Gondhla castle or fort



House of the Thakur of Gondhla, called the Gondhla castle or fort attracts a large number of tourists. The present Thakur, Fateh Chand would like the tourists to believe that the Fort is about 20 generations old, but according to the District Gazetteer of Lahaul and Spiti, the fort was built in 1700 AD by Raja Man Singh of Kullu whose influence stretched till the Lingti plains beyond the Baralacha-la. This Raja also married a daughter of the Gondhla family to cement his ties with the Thakur. The castle is an example of the indigenous timber bonded stone-style of the western Himalayas, consisting of alternate courses of stone and wooden beams cemented together with wet clay. This seven-storey high edifice is topped by a wooden verandah which runs round the upper storey. It looks like a Swiss Chalet. Staircases in the building are partially notched wooden logs and the building has many apartments, which can comfortably accommodate more than 100 people. Its fifth storey, meant exclusively for the Thakur, consisted of personal prayer chamber and a verandah from where he used to listen to the public and later pronounce his judgements. Ganesha is the main deity carved on the facade of the prayer chamber. In one of the prayer chambers the window connecting the outer room is an exquisite work of wood carving. Several weapons including bows, arrows, quivers, catapults, guns and canons besides other articles of antique value can be seen resting in the apartments. Another interesting article to be seen in possession of the Thakur is Sharab Raldi, i.e. 'the sword of wisdom' as Sharab means wisdom and Raldi means a sword. Sword of wisdom (sanskrit Pragya Kharga) has great importance among the Tibetans.