We had a plan to conquer the Gingee Fort for a long time and it happened today. We friends started from Chennai around 06:30 am by car. The drive was very much comfortable as most of it was on the NH45, Trichy Highway until tindivanam. After crossing tindivanam we stoped at a road side dhaba, where we had a worst breakfast. Lesson 1, never stop for food, where the public buses halt for break. Find other less crowded place where they serve yummy south Indian food.
We reached there around 8:30am, parked our car. The entry fee was 5 rupees and the person took 5 more for our each camera (for which he didn’t give us any receipt). This parking and entry ticket can be used in all the places of Gingee. Here we did a big mistake unknowingly which disappointed us on the return. We parked our car by the Rani Fort and started clicking as we climbed the small hill. Its was almost 02:00 pm while we reached the base. Its wasn’t maintained and everything ever there were damaged. Then we proceeded towards Raja Fort which is about a Kilometer away, to my surprise this was maintained very neat and clean with all sorts of sign boards around. Unfortunately it was almost 02:30 pm and one of our friend had to be at Chennai by 5 pm for his official work. So we decided not to climb the second fort. Clicked few portraits of ourself, played with lights in the dark granaries at the base of Raja Fort and returned half heart.
Lesson 2: First make a visit to Raja Fort if you happen to be at Gingee later if you have time, think about the Rani Fort.
About the place:
Gingee Fort, a must visit tourist spot also known as Chenji or Jinji in Tamil Nadu, It lies in Villupuram District about 160 kilometres, Chennai and close Pondicherry. Chhatrapati Shivaji ranked it as the “most impregnable fortress in India” and it was also called as “Troy of the East” by the British. At present this is being maintained by Archaeological Survey of India.
The actual name of Gingee is ‘Sengiri’ meaning perhaps the “Red Hill” in Tamil that has got corrupted into Gingee. The Fort complex is on three hillocks. In fact all the three hills together constitute a fort complex, yet each hill contains a separate and self-contained fort. The first hill, where the main fort is, is called Rajagiri or the Raja fort and the others were called “Krishnagiri” or the Rani fort and “chettikulam”.
There exist two main gates on the North and East of the fort namely, The Arcot or Delhi gate and the Pondicherry gate respectively.
The rajagiri (rajafort) citadel is the highest of all three, which is about 800 feet and Krishnagiri is the smaller hill. The Rajagiri has an eight-storeyed Kalyana Mahal (marriage hall), granaries, Magazine, prison cells, a military gymnasium and a temple dedicated to its presiding Hindu goddess called Chenjiamman. The fortifications contain a sacred pond known as Aanaikulam.
Behind the Kalyana Mahal is the series of cells which served as a Barracks and Stables.
History says, the original fort was founded by the Kone Chief of Gingee and the Rajagiri was fortified by Ananda kone in A.D 1200 and Krishnagiri by Krishna Kone in A.D 1240, another ruler of Gingee. Rest of the structures and walls were erected by successive dynasties who ruled later – Vijayanagar, Naiks, Marathas, Moghuls, Nawabs followed by the French and the English.
Present condition of Gingee:
The Raja Fort has been maintained very neat and clean, but for some reason the Rani Fort or the Krishnagiri isn’t maintained at all which is very disappointing.
It’s about 2-3 hours drive from Chennai, It’s on the way to famous temple spot – Thiruvannamalai, where Arunachaleswarar Temple is situated. So frequency of buses from Chennai CMBT is more. every 30 mins or so a bus would start and all buses which goes to Thiruvannamalai, will halt at Gingee.
Place of Visit near:
Arunachaleswarar Temple, Thiruvannamalai
Hope we will visit this place again and complete my blog with clicks and facts I have missed out now.