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|Bengali: কুরুম্বেরা দূর্গ|
|Keshiari, West Bengal, India|
|Controlled by||Archeological Survey of India|
|Built by||Suryavamsi Gajapati Kings of Odisha|
The Kurumbera Fort is situated in Gaganeshwar village, southeast of Keshiari, at about four kilometers from that town. The fort has small quarters and temples, is a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India.
Kurumbera Fort is situated in a village named Gaganeshwar, not serviced by any buses. To reach Gaganeshwar, take the State Highway to Keshiari, at about 27 km from Kharagpur, turn left towards Belda and reach a village junction called Kukai, at about 2 km from Keshiari. Turn to the right into a “Kutcha” (Mud) road, Gaganeshwar village lies at about 2 km from Kukai.
This is an ancient fort preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India under the Ancient Monuments Act.There is huge courtyard ringed by pillared corridor and in the middle there are three spherical domes. There is also some kind of an altar in the middle. The village where this located is called Gaganeshwar.This monument resemble architecture of ancient Odisha.
About the fort
Built in A.D. 1438-1469 (written in Odia inscription) during the rule of Surya Vamsi king of Odisha Gajapati Kapilendra Dev, it also has structures built during the Aurangazeb's period by Mohammed Tahir(stone inscription). Despite being a protected monument, under the ASI, there is no data available about this fort. The Afgan Sultanate of Bengal & Bihar invaded Odisha which included undivided Midnapore district of West Bengal in the year 1568.Later Mughals occupied Odisha after defeating Afgans of Bengal in the battle of Tukaroi in the year 1575.They divided Odisha Subah into five Sarkars & this part was included in the Jalesar Sarkar. Though religious invasions by Mughal generals on Odisha were happened time to time, but it was worse during the period Aurangzeb.He plundered many temples of Odisha including Midnapore & issued Fatwa to demolish Jagannath temple.The Kurumbera fort & temple complex were attacked & converted to mosque during the period of Aurangzeb.In the year 1752 Midnapore area was separated from Odisha proper and merged Muslim Bengal.
Structures inside the fort
The structure resemble medieval architecture of Odisha & later addition of Mughal architecture.The fort contains a three domed structure over a platform, along with a sacrificial altar. Though the most parts of this fort and its structures are in ruins, the ASI, has taken considerable effort to protect the structures from collapsing by using cement and lime mortar for holding the external pillars.The pillars hold a roofing which is shaped as a flower. The usage of circular pillar to the rear of the left-dome seems interesting.This architecture also resemble great similarity with Raibania Fort of Balasore district of Odisha.
The presence of an inscription stating about its usage is present right behind of the domed structure.
Though Kurumbera is called as fort, it lacks all basic characteristics of a fort. Such as safe storage space of weapons or gun powder. There is no layered wall, bastion or moat for protection, watch tower, fortified main entry or secret exits. Neither there is an option to hide for the soldiers for self defense nor any place to for strategic attack.
On the other hand the structure looks humble, suitable for public gathering and probably a mosque where the alter is placed at the Western end such that the entire crowd may face the same. But there is no legend or written evidence about such practice. Deeper exploration is required before commenting that originally Kurmbera was a fort which was converted into a musque.
- "Kurumbera Fort". Retrieved 15 October 2015.