The historic 12th century Sonar Fort in Jaisalmer is in a poor shape and the government is taking no measures to conserve it, heritage experts and the local residents say.
Ravindra Singh, a tour executive said the only monument that has retained much of its original shape in the fort is the Jain Temple, which is being looked after by a trust.
“Still, some miniature idols in its walls have been damaged by vandals,” he said.
The well inside the fort, cannon kept on turrets, and the doors of its four famous gates are in a bad shape.
Sharad Vyas, a journalist, said heaps of garbage have accumulated on all sides of the fort, “People staying inside the fort don’t use the public toilet and defecate in the open. Seepage of water into fort walls at two places puts these walls at risk,” he said.
Jaisalmer Vikas Samiti Secretary Chandra Prakash Vyas said water seepage because of inadequate water disposal has led to several accidents in the past.
Several people had died in 1997, after a wall opposite Gopa chowk collapsed.
Senior citizen Kanahiyalal Gour said some of the houses inside the fort have been converted into hotels by their owners, while some residents can’t renovate their crumbling houses because of strict municipal and archaeology laws.
“Government departments blame each other for the bad condition of the fort,” said a resident.
Jaisalmer Nagar Parishad chairman Ashok Tanwar admits the increased commercial activities in the fort have led to the narrowing of roads and created parking problems.
Many believe the district administration turns a blind eye to the unlawful activities in and around the fort.
“Not only the shops selling clothes, jewellery and decorative items have proliferated inside the fort, even cyber cafes have been opened now,” said Rajiv, a businessman.
Hoardings installed by the shopkeepers have defaced the walls of the fort.