Metal barricade comes up around Sulthan Bathery

Sulthan Bathery before it was fenced on June 2, 2019.  

Sulthan Bathery, one of the two Centrally protected monuments, the other being the Mangaladevi Temple, in Mangaluru, has been given protection by putting up an eight-foot tall metal barricade around it.

Said to have been built by Mysuru ruler Tipu Sultan in 1784 on the banks of the Phalguni (Gurupura) in Boloor, the Bathery served as a naval outpost to prevent enemy ships from moving upstream the river. The Bathery also has a small chamber in the basement, said to have been used to store arms and ammunition, that is kept under lock now.

The metal fence was put up on a stone masonry foundation post-Monsoon this year, according to local residents.

Vijay Boloor, a resident, said that people were clueless about the intention behind the construction even as the already poorly maintained Bathery wears an ugly look. Aruna Nayak, a tourist visiting the monument on Tuesday last, said that the fence has completely destroyed the beauty of the Bathery.

Except the fencing, the monument has not seen any other preservation or improvement with its walls being decorated with obscene graffiti, Mr. Boloor said. The entire structure was in a state of neglect with its top portion being in a bad condition. Located in a serene spot, the monument could have been made a tourist attraction with appropriate landscape, water-sports and other related activities, he felt.

Sulthan Bathery and Mangaladevi Temple are being maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and they come under ASI’s Bengaluru Circle while the Bathery's fencing work was said to have been taken up by the Union Culture Ministry’s National Monuments Authority. About two decades ago, a contractor employed by the ASI had executed patchwork of the Bathery and painted it in stark yellow much to the dismay of heritage lovers.

Architect Niren Jain, who is also the co-convener of INTACH, Mangaluru Chapter, felt that the highly-understaffed authorities might have put up the fence to prevent vandalisation of the monument. However, the authorities work in isolation rather than in collaboration with the local administration, he said and added that barricades or enclosures should appropriately be designed in sync with landscape.

Superintending Archaeologist of ASI’s Bengaluru Circle Shivakant Bajpai told The Hindu that he came to know recently about the monument being barricaded. “I will be visiting Mangaluru soon and take a decision after an inspection,” he said.

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Printable version | Jun 12, 2021 5:42:22 PM |

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