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U.P. banks on tourism to glide over drought

BUNDELKHAND,UTTAR PRADESH, 27/04/2016 (to go with Omar Rashid's story): KALINJER FORT BUNDELKHAND::Historian says, Kalinjer fort was built during 150 to 250 CE by Bargujar Kings who had very creative imagination,highly developed aesthetic sense and religious fervor. They were great devotees of Lord Shiva, The massive rock cut sculptures include figures of various gods and goddesses from ancient mythological themes. Fort contains Shiva temple of Neelkanth Mahadev. Its historical background is replete with numerous battles and invasions . It served several of Bundelkhand's ruling dynasties, including the Chandela dynasty of Rajputs in the 10th century who ruled it for pretty longer period. Mughal invader Babur was the only commander in history to have captured the fort in 1526 when driving away Raja Hasan Khan Mewattpati. Shershah Suri, who had dethroned Mughals and was trying to capture central India had almost captured this fort but died accidentally here in 1545. Kalinjar played a prominent part in history down to the time of the Revolt of 1857, when it was held by a small British garrison. . Photo Rajeev Bhatt   | Photo Credit: Rajeev Bhatt

You could soon get an opportunity to glide over the picturesque plains of Bundelkhand while enjoying a breath-taking view of the Vindhyas. Less than three hours drive from the world-heritage site of Khajuraho, the Kalinjar Fort is not just a classic example of military strategy, it is also a treasure trove for history lovers with its rich collection of monuments, temples and artefacts.

However, in spite of being a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India, it has fallen off the tourism map. To showcase its potential and generate employment in the agrarian-crisis stricken Bundelkhand, the Uttar Pradesh government plans to introduce paragliding at the citadel, which stands at an impressive height of 700 feet.

The State government is in touch with a local company, which operates in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, for the contract. “We are willing to provide the land resources for the project,” Banda District Magistrate Yogesh Kumar told The Hindu. “We are trying to figure out the logistics and have sought the feasibility and viability report. Safety of the people, security and traffic are our prime concerns,” he said.

The State targets a footfall of 100 visitors initially, given that tourism facilities in the area are in a shambles. Along with the thrill of paragliding, visitors would also be treated to a ‘history light and sound show’ at the Fort. The Kalinjar Mahotsav cultural festival, discontinued since 2003, will be revived in September-October, with kavi sammelans and mushairas (poetry festivals). The activity is expected to boost the income of locals, who have been forced to migrate over the years, due to crop failure and lack of alternative employment.

The neglect of the historic fort seems to have come to the government’s attention after Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav recently paid a surprise visit during his tour of Bundelkhand. “It is unfortunate that the fort has not been maintained well, considering its heritage and history,” he had tweeted later.

Forgotten ponds

Restoring the numerous Chandela-era ponds within the fort could also play mitigate the water crisis in the area. “If the project is handed to us, in two years we promise to restore greenery,” Haris Zaman, convenor of INTACH, Banda chapter, said. However, the INTACH’s proposals to the State government and the ASI have not received much of a response.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2021 12:00:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/U.P.-banks-on-tourism-to-glide-over-drought/article14260720.ece

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