Restoration of Kot Diji Fort planned

As in old times, 34 cannons will be placed at the fort

Saadia Qamar June 07, 2017
The Kot Diji fort in Khairpur was built by Mir Sohrab Khan Talpur in the late 18th century. The Talpurs are one of Sindh’s royal families about which there is authentic information on direct descendants. PHOTO CREDIT: AMEER HAMZA

KARACHI: The neglected fort in Kot Diji, which dates back to the eighteenth century, may embrace its former glory as a substantial amount has been allocated in the Sindh budget for its uplift.

The Kot Diji Fort, which was built by the Talpur ruler Mir Suhrab in 1790 AD, has been in a deplorable condition for a long time. The fort is situated on the foot of Rohri Hills in Khairpur district. It was occupied by different dynasties in different periods of time and once housed the armies of Soomro and Samma tribes and later on Mughals Amirs, too, placed cannons here.

Calling it an important monument, Heritage Foundation Chief Executive Officer Yasmin Lari said the fort is an exemplary defence structure, as it has been strategically built for the purpose of defending the city from enemies. She expressed concern over cracks that have started emerging in the walls and demanded the culture department to make sure that there is no graffiti on the walls. Lari also pointed out at the potential damage that water can do to the ground surface of the fort.

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The fort is one of many historical buildings that have been robbed of their antiquities. It once housed as many as 34 cannons but today none of them are placed within its premises. The cannons are now housed in different localities across different jurisdictions with some under the forced patronage of a bureaucrat, revealed a source.

"We have pledged to bring back those 34 cannons on the grounds and remits of Kot Diji Fort," said Sindh Antiquities and Archaeology Department Director-General Manzoor Ahmed Kanasro. He added that the government plans to place statues of soldiers in uniform, as they used to wear under the Talpur rule, at the gates of the fort in order to give a historical feel to the place and attract tourists.

According to Kanasro, there is also a plan to build a museum near the site to preserve and cherish the rich past of Sindh, which will be completed by 2018. The museum will be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs38.8 million.

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