Forlorn fort waiting for tourism boost

Forlorn fort waiting for tourism boost
Highlights

Kondapalli fort, located just 24 km from Vijayawada city, has great potential to be developed as a major tourist destination in the district. Built by Reddy rulers Anavema Reddy on the hillocks of Kondapalli forest area in 1360, the historical fort is a testimony to the change of many rulers and dynasties for the last six centuries.

Vijayawada: Kondapalli fort, located just 24 km from Vijayawada city, has great potential to be developed as a major tourist destination in the district. Built by Reddy rulers Anavema Reddy on the hillocks of Kondapalli forest area in 1360, the historical fort is a testimony to the change of many rulers and dynasties for the last six centuries.

Kondapalli fort was built with formidable rocks and lime material and it withstood many natural calamities like cyclones, which are very common in coastal districts. Keeping in view its potential for development, the state government sanctioned Rs. four crore to provide basic amenities.

The fort had a great history during the Reddy rulers like Prolaya Vemareddy, Komagiri Reddy, Pedakomati Vemareddy, Machireddy and Rachavemareddy. After Reddy rulers, Hyderabad based Muslim rulers occupied it and followed by Gajapati rulers of Orissa in 15th century.

Vijayanagar empire of Sri Krishnadevaraya, Moghals and Quli Qutub Shah of Hyderabad ruled it. Finally, British rulers occupied it in 1766 and had control on it till independence in 1947.

Till India got Independence in 1947, the fort was under the British rule and was used for training the soldiers and as a military base. After independence, Andhra Pradesh Department of Archaeology and Museums took control in 1962 and declared it as a heritage monument and been trying to protect it.

The historical fort has warehouse for storing food grains, jail for prisoners, a big Durbar hall, dance hall, Ranimahal, bathing rooms and big halls for the soldiers, kings and their entourage.

Solid pillars and arch type walls made of huge rocks still stand tall proudly attracting the attention of the viewers even after 600 years of its construction. The fort has three entrances but the Archaeology department is using only one entrance for the visitors.

The entrance has beautiful façade with Qutub Shahi style of architecture made of thick rocks covered by lime and adhesive materials. Heavy canons used by soldiers for many centuries are still intact attracting the visitors and displaying the fire power of rulers.

Though the historical fort has potential for development, the successive Governments have been neglecting the fort for many years. Visitors coming from Krishna district and other places are disappointed due to lack of drinking water or toilet facility at the fort. Besides, there is no canteen facility too.

The department of Archaeology laid a borewell for extracting water. But, it needs three phase current supply, available at the nearby Doordarshan TV relay station.

A senior officer said fund crunch is the major problem being faced by the department. Besides, non co-operation of forest department is also big hurdle for the development of the fort. The tourism department has also drawn plans for construction of rest rooms and creating tourism park. But, the works have not started yet.

Kondapalli fort is attracting youngsters, who are fond of trekking. The Government can develop Kondapalli as an adventurous tourism destination. Kondapalli fort is merely 25 km from new capital Amaravati. So, the government is also showing interest to develop the fort and recently announced funds for its development. But, it will take more time to become reality.

The fort had a great history of 600 years and it can be developed as a tourist centre, said E Sivanagireddy, CEO, Cultural Centre of Vijayawada and Amaravati. He said the Government is taking measures to develop the Fort and transform it like Golkonda of Krishna district.

A senior officer of Tourism department said Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu is insisting that all works related to providing basic amenities should be completed by March 2018. Allocation of funds and co-ordination between Tourism and Forest departments will give big boost for the development of the historical monument, which is located amidst thick lush green reserve forests of Kondapalli.

By MD Ameen

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