MAHAKUMBH-2025 PREPARATIONS: Now Efforts begin to conserve, beautify ruins of historical Ulta Qila - Hindustan Times
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MAHAKUMBH-2025 PREPARATIONS: Now Efforts begin to conserve, beautify ruins of historical Ulta Qila

Dec 06, 2023 06:52 PM IST

Discussions on the conservation and beautification of Ulta Quila were held with Mahakumbh Mela Adhikari Vijay Kiran Anand. Following this, I, along with the team, visited the site on December 1.

Prayagraj Efforts have now commenced to conserve and beautify the ruins of the historical Ulta Quila, located 14 km from Sangam city in Jhunsi. Led by Prayagraj Mayor Umeshchandra Ganesh Kesarwani, a team of experts and officials from the Prayagraj Mela Authority recently visited the fort’s ruins.

Within the fort ruins, an ancient Ram Janaki temple is present. (HT Photo)
Within the fort ruins, an ancient Ram Janaki temple is present. (HT Photo)

“Discussions on the conservation and beautification of Ulta Quila were held with Mahakumbh Mela Adhikari Vijay Kiran Anand. Following this, I, along with the team, visited the site on December 1. The team of experts will submit their report, based on which a proposal will be prepared and presented before the state-level committee, set up under U.P. Chief Secretary, to oversee and approve all development projects as part of the preparations for Mahakumbh-2025,” said Prayagraj Mayor Umeshchandra Ganesh Kesarwani.

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He mentioned that the plan would encompass the temples and other structures, including a historical well known as ‘Samudra Koop.’ Prayagraj boasts many places of religious and historical significance that need improvement and promotion as tourist attractions. This effort aims to make Prayagraj a must-stop destination for people from all over India and abroad, he added.

Renowned historian Prof Yogeshwar Tewari from Allahabad University’s Medieval and Modern History department shared that Ulta Kila, situated on the banks of the Ganga, derived its name from a story about King Haribong of the Chandravanshi dynasty. The fort is believed to be upside down due to a curse by a saint named Ali Murtaza, who predicted that a star would fall on the fort and turn it upside down.

Prof Yogeshwar Tewari also mentioned that Guru Gorakhnath and Matsyendra Nath once cursed the city of Jhunsi when King Haribong failed to show them due respect. As a result, the city got scorched, and it came to be known as Jhunsi.

Within the fort ruins, an ancient Ram Janaki temple is present, where statues of various gods and goddesses are installed. Devotees still visit this temple for darshan. Additionally, there is a Shri Hanuman cave in the fort, where Lord Hanuman can be seen by descending 27 stairs.

The Samudra Koop, translating to ocean well, is a sacred tirth in Prayagraj, established during the Chandravamsa dynasty’s reign around 7100 BCE. The well is mentioned in the Matsya Purana and Padma Purana and is considered a divine entity. Devotees flock to this well during significant events, as its waters are believed to have medicinal and healing properties.

Mayor Umeshchandra Ganesh Kesarwani mentioned, “I have asked the Jalkal department to test the water to check whether it is fit for human consumption.” Maharajadhiraja Shri Samudragupta of the Gupta dynasty built this well on the ruins of the ancient city, on a high mound on the bank of the Ganga River. Archaeological excavations at the Ulta Quila site revealed that an earthquake destroyed the city in the 14th century BCE (1359 BCE), with numerous coins, pottery, idols, and copper items from various periods discovered at the site.

PHOTO: Ulta Quila (File photos)

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    K Sandeep Kumar is a Special Correspondent of Hindustan Times heading the Allahabad Bureau. He has spent over 16 years reporting extensively in Uttar Pradesh, especially Allahabad and Lucknow. He covers politics, science and technology, higher education, medical and health and defence matters. He also writes on development issues.

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