Take a visit to Sisupalgarh and experience time-travel at its best. Though a lot is known about this Fort, here are a few facts we are sharing on World Heritage Day, you possibly did not know about this forgotten fort.
1. A Unique Marvel in Stone
A German professor from the University of Heidelberg, Paul Yule stated during his research: ‘We have one Sisupalgarh in the entire world and we have to preserve it.’
2. A Lost World
Many parts of the fort, excavated in 1947-1948 by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), may remain only in the pages of history. It has fallen victim to unauthorized constructions and land grabbing.
3. A defense mechanism like no other!
A historic fort with a 2000-year-old quadratic defensive wall, measuring 1,200 x 1,160 metres and portions of the surviving wall are as high as 12 metres. Talk about security systems back then!
4. A fallen neighbour already
If you go 500 metres north-west towards a place called Mahabhoi Sasan, an ancient mud fort has also fallen victim to the land sharks. This should make us more cautious about Sisupalgarh’s fate.
5. The Queen stands tall
The Queens Palace (Rani Uasa) still stands mighty with its pillared structures – a sight you must relish.
4. It’s exact origins are still unclear
The original excavator – B.B. Lal (former ASI chief) confesses that they are still unclear about the period of the Fort and it can go beyond the 300 BC to 350 AD timeline declared, on both the sides.
5. Multiple clues showing it’s strategic importance in history
Hati Gumpha (Elephant Cave) inscription of Udayagiri in Bhubaneswar points towards the fact that Sisupalgarh area was the Kalinga Nagar of Kharvela’s capital city. The fort is located near modern-day Samantarapur, along the outskirts of the city – about 5 km from the railway station and 10 km from the airport.
6. If you thought its only Sisupalgarh, there’s more!
There are two other fort ruins on the city outskirts – Bualigarh & Chudangagarh. Both are now inside the area of the Chandaka Dampara Sanctuary (CDS).
Here’s a video by CNN IBN which shows how important Sisupalgarh is to the culture and history of Odisha.
However encroachment and land grabbing by illegal construction bodies coupled with the negligence of State authorities is slowly deteriorating this important fort ruin – a highly planned Urban settlement of its time.
There are also serious concerns over the preservation of material unearthed from the site. We have already lost priceless gold coins and terracotta pottery found at the place during the first excavation.
Let’s come together and pledge to protect our historical sites on #WorldHeritageDay & not let History become ‘History.’