Restore Aurangzeb-Built Qila-e-Ark Fort, Potential To Become Tourist Hub: Experts

Such structures could be a game-changer in terms of economy, says a member of a monument welfare organisation

Restore Aurangzeb-Built Qila-e-Ark Fort, Potential To Become Tourist Hub: Experts

Aurangabad's Qila-e-Ark, a palace built by Mughal ruler Aurangzeb, is lying in a dilapidated condition and cultural experts have demanded that it be conserved to make it a tourist attraction.

The fort complex, located in the heart of the Maharashtra city, which is named after Aurangzeb, has suffered damages over a period of time and lost its past glory.

Though some new buildings have come up in the premises in the last several years, the old structure is crumbling and is in need of repair and restoration, say experts.

When contacted, Aurangabad Collector Sunil Chavan told PTI that the district administration will take up conservation of a part of the structure in near future.

Ajay Kulkarni, the convener of Aurangabad chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), said the palace was constructed in 1650 by Aurangzeb.

"The structure lacks maintenance and its condition has deteriorated," he said.

Fort expert Sanket Kulkarni said the building complex was earlier a notified monument of the state archaeology department, but was denotified in 1971.

"The monument witnessed the 'Vande Mataram movement' held during the Nizam period. It is in a bad condition now," he said.

Kulkarni said the complex was converted into a college during the Nizam period.

Later, the college moved to a new building.

Swapnil Joshi, a member of the ''Amazing Aurangabad'' organisation, which works for the welfare of monuments, said Qila-e-Ark is one of the beautiful monuments located here.

"If restored, it can become another tourist hotspot. Though the complex has new buildings now, the old structure has tourist potential," he said.

"Such structures could be a game-changer in terms of economy. European nations have many such examples," he said.

When contacted, a senior official from the state archeology department said, "Qila-e-Ark is a denotified monument and the authority, under whose jurisdiction it comes, needs no permission from us to undertake the conservation."

The official further said so far no agency has approached them for advice on the structure''s conservation.

"If they come, we can surely help," he added.

Meanwhile, Collector Chavan said an entry gate of the building complex and its adjacent fortified wall will be taken up for conservation in near future.