While exploring Leh, we suggest a short visit to the renovated Zorawar Fort because (1) it is a tribute to the Napoleon of India, General Zorawar Singh who is still considered as one of the best high altitude warriors or the best, (2) occasional light and sound shows highlight its contours during May-October, and (3) the Zorawar Museum narrates his victories and defeats.
Slightly less than eighty-decade old Zorawar Fort ruins hem the main road in Skara, Leh town. A short wooden bridge connects the fort with the road. The fort is used by the Indian Army like General Zorawar Singh who, in 1836, built the fort for his soldiers who bravely stood by him in his high altitude conquests. In 1997, renovation gave the abandoned fort a new lease on life and a tricolor was unfurled on August 15th to commemorate golden jubilee of the Independence Day.
The army uses and maintains the national public monument made of locally available construction materials such as clay, stone, wood, and sun dried bricks. All structures except the wall and the observatory towers are one storey high. The walls’ thickness tapers off towards the sky. Each corner of the fort has observatory towers. The deep trench (moat) runs around the wall. The big main wooden door opens into the vestibule that connects to the main complex. The old prisoners’ cells are now-a-days used as army quarters. In the south, a well maintained stable offers horses for Ladakh Scouts.
The adobe fort on the eastern bank of the Sangto-Tokpo stream, the main water source for the inhabitants, houses Dogra-Ladakhi hybrid barracks. The Sangto (Ganglas Chu) freezes in winter.
Unlike typical forts crowning the hills in Ladakh Region, the Zorawar Fort is erected on a flat piece of land that is currently surrounded by a green belt. However, when the fort was built the surrounding marshes deterred enemies. The fort covering more than twenty-seven acres featured a mosque, temple, and natural spring. But not much is left.
Summer: 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Winter: 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Entry Fee: No