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Gingee – The Troy of the East


Gingee Fort

Vanakkam! I am Gingee, the panchayat town of Villupuram district in Tamil Nadu. Not even half the travelers who throng to my neighbor Pondicherry know about me. Well, I don’t have the beautiful sea or the famous French architecture of Pondicherry. But I am an ancient fortified town with three lofty citadels which you can explore all day. Rajagiri, Krishnagiri and Chandrayandurg – these three together made me an impregnable fortress in the medieval ages. Shivaji admired me, and the British called me “Troy of the East”. Here I am to tell you my story.

Over 1800 years ago, the Jains laid the foundations of the fort on me. They lived there till the 5th century A.D. Then came the Pallavas. The Pallava Kings were pious Hindus and connoisseur of art and sculpture. The craftsmanship of their age has been immortalized by the cave temples of Mahabalipuram. Here also they constructed many beautiful cave temples. Then came the mighty Cholas you all must have studied in your history books. The Cholas occupied the fort since 9th century A.D. and were later defeated by the kings from Karnataka. I am talking about the great rulers of Vijayanagara Kingdom with their capital in Hampi.

The Ginjee Nayakas were then the lieutenants of Vijayanagara kings and took care of the fort. After the destruction of Hampi and fall of Vijayanagara kingdom, the Ginjee Nayakas became independent rulers of Ginjee. It was during this time they made more constructions and enveloped the whole region by strong walls. I was a strategic location back then. All the conflicting rulers would have an eye on the exquisite fort-complex. Shivaji Maharaj, the great Maratha King strengthened the forts even more. The Mughals with all their might could not occupy the forts for seven years despite laying siege. They did finally conquer the fort for a short period of time later. They built the Sadatullakhan Mosque in 1717 AD. It was subsequently conquered by French, shortly before the British took it from them.

Today I am no longer a fort to fight for. The permanent residents of the magnanimous fort that kings killed for are monkeys. Tourists come here sometimes, and are awed by the architectural grandeur. The fort complex is constructed between Krishnagiri (Queen fort) to the north, Rajagiri (King fort) to the west and Chandrayandurg to the southeast. The Krishnagiri fort is easy to climb as there are wide stairs leading to the top. At the top of the fort you will find granaries that stored supplies, the tanks and throne-room. From the top you can see Rajagiri and Chandrayandurg.

Chandrayandurg is in ruins while Rajagiri is the most intact among the three. They provide a natural fortification to the area inside. Each of the hills has a citadel of its name. In fact these are the most well-preserved forts in South India. The Rajagiri fort has a Kalyana Mahal (marriage hall), prison cells, and cave temples. You can also find a cannon, cannon balls made of rock here.

Gingee fort

Gingee Fort

Gingee FortThis can be challenging during the summer because of the infamous hot and humid weather in Tamil Nadu. However, there are free toilet facility and parking lot in the campus. You can also stroll around the beautifully maintained gardens with no tourists around. Doesn’t it sound amazing? Will you come to meet me? Are you interested to explore one of the offbeat forts of India? You can easily include this day trip with a holiday in Pondicherry , Chennai or Mahabalipuram. Pin the image to save my postcard so that you can travel later.

Located in Tamil Nadu, Gingee is one of the most well-preserved fortress in India. Yet, it is an offbeat destination with few tourists. Discover all you need to know about Gingee.

Blogger’s Notes: This post is a part of the series “Postcards from India“, written for A2Z Blogging Challenge by BlogChatter for April 2020.The pictures are mine unless otherwise mentioned. I have visited the fortified town during my trip to Pondicherry and Mahabalipuram. This is a very old fort and archaeologists are yet to determine the origin of the fort. I got the historic information from Wikipedia and Chennai On Net. Apologize for any historic inaccuracy.

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17 Comments

  1. Sonia Chatterjee April 8, 2020

    This was a completely new place for me. I have been to Pondicherry couple of times but never knew about the existence of this town.

    Reply
    1. Sinjana Ghosh April 8, 2020

      Thanks Sonia. It’s hard to miss those lofty walls when going through the route from Bangalore, but surprisingly few people know about it.

  2. Amrita April 8, 2020

    I visited Pondicherty and no one mentioned this!I love visiting old forts and listening to their stories.

    Reply
  3. Sitharaam Jayakumar April 8, 2020

    The Gingee fort definitely sounds fascinating. No wonder it is so beautifully architectural having passed through the hands of so many different dynasties including the Mughals.

    Reply
  4. Noor Anand Chawla April 8, 2020

    You’re right Sinjana- I’ve been to Pondicherry but never knew of Gingee!

    Reply
  5. Laureen Lund April 11, 2020

    I love this storytelling style of writing…something I am doing more of. Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed it overmuch.

    Reply
    1. Sinjana Ghosh April 11, 2020

      Thank you so much 🙂 Glad you liked it.

  6. Jay Artale May 5, 2020

    The architecture of the Gingee fort sounds like a destination worth getting off the beaten path for, especially if you want to avoid the crowds of the neighboring bigger and more well known towns.

    Reply
  7. Ann May 5, 2020

    That seems like a fun way of keeping memories, posting postcards to yourself from trips. I usually only post cards to my baby niece, and I try to find something that she would be interested in – thats within her age. For example, in Athens she was about 6 months, so I found some big old rocks that I told her about (the parthenon )

    Reply
  8. Sue May 6, 2020

    I’d never even heard of this amazing place but it looks fantastic. Love how you describe the history of the landmark too. Thank you for highlighting, it’s always nice to hear about new places which less explored.

    Reply
  9. Becki May 7, 2020

    I absolutely love ancient ruins, so I’ll be adding Ginjee to my ruins bucket list. It’s also great that it’s hardly visited by people, so many ruins have too many visitors which is probably not great for the preservation of the site with so many people. This might be a little gem that stays more authentic without the tourists.. I love th way you’ve writtenthis article too, as if the temple has a voice.

    Reply
  10. Jan May 7, 2020

    It’s a great idea to visit historic and scenic places around the world with no one around! I would love to visit Gingee and may be combine it with Pondicherry. The pictures look awesome! 🙂

    Reply
  11. Sarah May 7, 2020

    Fascinating! I love hidden historic gems like this especially when there is no one else around, I’m hoping or get to do another trip to India next year and Pondicherry was on the list so maybe I can take a side trip here 🙂

    Reply
  12. Andi May 8, 2020

    Because I am a francophile I have always wanted to visit this part of India. I have a friend whose family is from there and she has told me many wonderful things about Pondicherry!

    Reply
  13. Nancy Hann May 8, 2020

    Beautiful architecture. How close were you able to get to the intricate tower?

    Reply
  14. Karthika May 8, 2020

    This is so beautiful and I love exploring places that have so much culture and history. Pondicherry is such a quaint city to visit.

    Reply
  15. Yukti Agrawal May 9, 2020

    Wow you discovered something very authentic and historic which not many people know about it. I would love to explore this Troy of East. Good to see Gingee, which is the panchayat town in Tamil Nadu. It would great to see all these fortress Rajagiri, Krishnagiri and Chandrayandurg and I would love to check these ancient historical part of India in person.

    Reply

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