Sunday, February 25, 2024

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Udayagiri Fort

Place : Nagarcoil, Tamilnadu
Best Season : September - February
Significance : The tomb of De Lennoy, a trusted General of King Marthanda Varma is located here
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The 400-year-old fort in Udayagiri is located at a distance of 14 km from Nagercoil in Kanyakumari District. The fort is situated on the Thiruvananthapuram-Nagercoil National highway at Puliyoorkurichi. 

Originally built in the 1600s, it was destroyed by Raja Raja Chola. Later, it was reconstructed during the reign of the famous Venad King Sri Marthanda Varma in 1741-44 under the supervision of a Flemish commander, Captain Eustachius De Lannoy of the Dutch East India Company. In 1810, the British East India Company under the Command of Coloner Leger marched into the Travancore State through the Aramboly Pass to quell a rebellion against Velu Thambi Dalavai. Until the middle of the 19th century, East India Company's troops were stationed here. 

A protected site under the Archaeological Department of India, the fort has been turned into a bio-diversity park by the Tamilnadu forest department, with sites of historical importance, such as Captain Eustachius De Lannoy's Tomb. Tourists can see deer, ducks, fountains, birds and over 100 varieties of trees inside the fort.

Built with granite blocks, the fort has 290 ft walls. The tomb of De Lannoy and of his wife and son can seen inside a partly ruined chapel in the fort. De Lannoy was one of the 24 prisoners captured by King Marthanda Varma when he defeated the Dutch Army at the great Colachel Travancore-Dutch war. Later, De Lannoy, soon became one of the most trusted generals of the King and the Chief of the Travancore Army. De Lannoy modernized the Travancore Army by introducing modern warfare, the present 9th Battalion of Madras Regiment. He also established foundry for the manufacture of guns, mortars and cannon balls. The fort was once called Dillanai Kottai— De Lennoy's Fort in honour of this. He has lived in the fort with his family for several years and died on June 1, 1777 at the age of 62. His tomb is marked out by a stone cross stands on the top, with the inscription in both Tamil and Latin.

One of the main feature of the fort is a 16 ft long brass gun, which could not be removed even with the help of 16 elephants. An artificial fountain has also been established in the fort. There also is an underground passage within the fort