KHAIRPUR – Most portions of the historical Talpur-era Kot Diji Fort, located in Khairpur district, are occupied by the influential people of the area despite the fact that it has been declared a protected heritage site by the government.
According to the official records of the Sindh Antiquities Department, the fort was built in 1785 by Mir Sohrab Khan Talpur, founder of the Kingdom of Upper Sindh. The Kot Diji town is about 25 miles east of the Indus River at the edge of the Nara-Rajisthan Desert.
Unfortunately, this fort of great historical significance is now a picture of neglect. Local influential people have constructed houses all around it as well as within its eastern boundaries near the domed structure where armours used to be stored. Shops have also been built beside its main entrance.
The fort is spread over five kilometers with a 12 feet wide mud wall built around it. A huge iron gate served as its only entrance.
According to the records, Kot Diji Fort was constructed on a limestone hill with kiln-baked bricks. Bricks were used because the locally available limestone rock was very brittle and would have shattered easily on impact with a cannonball.
The hill is about 110 feet high, above which the walls of the fort rise another 30 feet. It has three strategically placed towers about 50 feet tall.
The Khairpur State was merged with Pakistan in 1955 and the fort could have been included in the personal property of the Mirs of Khairpur. However, Mir Ali Murad II thought handed it over to the government of Pakistan, expecting better maintenance.
But since then, the government paid no attention to the historical fort and left it to deteriorate.
Many portions of the fort have been damaged and its bricks stolen.
The heritage site was the property of the Centre and was recently handed over to the provincial government, but so far, no practical steps have been taken to restore the beauty of the wonderful fort.