Friday, February 17, 2017

Vandavasi Fort, Thiruvannamalai

Vandavasi Fort, Thiruvannamalai
Vandavasi Fort is located in Vandavasi or Wandiwash, a city and a municipality located in Thiruvannamalai district  of Tamilnadu. Vandavasi fort would have been a famous tourist spot but for its negligence by the authorities. It witnessed the decisive Battle of Wandiwash, it even is said to have an underground passage to Gingee fort. The Nayak of Vandavasi, a vassal of Vijayanagara Kings was instrumental in helping British secure grant from Chandragiri Fort to build the city of Madras.

Swayambu Jalakandeswarar Temple, Ranganatha Perumal Temple and Kottai Baktha Anjaneyar Temple are located within the Vandavasi Fort in Vandavasi town and are being maintained by Archeological Survey of India (ASI). There are stone inscriptions in LIPI language here. Vandavasi was the scene of a decisive battle in the 18th Century war between France and the United Kingdom for the control of South Asia.

The Battle of Wandiwash was a watershed in Indian history as it cemented British supremacy in South Asia. On January 22, 1760, a British force led by Eyre Coote defeated a French force led by General Thomas Lally. The Battle of Wandiwash was a decisive battle in India during the Seven Years' War. The Count de Lally's army, burdened by a lack of naval support and funds, attempted to regain the fort at Vandavasi, now in Tamilnadu. He was attacked by Sir Eyre Coote's forces and decisively defeated.

The French general Marquis de Bussy-Castelnau and the French were then restricted to Pondicherry, where they surrendered on 16 January 1761. Wandiwash is the Anglicized pronunciation of Vandavasi. This was the Third Carnatic War fought between the French and the British. Having made substantial gains in Bengal and Hyderabad, the British, after collecting huge amount of revenue, were fully equipped to face the French in Wandiwash, whom they defeated.

According to the 19th century book Annals of the Wars of the Eighteenth Century by Author Eduard Cust, the French Army consisted of 300 European Cavalry, 2,250 European infantry, 1,300 sepoys (soldiers), 3,000 Mahrattas and 16 pieces of artillery while the English deployed about 80 European Horses, 250 Native horses, 1,900 European Infantry, 2,100 sepoys and 26 pieces of artillery. The Battle of Wandiwash involved the capture of Chetpattu (Chetpet), Tirunomalai (Thiruvannamalai), Tindivanam and Perumukkal.

Vandavasi is located at 12.5°N 79.62°E. It lies 110 kilometres South-West of Chennai City, South of famous temple city Kanchipuram and 80 kms north-east of Thiruvannamalai. The town is well connected with Chennai by road. Nearest Railway Station is located at Thiruvannamalai and Nearest Airport is located at Chennai.

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