he magnificent Bharuch fort (Lallubhai Haveli), perched on a hilltop overlooks the Narmada river. This one-storeyed building was erected in 1791 A.D by an ex-Divan of the former Nawab of Broach named Lallubhai. Hence the fort is sometimes known as Lallubhai Haveli. There is a small 'bungli' (room) on the second floor that has arrangements for placing matchlock guns. The facade of the fort is designed with rich and lavish wood carvings. It also has underground passages.
Within the fort there is the Collector's office, Civil Courts, the Old Dutch factory, a church, the Victoria Clock tower and other buildings. Around 3km from the fort there are some early Dutch tombs, overlooked by some Parsee Towers of Silence.
Bharuch Fort is the principal attraction of the City Of Bharuch. It was constructed in 1791 AD by Siddhraj Jaysinh, one of the famous rulers belonging to the Solanki dynasty. One can have an aerial view of the beautiful River Narmada after climbing the fort. The construction style of the fort is very unique as some of the spectacular wooden carvings here leave the visitors spellbound.
The ancient fort here, built around 1,000 years ago by kings on the banks of Narmada, has been protecting the city from floods all these years. But, it's in a dilapidated condition as no structural maintenance has been carried out for long.
The historical fort was constructed between 1094 and 1143 AD by Siddhraj Jaysinh and renovated by Bahadur Shah between 1526 and 1536.
One can read about its history from an inscription on a stone lying near Custom House Masjid written in Arabic and Nagri. Also, there are several references to this fort in Britishers' historical accounts of the region.
Says Haji Basir, resident of Furja area near the fort, "We think this fort saves Bharuch every year as Narmada gets flooded each monsoon. The wall obstructs river water from entering residential areas of the city."
The fort is in a pitiable condition as it's broken and badly damaged both internally and externally.
There's no record of this historical monument being maintained in the past 100 years.
Most of the damage is on account of flow of saline water from Arabian Sea to Narmada. Heavy flow in the river also adversely affects external parts, whereas man-made damage has destroyed the fort internally.
Says PP Shat, scientist based in Ankleshwar, "Land near the fort is very saline which has led to corrosion of foundation and deep holes are visible."
Senior citizen Mahindra Gandhi says there's no other 1,000-year-old monument in the state. "It's unfortunate that authorities have ignored such a huge historical structure. The only solution to save it from crumbling is to build a causeway so that inflow of saline water can be controlled."
According to a history book, the fort was constructed using several iron plates. It is their corrosion that's leading to the fort's impending collapse.