400-year-old 'Pigeon Tower' in Ganjam cries for attention

400-year-old Pigeon Tower in Ganjam cries for attention

400-year-old abandoned ‘Pigeon Tower,’ situated at Potagada near Ganjam town in Ganjam district, is languishing in neglect

Berhampur: A 400-year-old abandoned 'Pigeon Tower,' situated at Potagada near Ganjam town in Ganjam district, is languishing in neglect. This 40-foot high tower accommodated about 1,000 pigeons, who were engaged in pigeon postal service.

The pigeon post was first introduced while the Nizam of Hyderabad invaded Ganjam in 1604. The British rulers continued the pigeon post after they invaded Ganjam in 1770. The British rulers of Ganjam were even in regular contact with their Madras counterparts 1,075-km away with pigeon post, said historian Anantaram Kar.

The history of Potagada is aligned with the history of the Ganjam collectorate which involved Ganjam, Northern Circars, the French government, Madras presidency, Bengal presidency and the history of the East India Company as a whole.

Many rulers had used Potagada as their administrative headquarters to rule over the region. The remnants of the fort tell stories of their administrative procedures. T J Maltby, who was a civil servant in Madras presidency, spoke about the fort in his Ganjam District Manual in 1900. Though with the advent of instantaneous communication, message delivering system has transformed a lot, the abandoned 'Pigeon Tower' at Potagada still attracts many curious visitors who demand that it should be declared as a heritage tower.

The Romans used pigeon messengers to aid their military 2,000 years ago. Pigeon post is the use of homing pigeons to carry messages. Pigeons are effective as messengers due to their natural homing abilities.

Odisha Police had established regular pigeon posts at Chhatrapur, Cuttack, Kendrapara, Sambalpur and Dhenkanal and these pigeons rose to the occasion in times of emergencies and natural calamities.

They were an integral part of the police administration which was closed in 2008. It was mandatory for the newly-recruited officers to clear a 10-mark test on pigeon service till then. "If we didn't have the Internet providing us with instant connectivity to every corner of the globe, who knows, we might still be using the pigeon post today," visitors said.

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