Fort St. George
The first bastion of British power in India now houses the Tamilnadu Legislative assembly and council and offices of the State's secretariat. The fort was first completed in 1654 but owes its present shape to the remodelling work that was undertaken in 1749. The 6m high walls of the fort have withstood several fierce sieges. The fort was attacked by Daud Khan, general of Emperor Aurangzeb, in 1701, by the Marathas in 1741 and by Hyder Ali on several occasions in the late 18th century.
In 1746, the British lost possession of their fort for two year period when they surrendered the keys to the victorious French admiral, La Bourdonnais. The keys were restored only in 1749, under the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. Fort St. George's towering flagstaff is, even today, the tallest in India. Glimpses of early Chennai are preserved in Clive Corner, Wellesley House, Fort Museum and St. Mary's church.
The Oldest Church In India
Within the fort premises is the oldest surviving British church in India, St. Mary's Church. St. Mary's Church is the first Anglican Church built in 1678-80 and it is also the oldest surviving British Church in India. St. Mary's Church is often described as the Westminster Abbey of the East.
St. Mary's was the venue for the marriage of Lord Clive. Towards the North of the fort is the High Court compound, which was built, in Indo-Saracenic architectural style. Within this compound stand the Lighthouse erected in 1844, which was superseded by another one in 1971.
A Museum Dedicated To The Raj Era
The fort has a museum, which displays many items from the British Raj and memorabilia of the East India Company. These relics are a reminder of a period of oppression and struggle. The museum also has a good collection of some fine contemporary paintings. Other major attractions include the paintings of the Governor of this fort and other high officials of the British regime.
Today the fort houses the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly and Council as well as the offices of the State's Secretariat. High court of the state is located in the same compound.
How To Get There
Air : Chennai has an airport with national and international
terminals. Regular flights connect Chennai with the major cities within
the country and international countries such as Singapore, America, UK,
Rail : Chennai is well connected by rail with all the major places
within and beyond the state.
Road : State transport buses and private buses connect Chennai
with the major towns and cities within the state and country. For local
transportation local trains, city buses and auto rickshaws are also
Where To Stay
Varied accommodation options from luxurious to economy class ones are
available at the hotels at Chennai.