Shah founded the city of Firozabad. He built a palace there and made it his capital. Eighteen places were included in the city of Firozabad: The city of Indarpat, the sarai of Shaikh Malik Yar Paran, the sarai of Shaikh Abu Bakr Tusi, the village of Gawin, the lands of Khetwara, Lahrawat, Bhari, Mahrola, Sultanpur and Andhawali, the land of the sarai of Malika, the land of the tomb of Sultan Raziyya. Many buildings were erected from the Indarpat to the Kushk-i-Shikar. There were also eight public mosques. Firoz Shah transferred an Asoka pillar from Topra to Delhi and placed it near the Jami Masjid of Firozabad.

Afif says, "During the forty years of the reign of the excellent Sultan Firoz, people used to go for pleasure from Delhi to Firozabad, and from Firozabad to Delhi, in such numbers that every kos between the two towns swarmed with people, as with ants or locusts. To accommodate this great traffic, there were public carriers who kept carriages, mules and horses, which were ready for hire. Palanquin-bearers were also ready to convey passengers. The fare of a carriage was four silver jitals for each person; of a mule, six; of a horse, twelve; and of a palanquin, half a tanka. There was also plenty of porters ready for employment, and they earned a good livelihood. Such was the prosperity of this district; but it was so ravaged by the Mongols, that the inhabitants were scattered in all directions."

Here are the various accounts regarding the foundation of the new cities:

Ferishta (Dows): "In the year 1354, the Sultan built the city of Firozabad, adjoining to that of Delhi; and in the following year marched to Dipalpur, where he made a canal 100 miles in length, from the Sutlej to the Jidger (Jhajjar). The King, in the year 1356, between the hills of Mendouli (Mandouli?) and Sirmaur, cut a channel from the Gion or Yamuna, which he divided into seven streams; one of which he brought to Hansi, and from thence to Beraisen, where he built a strong castle, calling it by his own name. He drew soon after, a canal from the Cagar, passing by the walls of Sarsuti, and joined it to the rivulet of Kerah, upon which he built a city, named after him, Firozabad. This city he watered with another canal from the Yamuna."

Lat Ki Masjid at Hisar

Ferishta (Briggs): "In the year 1354, Firoz built the city of Firozabad adjoining that of Delhi; and on the 12th of Shaban he marched to Dipalpur, and constructed a canal 48 coss in length, from the Sutlej to the Kugur. In the year 1356, he constructed another canal, between the hills of Mundvy and Sirmaur, from the Yamuna, into which he led seven other minor streams, which all uniting, ran in one channel through Hansi, and from thence to Raisin, where he built a strong fort which he called Hisar Firoza. He also conveyed an aqueduct from the Kugur, over the river Sarsuti, to the village of Pery Kehra, where he founded a city, named after him Firozabad. At the same time he introduced another canal from the Yamuna, which filled a large lake he caused to be constructed at Hisar Firoza."

Yahya: "In 1355, the Sultan went in the direction of Dipalpur and excavating a canal from the Sutlej, took it to Jhajjar, a distance of 48 kurohs. The next year, he excavated the Firozabad canal from the vicinity of Mandati (Mandauli?) and Sirmaur hills; and uniting seven other canals with it, took it as far as Hansi. From that place he extended it to Arasan, and there laying the foundation of a strong fort, gave it the name of Hisar Firoza. Below the Kiosk (Kushk), an extensive reservoir was constructed, which was filled up with water from that channel. Another canal was excavated from the Khakhar (Ghaggar), and conducting it past the fort of Sarsuti was taken to Harni Khirah. In between these canals he erected a fort, and called it Firozabad. Another canal was drawn from Budhi and conveyed to Jaun, thence to the fort of Firoza and into a reservoir and further to a point beyond it."

Nizamuddin Ahmad: "In the year 1355, the Sultan went to hunt in the direction of Dipalpur, and excavating a canal from the river Sutlej took it to Jhajjar a distance of 48 kurohs. The next year he excavated a canal from the river Jun (Yamuna), in the vicinity of Mandal and Sirmaur; and uniting seven other canals with it, took it as far as Hansi. From that place he extended it to Alisin, and there laying the foundations of a fort, gave it the name of Hisar Firoza. He then had an extensive reservoir excavated in front of the fort, filled a channel with water from it, and excavated another canal from the Khakhar (Ghaggar) river, and conducting it past the foot of the fort of Sarsuti, took it to the new canal of Karah. He erected a fort between these canals, and named it Firozabad. He excavated another canal from the river Budhi, and carried it to the reservoir already mentioned; and further to a point beyond it."

Jaunpur (in Uttar Pradesh):

Firoz Shah built a large town on the banks of the river Kowa (Gomti) to which he gave the name of Sultan Muhammad Tughlaq; as that sovereign bore the name of Jauna, he called the place Jaunpur.

Firozpur (in Punjab):

Firoz Shah formed the country of Samana to a distance of ten kurohs from Sirhind into a separate district, and erected a fort there, which he named Firozpur.

Yahya: "Some time after his return to Delhi in 1361, His Majesty learnt that in the vicinity of Barwar there was a hill of earth, out of which ran a stream that emptied into Sutlej; it bore the name of Sarsuti. On the other side of the mound, there was another stream called the Salima. If the earthen dike were cut through, the waters of the Sarsuti would fall into that stream (Salima) and both would flow through Sirhind and Mansurpur to Sunam, and will have a perennial supply of water. The two streams were connected with each other, and it took some time in cutting through the hill. Sirhind and for ten kurohs beyond was separated from Samana, and put under the control of Malik Zia-ul-Mulk Shams-ud-din Aburja. A fort was built there and it was named Firozpur."

Badauni: "In the year 1360, victorious and triumphant Firoz Shah came to Delhi and after a short time he gave orders for an expedition to the river Salima which is a river issuing from a large mound of sand and falling into the river Sutlej. The Salima is also called the Sarsuti, and this river consists of two large streams which are always flowing, and situated between these two streams there is a high mound or dyke, and if this were dug through the water of the Sarsuti would flow into this stream, and it flows through Sirhind and Mansurpur and Samana. The Sultan gave orders for fifty thousand men with spades to be collected and to occupy themselves in digging through that barrier. Out of it they obtained many bones of elephants and human beings. Every bone belonging to the arm of a man was three gaz (in length). They were partly converted into stone and had partly remained bone just as they were. That stream however could not be diverted, and in the meantime he made Sirhind and for ten kurohs beyond into one district, and ordered them to build a fort there and called it Firozpur which is in fact Sirhind."

Ferishta (Dows): "Firoz Shah, who had much at heart the improvement of his scheme for country, was informed, that near Hirdar there was a mountain from which there issued a great stream of water, which fell into the Sutlej; and that beyond that place there was a small rivulet called Selima, divided only by a rising ground, from the large stream which we have just mentioned. The Sultan considered, that by making a cut through this eminence, the great stream might be carried into the rivulet, and so form a river to water the countries of Sirhind and Mansurpur, from whence it might be carried to Sunam, and so render great tracts of land fertile. He therefore marched immediately that way, and ordered fifty thousand labourers to be collected together to cut the passage. When the workmen were in this place employed in digging great depth, they found some immense skeletons of elephants in one place, and in another, those of a gigantic human form, the arm bones of which measured guzes. Some of the bones were in their natural state, and others petrified. The Sultan having finished this great work, built a fort at Sirhind, which he called Firozpur."

Ferishta (Briggs): "On his return to Delhi in 1360, the King heard that in the vicinity of Perwar was a hill, out of which ran a stream that emptied into the Sutlej, which stream bore the name of Sarsuti; that beyond the Sarsuti was a smaller stream called the Sulima. It was stated, that if a large mound, which intervened between these streams, were cut through, the water of the Sarsuti would fall into the small stream, from whence it would come to Sunam, passing through Sirhind and Mansurpur, and that the stream would flow all the year round. The King, accordingly, moved in that direction, and ordered that 50,000 labourers should be collected and employed in cutting through that mound, and forming the junction. In this mound were found the bones of elephants and men. The bones of the human fore-arm measured three guz (five feet two inches): some of the bones were petrified, and some retained the appearance of bone. On this occasion, Sirhind, which was originally under Samana, was separated, and the country, within ten coss (15 miles) of Samana, was formed into the separate district of Sirhind. A fort was also built there, which was called Firozpur."

Firozpur (in Uttar Pradesh):

In 1385, Firoz Shah built a fortress at Beoli or Beuli, which is seven kuros from Budaun and gave it the name of Firozpur. As he did not build any other fort after this it has become known as Akhirinpur or Pur-i-akhhirin.

Badauni: "In 1385, Firoz Shah built a fortified town in a place called Babuli (Bisauli?), which is seven kurohs from Budaun and is better known as Mawas, and gave it the name of Firozpur. Since in later times no other building was ever erected by the Sultan it became commonly known as Akhirinpur. Nowadays although not a trace of that building remains, still from the old bricks and the foundations and general lie of that high ground it is evident that once upon a time there was a building on that site."

Muhammad Bihamid Khani: "The Sultan encamped on the bank of the Yamuna in front of the mauza of Kanawran (Kanar in Jalaun) and started the construction of a fort which he called after his name, Firozpur. Tughlaqpur with its dependencies, the khitta of Irich, Chanderi, Shahpur and Rapri was added to the division of Firozpur."

Afif also mentions Tuglakpur-i-Kasna and Tuglakpur-i-Muluk-i-Kamut in the list of cities founded by Firoz Shah.

Renaming of Cities: During his expedition to Lakhnauti (Gaur), Firoz Shah renamed Ikdala as Azadpur and Pandua as Firozabad. Nagarkot was renamed as Muhammadabad in honour of Sultan Muhammad Tughlaq.

Other Public Works of the Sultan:

According to Ferishta, the public works constructed during the reign of Firoz Shah included 50 dams, 40 mosques, 30 colleges with mosques attached, 20 palaces, 100 caravansaras, 200 towns, 30 reservoirs or lakes for irrigating lands, 100 hospitals, 5 mausolea, 100 public baths, 10 monumental pillars, 10 public wells and 150 bridges. Firoz Shah brought many waste lands into cultivation.

Firoz Shah repaired the tombs, forts and many other historical buildings of former kings: He restored the Jami Masjid of Delhi; renovated and raised the Qutb Minar; repaired the Royal Tanks of Sultan Shams-ud-din Iltutmish (Hauz-i-Shamsi) and Sultan Ala-ud-din Khilji (Hauz-i-Khas); renovated the Madrasa (college) of Sultan Shams-al-Din Iltutmish and Jahan-Panah of Sultan Muhammad Tughlaq. He repaired the tombs of Iltutmish, the tombs of his sons Muizz-ud-din Bahram and Rukn-ud-din Firuz, Jalal-ud-din Khilji, Ala-ud-din Khilji, Nizamuddin Auliya, Malik Kafur etc. 

Many wonderful things were invented by Sultan Firoz in the course of his reign, and among the most wonderful was the Tas­-i-ghariyal which is a gong or brass plate to publicly announce the hour of the day and night. It was placed in the observatory, which stands on the Ridge in the Pir-Ghaib at Firozabad. He laid out many gardens, around 1200 at Delhi alone; built nearly 120 monasteries and inns at Delhi and Firozabad for the accommodation of travelers. For the promotion of marriages, he founded an establishment called Diwan-i Khairat. He established a hospital which was known as the Daru-sh shifa or Shifa Khana.

Image Credit: