Take a look at this photograph.
See those imposing walls? That massive, two mile long, curtain wall is still complete and still mostly in good condition, not having been torn apart for building materials, succumbed to developmental stress as in European cities or having been perforated by “heritage hotels” as was the fate of the fort in Jaiselmer. That moat is 80 feet across. Once upon a time, it was home to numerous crocodiles and snakes to ward off attackers. It is probably still home to many snakes. Places like this are where the stereotype of a crocodile infested moat come from. See the fort up on the rocky hill? That is Krishnagiri; the queen’s fort. Rajagiri (the king’s fort) and a third fort, called Chamar Tikri, are on a hill a kilometer to the left and behind the camera respectively.
Welcome to Gingee!
The fortress complex at Gingee was originaly built in the 9th century and considerably upgraded in the 13th century. It was self sustaining. In the 17th century, the invading Mughals required a seven year siege in order to capture the fort. Father Pinments, British visitor in the 18th century, called it the “Troy of the East”. One can easily spend a full day here and not see everything.
What don’t you see in that picture? People!
Strangely enough, while Mahabalipuram, two hours away, is mobbed with tourists, Gingee, despite its scenic delights and colorful history; is empty. That is something that I’ll never understand about this country.