ASI includes Gawilgarh Fort and 15 Lonar temples in its ‘Must See’ list

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 03 Nov 2017 09:17:54



By Kaushik Bhattacharya,

CUSTODIAN of country’s cultural heritage, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has included ancient Gawilgarh Fort, situated in Melghat forest in Amravati district, and 15 temples of Lonar in its ‘Must See’ list.
These protected monuments under ASI are among the six from Maharashtra in the ‘Must See’ sites. The list which contains 98 ancient monuments and heritage sites of the country is prepared to promote tourism and create awareness about the country’s past civilisation, art and architecture among the citizens. It also includes Ajanta, Ellora and Elephanta caves and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.

As per local tradition, Gawilgarh fort was constructed in 12th Century AD by Gawali King who belonged to the family to Yadavas. According to Volume I of Tarikhe-e-Farishta, the fort was built by the 9th King of Bahamani Sultan Ahmad Shah Vali in 1425 AD. In 1477, 1st King Phatteulla Imadulmulk of Imadshahi of Berar repaired it and extended its periphery.

In 1577 AD, during the reign of Nizamshahi under Saiyyad Murtuza Sabzavari’s inspection, Bahiram Khan repaired the fort. In the turbulent history of Berar, the fort passed from one hand to another viz Bahmanis, Mughals, Marathas, Nizams and British. In the Ain-i-Akbari (1596-97), it is described as fortress of almost matchless strength containing a spring at which weapons of steel were watered.

Fifteen ancient temples -- Papahareshwar, Kumareshwar, Yajaneshwar, Ramgaya, Mahadev, Bagicha, Wagh, Mor, Kamalja Devi, Mahadev, Amberkhana, Mungla Mahadev, Deshmukh, Chopda Mahadev, Peer ki Chattri, and Daitya Sudana -- are located along with periphery of the Lonar crater and the shore of the lake. Some of them are situated in a unique location higher and visually linked with both lake and above the ground level.

These temples were built around 11th and 12th Century AD and follow the contemporary regional styles, quite homogeneously termed as Hemadpanti. The temples are dedicated mainly to Lord Shiva, though there are few to other deities too.

Speaking to ‘The Hitavada,’ Nizamuddin Taher, Superintending Archaeologist, ASI Nagpur Circle, said that all 98 iconic monuments in the ‘Must See’ list on the ASI website have universal values and attract domestic and foreign tourists. All 15 temples of Lonar are situated in dense Monsoon vegetation, he added.

Taher said, civic administration in Lonar has constituted a committee to look after all these temples. ASI representatives are also members of the committee. For proper conservation of monuments, Taher said, people’s participation is necessary. ASI would encourage local people to promote eco-tourism at such sites that would improve their economic status, he added.