The Fort of Dindigul owes its root to the great isolated rock which is placed 380 meters above the sea level. This wedge-shaped rock, lying on the western flank of the town is known as ‘Dindu-Kal’ which means “pillow rock’. The fort built upon the rock by the Madurai Nayak Kings is Dindigul’s crowing jewel and held strategic and military importance. This majestic fort built in 1605, later passed on to the Kingdoms of Mysore until it came under the possession of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. Syed Sahib, brother-law-of Tipu Sultan, held the fort from 1784 to 1790 A.D, who made several improvements during his command. After the Polygar wars when the fort was invaded by the British East India Company, they also made several improvements and systematically strengthened the fort. Read on and come across some of the most fascinating details about the Dindigul Fort.
Dindigul District Fort
Location: Dindigul, Tamil Nadu
Built In: 1601-1609 A.D
Built By: Muthu Krishnappa Nayaka
History of Dindigul Fort
Historical evidences suggest that, the Dindigul Fort was built by Muthu Krishnappa Nayaka of Madurai during 1601-1609 A.D. An old crumbled temple dedicated to Abhiramiamman lies on the top of the hill which is also said to have been built by the same ruler. It is also said that it was originally a Shiva temple, dedicated to Lord Padamagiriswara, which was perhaps built by the Pandyas as there are architectural similarities between the temple and other monuments of the Pandyas’ reign. Some fragmentary inscription of (Konerimaikondan) Pandya period was also discovered on the walls of the Siva temple. Later, during the 18th century, the fort passed on to the kingdoms of Mysore. It was one of the most important forts during the reign of Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan. After the Polygar Wars it came under the possession of the British East India Company.
Architectural Layout Of Dindigul Fort
The fort is 900 feet high and stretches over an area of around 2.75 km. When cannon and gunfire artillery were inducted during 17th century, the walls of the fort were strengthened to sustain heavy artillery. The cannons were installed at vantage points all over the fort and an arms and ammunition arsenal was also constructed as per the modern safety measures. The double-walled rooms were designed to withstand any possible attack and were also well ventilated. There was a thin brick wall that lying at the corner of the godown which was meant to provide an escape route to the soldiers in case of an emergency. The celling of the godown was designed so as to prevent seepage of rainwater. The fort had 48 rooms, some of which served as prison cells to lodge war prisoners and slaves. It also encompassed a horse stable, a vast kitchen and also a conference hall for the army commanders of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. Facilitated by its steep gradient, the fort also owned a rainwater reservoir. Towards the west corner of the fort on the south western side of the rock, there lays a cave which is around 60 meter long, 6 meter wide and about 1 meter high. Rock-cut beds resembling the Jain- caves of Thiruparankundram can also be witnessed inside this cave. In 1797-1798, the British Empire strengthened the fort further but in the wake of the malignant and epidemic fever, that raged in the southern province towards the end of 1810, the garrison that stationed in the fort was completely dismantled in the year 1811.
The fort always held strategic importance in battles starting from the Nayak dynasty till the rule of Tipu Sultan. The fort witnessed battles between Madurai Nayaks and Mysore, Maratha armies and later the struggle between Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan and the British armies.
Today the fort is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India and is open to tourists. There is an abandoned temple on its peak apart from few cannons.
Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit the fort is from May to October when the weather is relatively pleasant.
How To Reach
- By Rail: Dindigul is a Railway Junction and trains to several destinations in Tamilnadu and across India can be boarded here.
- By Road: Dindigul is situated at a distance of about 395 km from Chennai and is well connected by roadway to other parts of the state.
- By Air: The nearest Airports are Tiruchirapally Civil Airport at a distance of around 59 km and Coimbatore Peelamedu Airport which is around 78 km away.
Other Tourist Spots In & Around Dindigul Fort
Apart from the fort, the tourists can also visit the Thadikombu – Perumal temple, which is located at 7 km from Dindigul on Karur NH 7 road. The temple is well known for Sorna Agarsha Bairavar Boojai, also called “Thei perai astami booja”. The St.Joseph Church built during 1866-1872 by the British, is also one of the major tourist attractions in Dindigul.
Built by the Madurai Nayak Kings, the Dindigul Fort has evolved as one of the favorite tourist attractions in the region. Go through the above article and get all the information pertaining to its history and Architecture before you plan to visit this antiquated monument.