29 Dec. The other day, after landing in Mumbai, I thought I will visit my friend Saby in Manmad. After all, it is a fifteen year-old friendship since our Pune-days.
Currently Saby is Principal of Xavier High School, Manmad, 270 km north of Mumbai; it’s beyond Nasik . And Saby was thrilled to see me.
He, with Lloyd and Youhann, made my stay very comfortable. They took me all around Manmand – the sugar cane and onion basket of India (where Asia’s largest food storage is located – FCI)! One of the most memorable places I visited in Manmad was the Ankai fort – the 8th to 13th century Yadava/ Seuna rulers’ fort on a high hillock.
The sight -if well maintained- could beat any one of Europe’s tourist attractions. But India is India – it does not value its cultural and historical heritage; it does not maintain its places of historical and cultural significance; it leaves them to the ruins of time and seasons!
So is the case with Ankai fort! The strong rock fort; it has a number of lovely pre-Christian era- caves (Gupta period?), used by Rishis/ sanyasis for meditation (at least that is what they were supposed to do!) is in good condition; you can see thousands of bats who have made these dark caves their home. You whisper a word, and it echoes and re-echoes!
It reminds me Ajantha – Ellora caves, also in Maharashtra!