A fort in state of decay

The indifference towards this monument has been such that only a part of the huge structure exists today, with no conservation efforts in sight even now. Baiju Bawra had settled here permanently after coming to India from Ghazni and had become a disciple of Swami Hari Dass in whose memory a fair was held regularly in the village till a few years ago.

The village, which was once as big as any present-day township, has a rich history. It is said that Sher Shah Suri, who is known for creating the vital infrastructure of roads in northern India, was born at this place. It is also associated with the great Chinese traveller Huen Tsang.

Although nobody in the village knows much about the fort, which earlier had seven minarets, it is said that it was built by Sansar Chand, Raja of Kangra, who took control of the village in 1801. Prior to this, the village was a part of a Sikh misl under Sirdar Bhup Singh Faizalpuria. It again went to the Sikhs with the forces of maharaja Ranjit Singh attacking and defeating Sansar Chand’s men in the early 1820s.

The process of destruction of Bajwara is said to have been initiated by Raja Todar Mal, who had got furious as the residents had not accorded a warm welcome to him on his maiden visit to it. He reacted by dividing it into 12 parts before handing it over to the Pathans.

However, the fort began crumbling in the early part of this century and neither the British Government nor the authorities concerned after Independence took any pains to ensure its conservation.According to Satpal, a resident, parts of the fort started caving in, particularly during the monsoon, in the early seventies and as a result only two of the seven minarets remain today. He said during the past two decades he had never seen the officials concerned coming to the village and making efforts to save the fort.

During a visit to the fort this correspondent found that the remaining two minarets and other parts of the structure were about to crumble. Besides, persons living around the fort and some colonisers had encroached on land on which the other minarets had stood.

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