Indore’s historic Krishnapura Chhatris fall prey to junkies, rodents
The historic Krishnapura Chhatris of Indore may have withstood the ravages of time, but they finally seem to have found their match in drunkards and junkies who haunt their premises.indore Updated: Aug 24, 2016 11:47 IST
The historic Krishnapura Chhatris of Indore may have withstood the ravages of time, but they finally seem to have found their match in drunkards and junkies who haunt their premises.
Residents of the area complain that respectable folk – including tourists from places afar – are avoiding the centuries-old cenotaphs because they have become a popular hangout for anti-social elements. What’s more, even local administrative officials are allegedly giving the structures the cold shoulder as far as maintenance and security are concerned.
The Krishnapura Chhatris complex – named after Maharaja Yashwant Rao Holkar I’s wife Kesarbai Holkar (also known as Rajmata Krishnabai) – house five cenotaphs. Situated on the banks of the Chandra Bhaga and Khan rivers, their architectural style is influenced by that of the Marathas, Rajputs and Mughals.
“The chhatris have dropped out of the list of attractions in Indore because of drunkards and drug users,” said a woman resident on the condition of anonymity. “My father used to bring me here all the time when I was a child, but they don’t seem safe anymore. The stares we get are discouraging enough.”
Most residents believe the historic structures are in dire need of security. “Earlier, there were four security personnel who would stand guard in shifts to prevent disreputable activities in the premises of the complex. But now they have withdrawn the guards, and it’s left to us to prevent drunkards and junkies from entering the area. How can we do that? We have our own businesses to look after,” laments Mukesh Pachori, a 45-year-old fruit vendor.
The historic structures also suffer from an utter lack of maintenance, and an infestation of rodents caused by garbage left strewn around the place. It is not uncommon to see rats scurrying around the cenotaphs, and anybody would agree that appreciating historical structures isn’t possible when one risks the possibility of having a big, hairy creature climb up his leg.
The residents feel cheated by the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) and the Indore Gaurav Foundation (IFG), which promised to beautify the chhatris about a year ago. “It’s true that a beautification project was undertaken sometime ago by the IMC and IGF, under the guidance of former collector Akash Tripathi. But it was an exercise in vain. They put up new lights, which stopped working after a month. All they did was waste money,” said Akshay Khemraj, who lives in the vicinity.
The chhatris, built by the Holkar dynasty, are around 300 years old. Besides having a cenotaph in honour of Kesarbai, the complex also houses structures dedicated to historic figures such as Tukoji Rao II, Shivaji Rao, Manorama Raje and Yashwant Rao Holkar II.
IMC commissioner Manish Singh, however said the civic body, which was earlier struggling to beautify cenotaphs with a shoestring budget and paucity of gardening staff, can do it now as a new budget worth Rs 30 crore has been passed recently for the same cause.
“We got the budget for the maintenance, development and restoration of all monuments including the Chattris, in February this year. With this budget, we are sure to resort all issues. Soon, security guards will be deployed there. The problem of bore wells will also be tackled by the IMC,” Singh said.