Gingee fort is located 140 Kms from Chennai. Its a good spot for people interested in archaeology,temple, trekking and birding. We planned a trip to Gingee fort with a bunch of people who were interested in one of these activities. In this trip our partners were Anand and Gohila. They are running a web designing company called Gatt systems. Vinod and myself are interested in trekking and birding while Gohila and Anand are interested in archaeology and temple. We four started off in Renault Kwid and the ride was full of gossips. We stopped to see Memecylon umbellatum,bush beech flowers in bloom. We rejected all the hotels on the way and finally stopped at Haritham restaurant. Its a nice highway restaurant with open garden setup. But the food is little bit overpriced. We were in the hotel around 9 AM, still most of the breakfast items were unavailable. So we settled with Pongal and Vadai.
There was a commotion outside the hotel and we turned our heads only to see orange KTM bikes everywhere. The KTM biker club was going on a weekend drive, quite good to see bikers riding a bike other than bullet.
KTM bikers stopped at Haritham restaurant where we were also having breakfast.
On the way we saw a beautiful village deity statue. It stood colorful in the middle of an abandoned farmland. We couldn’t resist the impulse to take a closer look. Indian really do have colorful gods.
Even for a simple roadside temple we can see such a detailed work only in South India .
We decided to go to the Queen fort first as Vinod,Gohila and myself had already been to King fort few years back. We took the entrance ticket for Rs.15 and started the climb. Its a steep climb with narrow steps but the fort is just 300 ft height, so it was a short hike.Once we reached the top the sight was nice and it gave us a perspective of the size of the fort. At the distance the Raja’s fort was visible and so was the temple and marriage hall.
We were enjoying the view of Gingee sitting at the fortress.
We went to this fort in the month of July, the peak season for butterflies. We saw swarm of butterflies everywhere. Though most of the butterflies were the common bunch that we see everywhere, the numbers of butterflies were truly astounding. It was as if the flowers were not enough.
Vinod was so happy to see so many lime butterflies on the bushes in the fort.
We three went inside the building and searched around to see anything in this 9th century old building. Gohila who always interested in knowing about the history of these buildings before visiting the place, explained us how the fort had transferred to many hands from Cholas to Mughals. She also mentioned that the fort was called as “Troy of the East” by the British.
Though the fort is not well maintained, still it has the majestic look.
The fort may have many history, but the current condition of the fort was not good. There were no displays to explain about the history of the fort. There were scribbling everywhere on the walls which really gave us the feel that the fort had lost its glory. The historical buildings are like old growth forest, when you destroy it you just don’t destroy the place, you destroy the history and the knowledge for the future generations.
“Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness. ” – Frank Gehry
Meanwhile Anand who was overloaded with pongal, decided to sit and relax. Sitting on the steps and looking at us and laughing at the way we are posing for pictures. So why not we click a picture of him doing it !
Anand got so tired and stopped at the steps for relaxing. Though its not a tough climb,we have to keep each step carefully on the stones.
We then went to the rooftop of the fort and enjoyed the view from the top. The wind was so strong enough to push us, so we all walked carefully on the edges. After the recent rains, the surroundings are greener adding to the charm of the place.We crossed few rocks to reach the other building. The rocks were slippery, so Gohila and I were very careful in keeping our steps. We both took our slippers in hand and were jumping over the rocks. There was a lady behind us in saree and she also was jumping through the rocks. Gohila and I were giving hands for the lady as we thought she was having tough time wearing saree and walking on the rocks. But the lady crossed the crevice more gracefully than us and she didn’t take our hand also. I always thought sarees are uncomfortable when roaming around, but may be that was not the case.
After sightseeing and few selfies, we were ready for lunch.
The Gingee trip gang, Vinod,Gohila,Anand and myself.
So we got down quickly, but Gohila wanted to see the Lord Siva temple nearby. We crossed the road and went to the temple, but that was not the temple she read about. We got the directions and went to the Lord Siva temple behind King fort.
An Old Shivan Temple near the Gingee fort.
Behind the temple there was a open grassland with a small hillock which was a perfect place for Owl. But the place is secured with fences, so we all went to the temple. Its a big temple and looked very neat as there were not many tourists. In the dark room, the Gods were decorated beautifully and we drank tulsi water served in the temple to quench our thirst.
The serene looking Lord Shiva temple in Gingee.
Vinod and myself decided to come back to this place during birding season, while Gohila and Anand decided to contact Archaeological department to discuss about the scribbling all over the fort. We were all silent on the way back, each immersed in their own thoughts about the fort or may be we were very hungry that none had energy even to talk. We wanted to try Manoj Bhavan hotel on the highway which was in our list for a long time, so we stopped at that hotel. Its a well maintained hotel and the meals we had was really good. Our stomach was full, we again continued chitchatting about cricket,politics,movies and reached back our current civilization.