Mumbai, Feb 2 (IANS): The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat inaugurated scale-models of two prominent forts - Sindhudurg and Vijaydurg - prepared by the Akhil Maharashtra Giryarohan Mahasangh (AMGM), officials said here on Thursday.
The AMGM -- an apex body of mountaineering -- has taken up the unique mega-project to prepare scale-models of more than two dozen of the recorded 450 big and small forts dotting the state, some upto a 600 years old.
"Witnessing these majestic forts is an inspiring experience in itself... a sense of motivation comes to conserve and protect this heritage," remarked Bhagwat at the inauguration on Wednesday in the picturesque coastal town of Malvan in Sindhudurg.
Modeller Ramesh Bahurgi of Sangli toiled on and readied the two models in one year, both sturdy, made largely of fibre, displaying all intricate details like the living and working areas, the water bodies, the greenery, the surrounding topography, etc., costing Rs 2.50 lakh each.
Historically significant, both Vijaydurg Fort and Sindhudurg Fort comprise an integral part of the legendary Maratha warrior king, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's concept of Swarajya.
AMGM President Umesh Zirpe said that the scale-model project will see around 25-30 more forts being created in this manner in the next five years.
"The models will travel to major cities like Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Aurangabad, Nagpur, Kolhapur, etc. for the people and youth to understand their glorious legacy and the need to preserve and conserve them before it is too late," Zirpe told IANS.
Present were AMGM's Hrshikesh Yadav, Dr A Rahul Warange, Virendra Vanju, Bhushan Harshe, Rajesh Nene, and other dignitaries.
Zirpe said that during the project they learnt that of the 450-plus forts in the state, the state government has an official map record of only one - the Sinhagad Fort of Pune.
"Our team of top architects painstakingly mapped each and every corner of the two forts, absolutely free of cost, prepared designs, and then the scale-models were created. It's a tough task and we feel the government should take appropriate steps to conserve our heritage," Zirpe said.
AMGM's Suyash Mokashi said that in the coming time, the forts shall be selected on the basis of their historical, geographical and strategic importance to make the scale-models and display them in museums, for students, tourists, etc.
Mokashi said it's a unique and mega-initiative since many of the forts are on hilltops, in coasts, around half a dozen in the Arabian Sea, river banks, some in forests, towns and cities, built by various rulers from various dynasties and even the foreigners who ruled in the past.