Genji /Gingee Fort
: Gingee, 37-km From Thiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu
Popularly Known As
: Troy Of The East
Dating Back To
: 13th century
: Chola Dynasty
It is located on the Tindivanam - Thiruvannamalai road about 25 kms. from Tindivanam and is about 132 kms. from Chidambaram. This place is associated with Raja Desingh. There is a 700 year old fort running over three hills of huge and steep boulders. According to tradition the original fort was laid by Kone Chiefs. The fort was ruled by Vijayanagar Nayaks, Marathas, Moghuls, Carnatic Nawabs, the French and the British Rajagiri and Krishnagiri are two important fortifications here and it is a popular picnic spot.
A Magnificent Fortress
According to a legend the name Gingee or Senji is derived from "Senji Amman", a virgin Goddess.
The massive walls of Gingee fort interconnect the 3 inaccessible hills- Krishnagiri, Chandrayandurg and Rajagiri. The three hills are disposed in the form of a triangle, while the main wall connecting is 20 meters thick. The top of the three hills form impregnable citadels, while the inner fort contains many fortifications and gates.
Attractions Within The Fort
One has to pass through an uneven flight of steps along the rocky hill track, which may make the visit to the fort a bit difficult. The fort houses a Gymnasium, audience hall, stable, palace, clock tower, granary, treasury in Indo-Islamic style, store-house for grains and the Elephants tank.
Kalyana Mahal is one of the most attractive ruins in the fort. It was built in the Indo-Islamic style and consists of a square court, surrounded by rooms for the ladies of the Governor's household. In the middle of this court, is a 27 metre high square tower, built of stone and has a puramidal roof.
Barracks And Stables
On the western side of the Kalyana Mahal one can see a series of low vaulted and arched cells that are referred to as the Barracks and Stables, but now it has been converted into Archaeological Conservation Training camp.
Gymnasium And Granary
It is the largest granary built in stone with a spacious entrance passage. The walls are nearly 2 metres thick. A stone structure, with barrel-vaulted roof, found on the Northern-Eastern side of the granary is said to be the Gymnasium.
Sad-At-Ullam Khan Mosque
Sad-at-Ullam Khan Mosque located at the entrance of the inner fort of Rajagiri was erected by Sad-at-Ullah Khan to commemorate his victory over De Singh and the capture of the fort in 1713 AD. According to a Persian inscription found here, the mosque is said to have been constructed in 1717-1718 AD.
Vekataramana Temple is the largest temple in Gingee, which was built by Muthiah Nayaka in 1550 AD.
Situated behind the Chakkaraikulam on the Rajagiri hill, this low circulation brick well is said to be the place where prisoners were thrown and left to die of starvation. Bathtubs with continuous supply of water, a huge cannon on the top of the fort near Chakrakulam-Kunda (reservoir) are a treasure for the tourists.
Other buildings and structures in the fort complex were raised by the successive rulers of Gingee belonging to the Vijayanagar, Nayaka, Maratha, Mughal, Carnatic Nawab, the French and British families during the period from 1383 to 1780 AD.
Just a kilometre away from Gingee there is another fort at Rajagiri, which was founded by Ananda Kon, the Chief of Konar community in 1200 AD. His successor Krishna around 1240 AD fortified the Krishnagiri. The fort of Rajagiri is made of Saffron and black rock.
INFORMATION FOR TOURISTS
On the way to the fort, one must take guide from the archaeological office. For visitors it remains open from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.
HOW TO GET THERE
Air : The nearest airport is at Chennai, which has both national and international terminals.
Rail : The nearest railway station is at Tindivanam.
Road : Tourists can access Gingee from Tiruvannamalai, from where there are buses almost every hour.
WHERE TO STAY
Accommodation is available at the small budgeted hotels and lodges at Tiruvannamalai.