A young devout Hindu lodged a complaint from the USA via e-mail regarding encroachment on Vishalgad!

Encroachment on Vishalgad, case of poor condition of temples and samadhis

Kolhapur (Maharashtra) – The Vishalgad Raksha and Anti-Encroachment Action Committee has started an agitation in March against encroachment on Vishalgad, condition of temples and samadhis. The movement has spread globally through social media. Observing a tweet made on the occasion of Vishalgad campaign, a young devout Hindu from the US, asked the Kolhapur District Coordinator of the committee, contacted Mr. Kiran Duse to understand the whole campaign and expressed a desire to report directly in that regard. The devout Hindu is a 17-year-old student originally from Andhra Pradesh. He has lodged a complaint with the Maharashtra State Department of Tourism and Culture via e-mail seeking further attention. (It is shameful for the Archaeological Department that a young devout Hindu from abroad has faith in a fort in the State of Maharashtra in India and those who are responsible for it do nothing. – Editor)

Aspects in his complaint

1. The fort at Vishalgad is in a very bad condition and has been encroached a lot. This needs to be addressed immediately. The Vishalgad Protection and Anti-Encroachment Action Committee has made a number of important points regarding the ruins of Vishalgad and the encroachment on it.

2. Bad condition of the fort and the temples on it :  Waghjaidevi is the village Goddess of the villagers of Vishalgad but her temple is in a very bad condition. With the exception of the half-wall of the temple and a carved pillar, it has been completely in ruins and the Idol of Waghjaidevi sitting on a tiger is in a state of disrepair. The Vitthal Temple, Nrusinha Temple, Shri Vithalaidevi Temple and Shriram Temple in this area have collapsed. Garbage is spread everywhere on the fort.

3. Neglected Samadhi of Bajiprabhu Deshpande :  The Samadhis of Veer Bajiprabhu and Fulajiprabhu Deshpande who gave their lives for Swarajya have been completely ignored by the Archaeological Department. There is no paved road to go to this samadhis. There is not even a simple plaque giving information about Samadhi at this place.

4. Encroachment :  There have been many encroachments on the fort during the last 20 years. Responding to a RTI petition, the Archaeological Department acknowledged that “there has been a lot of encroachment on the fort in the form of unauthorised constructions”. Houses have been constructed on this fort for the homeless under the Government’s Indira Awas Yojana. Although only 288 square feet of land has been approved for each of these houses, actually 1200 to 1300 square feet houses have been constructed.

The Directorate of Archeology and Museums should take immediate action to renovate the temple and Samadhi site on the fort considering the above aspects seriously and remove illegal encroachments in the area.