Weekend Bikography 2 – GINGEE Fort – Troy of the East
Avalok’s Weekend Bikography – Part 2
Having had my fill of temple gopurams at Thiruvannamalai I thought it time for some Fort exploration.
On the way to Gingee I stopped for a hot chai by a roadside teashop where they still use massive copper boilers to brew tea.
Gingee – pronounced “schenji” – is around 35 Kms from Tiruvannamalai.
I went at a fast clip and nearing Gingee what I saw when I rounded a bend just floored me completely. the scale! The Magnificence of the Fort!!
For convenience sake I will be quoting from various web sources when I describe the Gingee Fort complex.
So here goes:
The fort complex consists of three hills, connected by walls enclosing an area of 7 square kilometres (2.7 sq mi). It was built at a height of 800 feet (240 m), and protected by a 80 feet (24 m) wide moat. It had an eight-storeyed Kalyana Mahal (marriage hall), granaries, prison cells, a military gymnasium and a temple dedicated to its presiding Hindu goddess called Chenjiamman.
The snaps in this post are of and from the smaller fort – the Krishnagiri Fort.
Originally the site of a small fort built by the Chola dynasty in 9th century AD, it was later modified by Kurumbar while fighting the Chola and again by the Vijayanagar empire in the 13th century to elevate it to the status of an unbreachable ???citadel??? to protect the small town of Gingee. It was also the headquarters of the Gingee Nayaks, during the Nayaka domination in Tamil Nadu. The fort was built as a strategic place of fending off any invading armies. The fort was further strengthened by the Marathas under the leadership of Shivaji in 1677 AD, who recaptured it from the Bijapur sultans who had originally taken control of the fort from the Marathas. During Aurangzeb’s campaign in the Deccan, Shivaji’s second son who had assumed the throne,Chhatrapati Rajaram escaped to Ginjee in the distant South and continued the fight with Moghuls from Ginjee. ??????
The Moghuls could not capture the fort for seven years in spite of laying siege.
The british called it the Troy of East.”
“Chatrapathi Shivaji ranked it as the “most impregnable fortress in India”
The legend of the fort is most popularly connected with the story of Raja De Singh, perhaps the only Rajput ruler to rule Tamil Nadu. The ballads about his courage and valour, his devotion to duty and his loyalty to his friends, are sung even today in the villages around Gingee.
Why do creatures follow me around wherever I go?
The actual name of Gingee is ‘Sengiri’ meaning perhaps the “Red Hill” in Tamil that has got corrupted into Gingee. Some say that the name Sengiri originated from ‘Sanjeevi’ the hill mentioned in Ramayana from where Hanuman got the life saving herb, the Sanjeevini Booti for Lakshmana when he was lying unconscious during the war between Rama and Ravana.
A panoramic view from Krishnagiri fort.
Don’t forget to click the link below for a spectacular series of 360 degree view of Gingee fort complex and its environs.
The next post will contain snaps of the bigger fort – The Rajagiri fort…. ————————————————————————————————————————–
“Those who dance are thought mad by those who do not hear the music.”