Barabati Fort, one of the forts in the Orissa state, of the 14th century constructed by the Ganga dynasty close to the Cuttack city. The ruins of Barabati Fort are there with its gate, moat and the mound made of earth, of the nine-storied palace, which narrates the tales of the glorious past. Today, the Fort is situated adjacent to the modern Barabati Stadium, the place where several cultural programs and sport events are held. A temple is also there devoted to the Goddess Katak Chandi, the leading deity of the old city, situated in close proximity to the fort.
This fort of the medieval era exactly located at a distance of about eight kilometers from the central parts of the city of Cuttack
, at the top of a delta created by the Mahanadi River
to the north and the river`s distributary, the Kathajodi River to the south, and is situated 14.26 meters above the level of sea.
Kataka, as the city is called in Oriya language
, was established in 989 A.D by King Nrupa Keshari. The stone revetment on the left store of the Kathajodi River was constructed by King Marakata Keshari in 1006 A.D. in order to save the city from the wrath of floods. Because of its strategic location, King Anangabhima Dev III moved his capital from `Choudwar Kataka` to the present Cuttack, which was known as `Abhinaba Varanasi Kataka` at that time and in 1229 A.D. founded the Barabati fort. The Cuttack city has experienced the rule of various dynasties including the Kesharis, the Gajapatis, the Gangas and the Bhois.
Mukundadev Harichandan, of the Chalukya dynasty
, in 1560 A.D constructed a building of nine-storey in the confines of the Barabati Fort. Mukundadev Harichandan was the last Hindu independent king of the Orissa
state who laid down his life fighting against Suleiman Karni, the Sultan of Bengal in 1568 A.D. During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, this Fort was safeguarded by two rings of forts on both sides of the Kathajodi River and the Mahanadi River. The city went to the hands of the Afghan rulers of Bengal in 1568 A.D., the Moghul Empire in the year 1592 and went to the hands of the Marathas in the year 1751. The British took control of Cuttack city along with the rest of Orissa in the year 1803. Cuttack was linked to Chennai
by the Bengal-Nagpur Railways in the year 1919. The Cuttack city was made the capital of the newly formed Orissa state in the year 1936 and it served as a capital city till 1948 when Orissa`s capital was shifted to Bhubaneswar
The Barabati Fort`s ruins are still witnessed on the right bank of River Mahanadi, in the city`s western parts. One can now see an arched gateway and the mound constructed of earth, of the nine-storeyed palace. The Archaeological survey of India
has revealed the Barabati Fort was approximately rectangular in shape with an area of about one hundred and two acres or more, and was encircled completely by a wall of sandstones and laterite. There is a tank to the western parts of the mound and to the north-east, are the remains of a previously existing temple. The temple was constructed by using whitish sandstone above laterite block foundation. Roughly four hundred fragments of mouldings and a few mutilated bits of sculptures are recovered till now. This temple belonging to the Ganga period possesses an idol of Lord Jagannath
made of stone. A mosque constructed by Nawab Murshid Quli Jafar Khan
, who was a governor of the Emperor Aurangzeb
, in 1719 CE can be seen there.
The fort of Barabati has undergone several makeovers from the time of its construction. The interior portions of the Barabati Fort have been changed into an arena, which is able to provide space for more than thirty thousand people at a time. Since its construction, it has been continuously serving as the site of various cultural events and sports tournaments. The Ganga dynasty
bears a magnificent past over this glorious fort. The Barabati Fort has also seen the rule of several great dynasties.
The Barabati Fort in the old Cuttack city of Orissa is unique of its kind and is now regarded as a heritage structure. This fort can be easily accessible from all prominent cities like Puri
, Bhubaneshwar, Konark
, Kolkata, etc. There are trains available from all notable Indian cities to the Cuttack railway station, which is the closest railway station to the fort. The city of Cuttack is situated at a distance of twenty nine kilometers from Bhubaneshwar. Number 5 National highway passes through Cuttack city and the fort is conveniently located just eight kilometers from the central parts of Cuttack. The nearest airport to the fort is situated in Bhubaneshwar and the suitable time for people to visit this fort in Orissa is from the month of October to June.