Dec 28, 2011

History of Gingee Fort (Sengiri) - Near Chennai

Gingee Fort in the state of Tamil Nadu sits near the border of Pondicherry in southeastern India.

The name Gingee is the name used in to identify the fort, but its real name is “Sengiri.”  Some believe “Sengiri” has a Ramayana connection. Others say the name stems from a local legend of seven virtuous sisters. Still others believe “Sengiri” simply indicates that the fort was built on a red hill, the approximate translation of the word.

Originally an unimportant,  ninth century structure, Gingee Fort was expanded in the 13th century and touted as a natural granite fortress, although the possession of the complex switched hands many times during several battles over hundreds of years.

The French and British each claim the fort at different times during the 1700s.

The Gingee Fort is actually three separate forts spread over three hills. Rajagiri is the primary fort and the one considered most secured by the natural rocky protection surrounding it.  Inside the complex are a series of gates and an inner fort where royal remnants of a palace, stables and even an ancient gymnasium may be found.

A trip to the Gingee Fort offers a backward glimpse of what was once called the “most impregnable fortress in India.” The fort was declared a national monument in 1921 and is maintained today by the country’s Archeological Department.