Kurumbera: The Fort That Never Was
Kurumbera Fort is a minor tourist attraction in West Bengal’s West Midnapore district. In the local language, Kurum means stone and Bera means a fence, and the name stone-fence seems ideal for the structure. Built of laterite blocks, the monument has a syncretic identity, caught as it was in the crosshairs of history. But the intriguing blend of Hindu and Islamic elements hides a fundamental identity crisis, for is this fort a fort at all?
Kurumbera Fort is situated in Gaganeshwar village around 170 km from Kolkata. The nearest railhead is Kharagpur Junction, 36 km away. Unlike much of Gangetic West Bengal, West Midnapore is a part of the Chhota Nagpur Plateau, where laterite is commonly used for construction. That is why Kurumbera is made of laterite, unlike monuments in Gangetic West Bengal, where terracotta is widely used as stone is a rarity in the region.