Premi Posted March 13 Report Share Posted March 13 Bathinda Fort saw 1,600 years of Sultanate, Sikh history. ASI struggling to hold it together The walls are patched with at least seven different kinds of bricks, bearing testimony to the different periods of India’s history. Each conqueror left a mark on the fort. CHITLEEN K SETHI 13 March, 2023 08:00 am IST Bathinda/Punjab: Bathinda Fort is buzzing with activity. As thousands of visitors continue to flock to the site every day, a specialised team of 30 to 40 people from the Archaelogical Survey of India, has finally started repairing damaged portions and strengthening fragile sections of what is considered to be India’s oldest surviving fort. Also called Quila Mubarak, this quiet, pristine fort has withstood the vagaries of conquerors for at least 1,600 years. The sprawling 15 acres it occupies is a sharp contrast to the serpentine lanes of the crowded Bathinda bazaar that lead to it. More than 100 feet high, it stands tall and proud in the heart of Punjab. However, maintaining the Bathinda Fort is a challenge. The fort was built with clay bricks. Over the last few years, several bastions of the fort have collapsed. With no repairs for two years due to the Covid pandemic, its condition has deteriorated further. According to ASI officials, one of the main bastions of the fort partially fell apart in 2022. The steady influx of visitors throughout the year is also a challenge. On average, the Bathinda Fort gets more than 4,000 to 5,000 visitors every day, and the number touches 10,000 on weekends. It also houses the Gurdwara Qila Mubarak, which was built in the early 19th century to mark the visit of Guru Gobind Singh, the last Sikh Guru, a century earlier. On Gurupurab and other sacred days, footfall even goes up to one lakh a day. No tickets need to be bought to see the Quila Mubarak, and unlike most other historical sites, it’s open to visitors till 9 pm. For the religious, the prominent gurdwara is the draw. “For the history buff and tourists, it [Bathinda Fort] links ancient India to medieval India, and for the hundreds of residents of Bathinda, it’s that quiet, serene place everyone flocks to at the end of their day,” says Gurdeep Singh of ASI, caretaker of the fort. And for store owners in the narrow streets around the fort, it is a source of income. “The bazaar benefits from it. When we were small children, our parents would bring us to the fort routinely on Sundays,” says Vijay Goel, a toy shop owner at Bathinda bazaar. Stories such as Delhi Sultanate’s first woman ruler Razia Sultan being imprisoned in the Qila Mubarak and Prithviraj Chauhan wresting control of the fort from Muhammad Ghori add to its allure. https://theprint.in/features/bathinda-fort-saw-1600-years-of-sultanate-sikh-history-asi-struggling-to-hold-it-together/1438206/ @shastarSingh have you been there ? I had never heard of it before 2 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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