Fort & Palace/ Historical Palace in Tamilnadu
Madras War Cemetery
The Madras War Cemetery, a tribute to the valiant men and women
who laid down their lives in the Second World War, was set up in
1952 by the Imperial War Graves Commission, which is now known as
the "Commonwealth War Graves Commission" (CWGC). The Cemetery is
maintained by the CWGC in partnership with the Indian Government.
The Stone of Remembrance greets the visitor to the Madras War
Cemetery with the words from the Book of Ecclesiasticus 'Their
Name Liveth For Evermore'. Then there is the Cross of Sacrifice,
which is set up on an octagonal base bearing a bronze sword upon
its shaft. These two monuments are common to all large CWGC
The Madras War Cemetery honors 855 men and women of the
Commonwealth forces and one Polish airman who died during the war
of 1939 - 1945. It has been a kind of second burial for these
armed forces personnel, who died in the line of duty at different
places while serving in various units during the war. Most of the
graves were brought together from civil and cantonment cemeteries
in the South and East of India. The Cemetery also has three
non-world war graves.
Of the 857 war graves in the Madras War Cemetery, 659 served for
the forces of United Kingdom, 110 served for the forces of West
Africa, 49 for the forces of undivided India (India before
partition), 17 for the forces of Canada, 14 for the forces of
Australia, 5 served for the forces of New Zealand, one for Burma
(Myanmar), one for Malaya and one for Poland.
Rock Fort Temple
The Rock Fort Temple tops on a 83m high outcrop. This temple was
built by the Pallavas as a small cave temple, but the Nayaks made
use of its naturally fortified position. It is a stiff climb, up
the 437 steps cut into the stone to the top but well worth for the
The monument is open daily from 6 am to 8 pm.
Kamaraj Memorial House
Built in the memory of Shri Kamaraj, the late chief minister of
Tamil Nadu, Kamaraj Memorial House is now a permanent gallery that
showcases photographs and personal effects of Kamaraj who rose out
of poverty to become the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu (elected to
the post thrice). Kamaraj Memorial House was inaugurated on 15th
July 1978, by the then Chief Minister M.G Ramachandran
On the ground floor is the bedroom of this bachelor, whose austere
living comes across so clearly in the plain furniture that
occupies the room. Leaning over the railings, one can spot
yellowed volumes of 'Lok Sabha Debates', '100 Modern Lives',
'Churchill' and 'Doctor Zhivago' amongst the books lined up in the
well-stocked library. Obviously, having to discontinue his
schooling did not stop him from becoming a well-read man.
This is an immense bas relief, ornately carved on the open face of
two adjacent granite rocks. Also called the 'Descent of the Ganga'
and 'Bhagiratha's Penance', the carving tees with human figures,
animals, deities and ordinary people watching the descent of the
holy river from the Himalayas.
A natural cleft between the two stones has been creatively used to
simulate the cascading Ganga. Among the profusion of figures is an
emaciated ascetic (close to the cleft towards the top of the
left-hand rock) in the posture of penance. It has been variously
identified as Bhagirath beseeching the Ganga to come down to earth
and as Arjuna praying to Shiva.
Thirumalai Nayak Mahal
The palace is situated 2kms south east of Meenakshi Temple. The
palace was built in 1636 by Thirumalai Nayakar. A classic example
of the Indo-Saracenic style, the piece de resistance of this mahal
is its carved dome outsoars without the support of girders or
The stucco work on its domes and arches is remarkable. The
gigantic pillars and structures represents the amazing
architectural mastery of Nayak Kings. The courtyard and the
dancing hall are being the center of attractions. There are around
248 pillars of each 58 feet toll and 5 feet diameter.
Furniture and utensils used by the kings have been exhibited
inside the palace. The palace is equipped to perform Light & Sound
shows depicting the story of Silappathikaram in both Tamil and
Originally called Ice House, this landmark was re-christened
Vivekananda Illam in 1963. This was in remembrance of Swami
Vivekananda's brief sojourn here. (in 1897 when he delivered seven
historic lectures at Chennai).
The building served the Tudor Ice Company, which used it for
storage of ice from 1842 to 1874. Its structure was such that Ice
could remain without melting for long periods. The Government took
over the building in 1930 and it has been renovated recently, with
a statue of Swami Vivekananda installed. Today, it houses a
Gallery of 150 rare photographs on the life of Swami Vivekananda.
It also houses a section on India's cultural heritage and on the
history of the building itself.
Open from 9.00 am to 12.30 pm and from 3.00 pm to 6.30 pm
Closed on Wednesdays.
Opened in 1976 in memory of the poet-saint Thiruvalluvar, Valluvar
Kottam is a massive auditorium, constructed on reclaimed land from
an unused lake filled with the city's garbage and debris. The
auditorium can seat up to 4000 people.
All 1330 verses of the poet's epic - the Thirukkural, are
inscribed on the granite pillars that surround the auditorium. The
auditorium itself is not supported by any pillars!
There is a 101-feet high temple chariot structure with a life-size
image of the poet in it. The base of the chariot shows in
bas-relief the 133 chapters of the Thirukkural.
Over 3000 blocks of stone were used to create this memorial to
Open from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm.
Closed on Fridays and National holidays
Aranthangi is the second largest town in Pudukkottai district.
Aranthangi was the most populous locality in the south of the
Thanjavur district till it was added to Pudukkottai. The main
centre of attraction of Aranthangi is a ruined fort.
There is a unique feature about this fort; the walls are not
constructed of brick or stone. Large interstices are filled with
mud. There are no ruins of palaces or any other striking building
No indications are found about the history of the fort, but a line
of 'Tondaimans' indicates that they built the fort. Little is
known about the time of the Tondaimans, a lineage of feudal
chieftains who controlled this Aranthangi region of India from the
15th to the 18th century AD.
Vellore Fort, built in 16th century by Sinna Bommi Nayak, a vasal
chieftain under the Vijayanagar kings,Sada Sriranga Maharaja. It
is constructed of granite blocks and surrounded by a moat which is
supplied by a subterranean drain fed from a tank. Later, it became
the fortress of Mortaza Ali, the brother-in-law of Chanda Sahib
who claimed the Arcot throne, and was taken by the Adil Shah
sultans of Bijapur. In 1676, it passed briefly into the hands of
the Marathas until they, in turn, were displaced by the nawab,
Daud Khan, of Delhi in 1708. The British occupied the fort in
1760, following the fall of Srirangapatnam and the death of Tipu