Dindigul Fort

The Dindigul Fort or Dindigul Malai Kottai is a 17th-century hill fort, built by Madurai Nayak situated in the town of Dindigul in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. The fort was built by the Madurai Nayak king Muthu Krishnappa Nayak in 1605. In the 18th century the fort passed on to Kingdom of Mysore. During the reign of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan the fort was of strategic importance. In 1799 it went to the control of the British East India Company during the Polygar Wars. There is an abandoned temple on its peak apart from few cannons sealed with balls inside. In modern times, the fort is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India and is open to tourists. The rock fort is 900 ft tall and has a circumference of 2.75 km. Cannon and gunfire artillery were included in the fort during the 17th century. The fort was cemented with double walls to withstand heavy artillery. Cannons were installed at vantage points around the fort with an arms and ammunition godown built with safety measures. The double-walled rooms were fully protected against external threat and were well ventilated by round ventilation holes in the roof. A thin brick wall in one corner of the godown helped soldiers escape in case of emergency. The sloping ceiling of the godown prevented seepage of rainwater. The fort has 48 rooms that were once used as cells to lodge war prisoners and slaves, a spacious kitchen, a horse stable and a meeting hall for the army commanders. The fort also has its own rainwater reservoirs constructed by taking advantage of the steep gradient. The construction highlights the ingenuity of Indian kings in their military architecture. The fort is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India and maintains it as a protected monument. An entry fee of ?15 is charged for Indian citizens and ?100 for foreigners. The fort receives few visitors in college and school students and the occasional foreign tourists. Visitors are allowed to walk around the tunnels and trenches that reveals the safety features of the structure. The temple has some sculptures and carvings, with untarnished rock cuts. Visitors can view the ruins within the fort walls, arsenal depots, or animal stables and damaged halls decorated with carved stone columns. Visitors are allowed to go up to the cannon point and look through the spy holes. The top of the fort also offers a scenic view of Dindigul on the eastern side and villages and farmland on the other sides. Lack of funds and facilities has kept the fort misused by nearby dwellers.