Enchroachments take toll on Lodhi fort

The fort, which is said to have been built by King Nasir-ud-Din, a general of Mahmood Ghaznavi in 719 (Hijri), has withstood vagaries of nature for centuries, might vanish from the map of Punjab soon if its proper care is not taken up immediately.

From historical point of view, it holds more value for some ‘saakhis’ link it with Guru Nanak Dev, who is said to have stayed here for some time after taking a dip in Bein river which flowed along its outer walls during the days it was under the control of Nawab Daulat Khan Lodhi.

Ironically, instead of conserving it, it was converted into a police station and a residential colony for police officials, including the DSP, by the state government, which has only led to the further deterioration of the building, once known for its wall paintings and elegant use of water colours and chiselled bricks.

A round of the building revealed that a large portions of the fort, including two major ‘burj’ have caved in during the past about five years for want of care. So much so, that the lime plaster of the main dome at the very entrance has got peeled off and the dome itself bears wide cracks and might fall anytime.

The only effort to save the building from further decay was made by a police official about five years ago by getting the main gate cement plastered this, infact, caused more damage to the building for it has lost its originality and the art which was there in the form of intricate designs in lime plaster, colourful paintings and sketches. In place of conserving the broken outer walls made of old small bricks, the police authorities have replaced these with a new wall and the whole place has fallen prey to encroachments by unscrupulous elements inspite of being in police hands.

So much so that the once a 40-feet pucca path around the building is no more to be seen. The ‘Bugghi Khana’ and a few other important buildings in the fort have also collapsed.

Mr Ashok Neer, a resident, said nothing had been done by the successive governments to atleast clear the place from encroachments. ‘Encroachments are proliferating by each passing day,’ he said. The local municipal council chief, Mr Jaimal Singh, too was sore about the attitude of the district administration and the state government towards this building of historical importance which in other words has been known as a major landmark of this township, said to be fountainhead of Sikhism.

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