BARELY 58 km away from the State Capital, the 1100 years old Ginnaurgarh fort complex would soon be included in the tourism circuit.
Situated atop a hillock inside the Ratapani Sanctuary, the sprawling fort with scattered vestiges of royal splendour and 56 baodis was undertaken for survey nearly a year ago. In a joint effort, Forest and Tourism departments have brought about several changes around the fort complex to make it look more attractive to tourists.
The approach road to the fort complex has been cleaned up and re-done by the Forest department. The filth and grime that had been accumulating for years have been removed from the complex. The multiple baodis have been cleaned up to receive fresh water this monsoon.
“ We have already done groundwork to make it attractive for tourists,’’ Principal Secretary, Forest, Avani Vaish, told Hindustan Times.
Vaish has been on the forefront to turn the old and crumbling fort around as a potential tourist destination. He informed that the fort complex would be included in the Bhopal tourist circle soon. A proposal has already been forwarded to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to take the site under its protection and undertake proper conservation work as well, he added.
The fort complex, spread over an area of more than 1000 metres in length is documented in different gazetteers and is recorded as being a stronghold of the Gond rulers before founder of Bhopal state Dost Mohhamad Khan captured it from Nizam Shah (Gond) in 18th century.
It then remained with the Bhopal rulers until they abandoned it. Its description is found in the Bhopal plates of Udayavarma Parmara who ruled in 1200 AD.
Starting from the northern entry point of the complex, the crumbling walls of the fort are still visible in some places. The three natural ponds and as many as 56 baodis come into view one by one.
The main attractions of the complex are the remains of the Rani Mahal and a comparatively well-preserved Raja Mahal. Both are perched atop southern tip of the hill and were the residential complexes of the rulers who held the fort down the ages.
The Rani Mahal, although almost completely destroyed provides evidence of being a five-storeyed structure constructed right over the edge of the hill.
The Raja Mahal is the most interesting of structures. Perched on southern tip, it gives panoramic view of a major part of sanctuary and has a large foreground with three baodies.
Ground floor is in good condition while the upper