The century-old Nandana Fort, discovered by Pakistans archeological department three months back which is set for restoration, still showcases its unique and magnificent might, even as it stands in a derelict condition.
The discovery of the landmark by the archeological department is a vital first step that would pave the way towards its restoration for it to become a major tourist attraction in Pakistan.
The Nandana Fort was constructed by the Hindu king Inder Pal at an altitude of at least 15,000 feet at Baghanwala village in Pind Dadan Khan district in Punjab province. The site located about 300 km along the salt range highlights architectural similarities to the Katas Raj temple and a shrine built by Hindu Shahi king Jayapal.
As per details, the Shahi kings ruled the Nandana Fort until the 11th century when Mehmud of Ghazni expelled them from the area.
Historical memories reveal that the building also served as a study centre and was the only fort that remained when Mahmud of Ghazni took over.
The fort was also a laboratory of Muslim Persian scientist Abu Rayhan Al Biruni, where he used to measure the circumference of the earth. This is one reason why the building is also known as the Al Beruni Centre.
History also reveals that the building remained as a safe haven for Mughal emperors Akbar and Jahangir as they used to often visit the fort for hunting deer and birds.
The Imran Khan-led Pakistan government has decided to restore the Nandana fort. According to Punjab Chief Minister's advisor on tourism, Khan has visited the area and a rehabilitation project has already been prepared in this regard.
"The restoration project would be completed by June 30, 2022. As per the plan, an Al Beruni laboratory is being set up, where young scientists and students would be able to conduct experiments," said Asif Mahmood, Punjab CM's advisor on tourism.
"The recent excavations by the archeological department would be helpful in determining the accurate age of the building, while valuable pottery and antiquities have also been recovered from the premises," he added.
It was also revealed that the Baghanwala village will also be given the status of a model village, which would help in facilitating it with water, telephone line, electricity, gas and internet services.
"There will be three steps in the overall process. First is the model village where tourists would be able to stay in good facilities. Second would be at the midpoint, where stalls would be set up, along with washrooms and temporary accommodation. And the third and final point would be at Nandana Fort, where extensive parking, hotels, and rest houses would be constructed," Mahmood said.