Inaccessible roads,broken ramparts and unclean water tanks described the Ghangad fort right till the beginning of this year. However,thanks to the efforts of a group of enthusiasts – Shivaji Trail,the fort is finally getting a new look. The members have been painstakingly working on repairing the fort for almost a year now. They have cleaned the tanks,installed a ladder and rope wire railings and even rebuilt some of the broken ramparts.
We have a fixed estimated budget of R 10 lakh. We can’t and don’t intend to overshoot it, says Millind Kshirsagar,founder of the Shivaji Trail. He has been working along with close to 100 members of the group to rebuild the fort. In order to ensure that they didn’t go beyond the budget,they have spent money only on items required for the restoration. “The villagers and members pitched in for everything else,including first-aid kits and food.
The work is carried out every weekend. The members trek up to the fort to go on with the repairs. One of the major problems they encountered during the initial stages was the transportation of materials to the top. We installed a metal ladder permanently near one of the fort faces,which is a steep vertical wall front. The foot-holds cut into the rock had eroded. Now,anyone can climb up that front quite easily, says Vinayak Khot,one of the members.
On top of the fort,the water tanks posed another challenge. Ten feet in depth,the tanks,which have a natural supply of fresh groundwater,were covered with over seven feet of silt,moss and filth. Cleaning them was not easy because we could not take any heavy machinery up to the top. We worked bit by bit every weekend. Even during the rains,when the fort was virtually inaccessible,we would go up to clean it. The result is there for everyone to see. All the three tanks have been cleaned and now have fresh clean water that can be used by everyone, says Kshirsagar.
In addition,the members have already rebuilt the entrance to the fort as well as some missing steps along the major walls so that everyone can access the fort. The road from the temple located at the base of the fort has been cleared and the steps have been cleaned and rebuilt in places where they were broken. We have spent around R 7 lakh till now. As of now,only the final repair work and finishing touches are left. The last bit involves installing wire rope railings and completing the steps leading up to the top. We will complete it by February 2012, says Kshirsagar.