What’s the point of a day off if you can’t spend time in the great outdoors and breathe in some fresh air. Sure, with all the noise, chaos and erratic power situation, it’s best to find a nice spot away from the bustling metropolis and drive out.
While Chennai has absolutely no dearth of charming and interesting spots to drive to, many are not aware of these. Fancy a little bit of history and other tales of yore? Then try and plan out a weekend fort drive. All situated well within a drivable radius from Chennai, these historic places and forts will give you a break from the ubiquitous off-city destinations.
Alamparai Fort: The ruins of Alamparai Fort are situated at Kadapakkam, about 50 km from Mahabalipuram. Cruising through ECR, you will have to cross Muttukadu before you hit the spot. Built in the late 17th century during the Mughal era, the Alamparai Fort also served as a bustling trading zone then. When the French were defeated by the British, the fort was captured and destroyed in 1760 AD. More recently, the structure was damaged in the 2004 Indian Oceanearthquake. It’s a picturesque spot, very placid and relaxing.
Ranjankudi Fort: This is a 17th century fortress located about 17 km north of Perambalur. The fort was constructed by a feudatory of the Nawab of the Carnatic, and is the site of the great Battle of Valikonda between the British East India Company and Chanda Sahib in 1751. The fort contains a palace, residential buildings, underground chambers, mosque and a flag mast.
Gingee Fort: The Gingee fort is one of Tamil Nadu’s most respected historic spots, situated in Villupuram, as close as a drive to Puducherry. Usually dubbed the ‘Troy of the East’, the impregnable citadel began with the construction of a small fort by the Chola dynasty in the ninth century. Since then, it has passed from the hands of the Vijayanagara Empire to the French as well as the British. Gingee fort has an interesting array of sights within its boundaries, staring from the wide moats to the Kalyana mahal and the military gymnasium. A must for photography enthusiasts, Gingee fort holds a lot more than just a shadow of the past.
Vellore Fort: The Vellore fort owes its origins to the Nayaks of Vijayanagara. Built somewhere around the 16th century, the fort is famous for having been the stronghold where Tipu Sultan’s family was held hostage. Yet another interesting fact to note is that, what we refer to as Chennai and Tirupati today were dominions that came under the Nayaks of Vellore fort. One of the most impressive examples of a ground fort in the south, this one houses a temple, a church as well as a mosque. The temple within the fort is famous for its detailed and magnificent carvings.