Nandana Fort ready for inauguration

Revitalised heritage gets canteen, rest house, hotel and shaded benches


Qaiser Shirazi August 31, 2022
A worker climbs a scaffolding at a construction site in Mumbai, India, January 19, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD:

The Tourism Development Corporation of Punjab (TDCP)  has  almost  completed  restoration  work on the historical Nandana Fort and on a temple built in  the  8th  century,  a  historic  mosque  and  a  science laboratory of Muslim Persian scientist Abu Rayhan Al Bairuni.

TDCP  has  also  paved  allroutes  from  GT  Road  to  the  over  1,000  century-old  Nandana  Fort, constructed at an altitude of 15,000 feet by wealthy Hindu  king  Inder  Pal  in the Baghanwala village of Pindadan  Khan Tehsil  in  the Jhelum district.

Located  within  the  salt range,  the  foundations of  the  fort  were  severely  damaged and in dire need of restoration.

Washrooms,  canteens, rest  houses,  hotels  and  tuck shops have been constructed in different locations  leading  to  the  fort  while shaded benches and  lights  have  also  been  installed on the premises. During  the  excavation by the archaeology department,  utensils  and  a  sewerage system was also discovered.

Centuries  ago,  this  was the  only  route  to  reach Delhi and all invaders coming from Afghanistan used  to  take  this  route.

The  Hindu  Shahi  kings had  also  set  up  special check posts to monitor the movement of invaders.

Former  prime  minister Imran  Khan  visited  the fort  here  in  February  2021 and  ordered  its  restoration  by  building  a  worldclass science laboratory in memory of Al-Bairuni and renovating  the  fort, the temple  and  the  mosque.

An  initial  grant  of  Rs300 million  was  also  released for the restoration project. The  Baghanwala  village on  the  way  to  Nandana  

Fort  has  been  declared  a “model village” and water, electricity, gas and phone services  have  been  provided  there.  Internet  service  will  also  be  provided  to the village next month.

At  Nandana  Fort,  a  rest house,  a  hotel,  a  kiosk, tuck shops and washrooms have been constructed while benches and lights  have  also been installed. 

A  plaque  containing the history of the fort has also been installed. Roads from Baghanwala to the fort have been paved with locally available stones. The  historic  fort  is  expected  to  be  opened  for tourists  in  the  next  three months.

There  is  a  big  temple next to this fort. This temple was built in the name of Hindu Lord Shiva. The  landmark  fort housed the laboratory of renowned Muslim Persian scientist Abu Rayhan Al Bairuni, where he  measured  the  circumference of the earth.

Understandably,  the building is also known as the  Al  Bairuni  Centre for this reason. A state-of-the-art science laboratory is being built at the place where Al-Bairuni carried  out  experiments.

This laboratory will be equipped  with  computers and  the  internet. Young scientists from all over thecountry will use the lab for experiments. In the 10th century, Mahmud Ghaznavi attacked  this  fort  and  con-quered it after a week-long battle. After the conquest,
he  built  a  large  mosque  next  to  the  temple  called Ghaznavi Mosque.

The mosque has also been decorated and painted according  to  the  original  architecture.
Excavation  work  by  the  archaeology  department  is also going on in phases here. In the next few months, Al-Bairuni laboratory, Nandana  Fort,  Ghaznavi  Mosque and the thousand-year-old  temple  will be opened for public visit.

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