UDAYAPUR, Dec 6: The restoration of Udayapurgadhi, the old headquarters of Udayapur district, is in the final stage. The restoration of the old fort, which started three years ago, is almost 80 percent complete.
The old fort lies 1 km south-west from Udayapurgadhi. According to the village council of the old fort rural municipality, the structures which were destroyed more than 250 years ago are being restored from the ruins to their former glory.
Four years ago, the local government took the initiative of restoring the fort which reflects the history of King Prithvi Narayan Shah’s military quest. The objective of restoring the fort was to attract tourists.
During the last fiscal year, the federal government allocated Rs 27.5 million for the restoration of the fort, which was started with the joint investment of the rural municipality and the Ministry of Tourism. Ramesh Rai, chief administrative officer of the rural municipality, said that the rural municipality is working to rebuild the fort even if the amount is insufficient by securing an additional budget on its own.
According to him, the construction work is going on in full swing so as to rebuild the fort within the current fiscal year. About 80 percent of the work has been completed and the contract was signed last year. Rai said that AD/Siddhagadhi/Nishan JV Kathmandu was awarded a contract worth Rs 21.8 million for the restoration of the fort.
So far, a 130-meter round bunker around the old fort has been rebuilt in its original form. Similarly, the construction work of triangles and nine octagons in the middle of the bunker has also reached the final stage. An iron bridge has been constructed across the bunker to enter the octagon area of the fort, while the construction of the courtyard and a well inside the fort is also nearing completion.
The bunker has been rebuilt with a 6-feet-high outer wall and 14-feet inner wall. According to the technical branch of the rural municipality, there is a plan to build a garden along the courtyard and the well. According to Sub-engineer Gautam Parajuli, construction of a public toilet, a stage, and a view tower has been completed on the fort premises. As far as the statue of a horse facing the entrance of the bunker is concerned, it is going to be demolished and a new structure will be built because the locals did not approve it.
All the structures rebuilt during the reconstruction of the fort are mixed with stone and cement. To make it look like an ancient fort, the stones are being molded into a smooth rectangle shape with artistic features. Chief Administrative Officer Rai said that the construction company has cut stones with the help of modern machines and tools and used it in an artistic way.
Udayapurgadhi was included by the Government of Nepal as one of the 100 tourist destinations in the country four years ago. After the government announced the Visit Nepal Year 2020 and included 100 destinations, the rural municipality launched the old fort reconstruction plan with the aim of developing Udayapurgadhi as a tourist destination. However, due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the initiative was pushed back, said Man Bahadur Magar, chairman of the village council.
According to Chairman Magar, the work of rebuilding the fort continued only from last year. Magar believes that the reconstruction of the old fort will play an important role in the plan to make Udayapurgadhi the best tourist destination of the province. According to him, the Ministry of Tourism had extended financial support of Rs 5 million for the reconstruction of the fort in the fiscal year 2076/77. On top of that amount, the rural municipality added Rs 2.2 million and formed the 'Old Fort Reconstruction Consumers’ Committee' under the chairmanship of Bodh Kumar Ghimire, and started the reconstruction of the bunker.
Udayapurgadhi and Chaudandigadhi, two of the forts of the Baisi-Chaubisi kingdoms, were captured by the army of King Prithvi Narayan Shah, the king of Gorkha, 250 years ago. Historians say that at present Chaudandigadhi, located in Chaudandigadhi Municipality 1, was the main fort and Udayapurgadhi was the subsidiary fort. It is said that the army of Prithvi Narayan Shah, who was occupying the kingdoms of the Kirat dynasty (Ollo Kirat, Pallo Kirat and Majh Kirat) from the east, established a fort in Udayapurgadhi and fought while capturing Bijayapurgadhi, Hatuwagadhi, Chaudandigadhi during the unification of modern Nepal.