Our Heritage

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Archive for the tag “Fort”

First view of Baoli in the Red Fort of Delhi

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What looks like the most untouched stepped well was actually a garbage dumping site for many years. When British took over the Qila-e-Mualla aka Quila-e-Mubarak aka Red Fort, they decided to make some more space for their residence. This beautiful stepped well, built by the Mughals also fell prey for their greed for space.

The British installed huge girders across the platform to create rooms in there. Post Independence, when Indian Army took over, they turned this place to a dumping site. Recently, Archaeological Survey of India got the charge of this place and they cleaned the beautiful stepped well and removed the girders.

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The history stone there says that the INA officers Shah Nawaz Khan, P. K. Sehgal and G. S. Dhillon were confined here in 1945-46 during the freedom movement

 

The unique structure

8This baoli has a unique structure with stairs from two sides at 90 degree. The two stairs combine at a pit, which is attached to the well. The amazing part was that we were able to listen to the sound of water seeping from the ground into the well.

 

More from lens…

73  The stairs on two sides

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5 6 Well behind the steps

12The CISF Quarters opposite to the Baoli

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Gwalior Fort, Madhya Pradesh

I have seen many forts including the Forts of Delhi, Kangra, Agra, Hyderabad and Siliserh (Alwar). But this one in Gwalior almost took my breath. In my entire life, only two forts have made me hold my breath and praise silently. These are Forts of Gwalior and Golconda (Hyderabad).

Gwalior_Fort

Gwalior_Fort_StairsI went to Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh – India) in 2004 or 2005. We were 5 guys, on a college trip, there to participate in a National Level College Fest. We got time and thought it might be a good idea to check out the famous Gwalior fort. We took a taxi, and he took us to the gates of fort. The taxi driver asked if we want a tour guide. We said no. We entered the gate and found ourselves at the bottom of thousands of meter long steep and tight road. On both sides of this road, were very high walls, fro m where any you can attack any enemy, without being hurt. Anyway, we started marching and continued to do so for nearly 1/2 hour. All we could see were huge walls of fort on both sides but the path was not ending.

Gwalior_Fort_MainEntryGwalior_Fort_Entry

Finally we reached another huge gate, which was having very nice blue paintings all over it. There was a big pit near the gate and a wooden plank was kept to cross it. When we entered that gate, we found a huge compound and on our right side, was standing the mighty fort with blue painting all over it. (see first picture of this post).

GurudwaraBandiChhod We were now so tired, that all we wanted was a place to rest. Then suddenly my attention went to the White Building on my left. Oh great, it was Gurudwara Bandi Chhor. This place has a very inspiring history. In 1619 AD, Sixth Guru of Sikhs were taken prisoner by the king of Gwalior. But soon, the king was so impressed by his talks, that he decided to release him. But Gurujee refused. He said, that there are 52 other kings of neighboring states, who are imprisoned in this fort. Release everyone. The King of Gwalior said, I will not release others. But, those who can hold the onto your gown (Chowla), can go. Then gurujee immediately ordered his sikhs to prepare him a huge gown. Once it was ready, Guru wore it and all 52 kings got space to hold the gown. This was the day of Diwali. From that very day, Every sikh celebrated Diwali as “Bandi Chhor Divas” (Day of liberation/freedom of Prisoners).

GurudwaraBandiChhod_Inside

So we reached this nice gurudwara and sat inside the hall for nearly 15-20 mins. When we were back to normal, we proceeded to have Lungar at gurudwara. It was truly refreshing.

GurudwaraBandiChhod_Palki

Then we moved to see the actual fort. Some guy near entrance asked us if we wanted a tour guide. We refused! When we were entering the fort, The gatekeeper asked us where is our tour guide, and we said we don’t need any. But by this time, we started thinking what is so special about tour guides. Anyway, we entered the fort. There was this nice big porch and stairs going down. We went downstairs and found another staircase to reach the second level of basement. We kept on finding stairs and kept on going down till we reached 4th level. The Gwalior fort has 6-7 levels of basement. Now we were standing in the Prison Room. A very foul smell was coming. It was total dark and we were lost. We tried every gate and window. But every time, we ended up in reaching same prison room. There were small holes in roof and floor. We could see other basement levels. But we were not able to go there. Bats were flying on our head and they were scaring us like anything. Then we heard a tourist group and ran towards them. Their tourist guide was explaining about the fort and told that it is designed in such a way that prisoners can never get out of this level. Levels below this are even ferocious and dangerous. We just walked behind this tour group, came out and ran out of the fort. We didn’t even bothered to see the rest of Fort. We just reached the exit, took a taxi, headed for railway station, and took a train to Agra.

Gwalior_Fort_Foot MyFriends

But I must say…

Hats off to Architects of Gwalior Fort.

The Kangra Fort

10th February 2007, I celebrated by 24th birthday at a very nice place, that has been ruled by rulers like Mohd. Ghazni, Mohd.Tughlaq, Firoz Shah, Jahangir, Katoch Kings, Raja Sansar Chand, Maharaja Ranjit Singh and finally Queen Victoria. I am talking about the Fort of Trigarta (now known as Kangra).

Kangra-Fort

Trigarta (Kangra) was one of the most powerful hill state of Punjab, and this fort made it undefeatable. Entire kangra valley is occupying the lower parts of Beas and its tributaries and during pre-mohammadan period, it made a part of kingdom of Jalandhar (Punjab Empire). The Kangra Fort is renowned for its strength, stability, strong fortification and impregnability. The walls stand upwards covering a 4 KM circuit, occupying a long narrow strip between Ban Ganga and Manjhi rivers. The cliff along the wall is 300 feet deep.

Kangra-Fort-(river1) Kangra-Fort-(river2) Kangra-Fort-(river3)

Kangra-Fort-(Entry)The only entrance to Fort is from the city side, and that too is very narrow for anyone to pass without encountering hidden soldiers. The long pathway is also having enough room for small army divisions to hide after every few meters.

Kangra-Fort-(Path)

This fort has nice engravings on all walls and has a small temple also inside. Besides, there is a big temple at the City Entrance.

Kangra-Fort-(temple) Kangra-Fort-(top)

Unfortunately this place was destroyed in early 1900 due to a massive earthquake, that destroyed entire Kangra Valley. There are several debris and broken walls that you can see. But this fort still stands as the crown of Kangra.

If you are visiting this place, don’t miss the museum at the foot of fort.

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