‘Maintain monuments’ sanctity’: Maharashtra mountaineers’ body frowns at New Year parties on historic forts

Pune, Dec 28: The Akhil Maharashtra Giryarohan Mahasangh (AMGM), an apex body of mountaineers, in Maharashtra on Wednesday expressed concerns over the large-scale plans for New Year 2024 celebrations at various historical forts in the state.

AMGM President Umesh Zirpe, Chairman Hrishikesh Yadav and Secretary Rahul Warange have issued an appeal to prevent picnickers, campers, revellers and party animals from holding New Year celebrations at the forts in the Sahyadri range.

“In recent years, we have noticed a large number of people going camping at these old forts and many times the visitors defile or abuse these historical sites. We are appealing to all such people to maintain the sanctity of these monuments and preserve our rich legacy,” said Zirpe.

The AMGM has urged tourists to refrain from trooping to these forts or other historical buildings during the December 31-January 1 night, avoid consuming alcohol, cooking or eating meat, singing and dancing loudly on these monuments which represent the glory of Maharashtra.

It also warned that going to such places in large numbers can cause avoidable accidents or fatalities and revellers must not pitch tents or live there on New Year Eve.

Zirpe said that it has been observed that upto 10,000 people throng some of the forts like Sinhagad, Rajgad, Lohagad, Rajmachi, all in Pune, plus Harihar Fort and Harishchandra Fort, both in Nashik, besides many other forts and monuments in the hills and coastal regions of the state.

He said that presently, there is no requirement of permission from any authorities though in some historical sites, the local villagers have taken the lead and banned all revellers on New Year as well as certain other festivals.

Activist from the Konkan region, S. B. Uke said that on New Year Eve, thousands of people throng the sea-forts and its surroundings from Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Kolhapur and even from adjoining Goa or Karnataka, creating a huge nuisance for the local population.

“Many of the monuments are ill-lit, have little or no facilities for water and toilets, there are a lot of jungle creatures around which get disturbed by the cacophony of wild parties with loud music, singing, dancing, playing games, food and drinks…” said Uke.

Occasionally, the overburdened local police patrols attempt to control the revellers, especially when there are drunken brawls, and drive them out of these places, he said.