Once the nucleus of an ambitious plan to build a new city – Bengaluru – by the city’s founder Kempe Gowda, Tipu Sultan Fort or Bangalore Fort today is a far cry from its former state of glory. Visitors are now greeted by cracks that have developed in the fort walls above the temple that one sees after entering the protected monument nestled in the busy K.R. Market area.
The cracks, it is learnt, appeared recently although the fort was restored only two years back. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) officials blame it on the age of the monument. “Essential steps for its conservation were taken two years ago, but there are no major plans as of now,” an official said.
The ASI will now to analyse the cracks to ascertain their width and depth before taking up conservation work.
Incidentally, the Namma Metro’s underground section, where blasting work had been taken up, passes beneath the fort. However, the ASI official said that the cracks in the fort walls had nothing to do with Namma Metro work.
Meera Iyer, co-convenor, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), said there is a need for better maintenance. “There is not much supervision though there are security guards,” she added.
In fact, the ASI has barred access to public to the top portion of the fort, which leads to the dungeon where British prisoners were kept as the space was used for “inappropriate activities” such as gambling.
Ms. Iyer suggested that the fort should be used as public space for cultural activities, like it had been done a couple of times when a music concert and a play about Tipu Sultan were organised. To this proposal, an ASI official said with prior permission from the New Delhi head office of ASI, non-private cultural events can be held.
Historian S.K. Aruni mentioned that restoration of a wall that had collapsed due to heavy rain three years ago may have caused the cracks. “It is natural to see another part develop cracks if restoration work is undertaken,” he explained.