Trekkers restore Santoshgad fort

#1 Oct 15th, 2017, 08:56
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  • aarosh is offline
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They were a happy bunch of trekking enthusiasts looking for new heritage spots to explore in their myriad adventures. What they stumbled upon at the Santoshgad fort in Satara district was a structure steeped in history, but dilapidated beyond recognition.Thus began their laboured endeavour to bring the fort back to life. These trekkers formed an NGO named Shivsahyadri Durgasanvardhan Sanstha to conserve the fort.

“We were a group of trek kers who used to visit newer sites almost every week. When we first came to this fort, we fell in love with its aura and decided to conserve it. It was in a really bad shape; its architecture barely visible. Initially, we started working on it by ourselves, but eventually realised that it is not feasible for group members to travel to this fort every week since it is about 120 km far from Pune city. That is when we decided to pitch in and hire people to work on this full time,“ offered Vaibhav Satav, an accountant who has been associated with Shivsahyadri Durgasanvardhan Sanstha since its inception.

Added Sandip Pathare, vice-president of the NGO, “I went to the Santoshgad fort for the first time in 2014.Admittedly, it was a good place to trek, but the fort was barely visible. We went back there the same year after reading up on its history. Our perception towards the fort had totally changed by then and so we decided to conserve it.Initially, we were only a group of 11-12 trekkers, which has now turned into a huge team of 60 people.“ The group also managed to gain technical support from the state archaeology department and now works under its constant guidance. They ensure that whatever excavation work they perform is somehow supervised by the experts so that in the process of conservation, they don't end up destroying the heritage. Vilas Pundlikrao Wahane, assistant director of the state archaeology department, informed, “The restoration being done by the group is commendable. Before beginning conservation work at the fort, the members had invited me and I had inspected the fort, guiding them about how to proceed without damaging the structures. They have stuck to the guidelines and have changed the face of the fort significantly. Even now, they often send me pictures of the fort before proceeding with any major excavation or cleaning.They have proceeded with the restoration in a systematic manner, taking all measures to ensure that work is consistent and the structure is restored for tourist use in future.“

Initially, the group faced a fair amount of opposition from sceptical villagers, who did not trust their sincerity in working for the fort. “The people of the village were reluctant to give us permission to work on this fort at first, since they were under the impression that NGOs garner funds in the name of the fort, but no actual restoration is done.But we convinced them to at least allow us to start with the cleaning. When they saw that we genuinely wanted to work, they started supporting us,“ Satav stressed.


Pune Mirror
#2 Oct 15th, 2017, 21:54
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  • mridula is offline
#2
Wow what a heartwarming piece of news!
#3 Oct 16th, 2017, 21:01
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Whoa! This is just brilliant. In fact. I must apologize to think it is too good to be true in the first few seconds. The before-after photos deserve to be shared in better resolution. I am sharing this story with fellow travelers as well.

To me, this is a fine example of giving back to the country and the local community. Kudos and my respect to the team, the govt body, the NGO, and the idea seeders.
“Life is not a journey to the grave with intentions of arriving safely in a pretty well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming ... WOW! What a ride!”

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