The Maharashtra Government plans to restore six historical forts in a bid to boost tourism. These landmarks, including one that dates back to 1140, are currently in a dilapidated state. The fact that there was a time when they had an important role to play in the city’s history has been neglected by many.
The restoration process is being done to turn these places into tourist spots and venues for cultural events. A report by Hindustan Times said the final proposal will be sent to the government soon.
“The forts will be developed as sites where cultural and other events can be held. This will generate resources for their conservation, make the project financially self-sustaining, and develop these sites as cultural venues,” the website quoted Tejas Garge, director, Museums and Archaeology, government of Maharashtra, as saying.
Here’s a look at these historical monuments:
Built in 1680 by the British, this structure served as a watchtower that gave a bird’s eye view of the Bombay harbour. Since then, it has come under the control of the Siddis and the the Portuguese also attempted to take control of the fort in 1772.
Although identified by the Portuguese as an area of importance, the Worli fort, as it stands today, was build by the British in 1675. Since it is built along the coastline of the city, it offers a breathtaking view of the Mahim Bay. The fort will see its wall being strengthened further and a stage is being planned to be built to host cultural events, reported Hindustan Times.
Saint George Fort
Built in 1769 by the British, what remains of the fort was a result of them demolishing the structure themselves. What’s fascinating is the fact that this fort was built to withstand a potential attack by the legendary French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte. After his death, the importance of the fort waned in comparison to new ones that mushroomed across the city.
This Portuguese fort has all but disappeared. What remains of this surveillance fort is only its entrance. Built in 1640, it had a freshwater estuary and this is the reason it was named Castella de Aguada. The Marathas controlled the fort from 1739 to 1774, before it was taken over by the British. This fort will get an information centre and will undergo restoration.
What separates the Mahim fort from the others is it’s history. Built almost nine centuries ago by King Pratapbimb, it perhaps made the city a major trade destination in the 12th century. The rennovation of this historical fort will require rehabilitation of shanties around it.
Dharavi Fort, too, is a victim of ears of neglect. Also known as Kala Qilla it was built by the first governor of Bombay, Gerald Aungier, as a watchtower. Restoring this fort will require rehabilitation and resettlement efforts with respect to slums that surround it.
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