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Rajasthan Rajasthan with Goa
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Chennai Forts and Palaces

Fort St George

Fort St George is the name of the first British fortress in India, built in 1644 at the coastal city of Madras (modern city of Chennai.) The construction of the fort provided the impetus for further settlements and trading activity, in what was originally a barren land. Thus, it is only correct to say that the city evolved around the fortress. The Company, which had entered India around 1600 for trading activities, had begun licensed trading at Surat, which was its initial bastion. However, to secure its trade lines and commercial interests in the spice trade, it felt the necessity of a port closer to the Malaccan Straits. It succeeded in purchasing a piece of coastal land, originally called Madraspattinam, from a local chieftain, where it began construction of a harbour and a fort. The fort was completed on April 23rd, coinciding with St. George's Day, celebrated in honour of St. George, the patron saint of England. The fort, hence christened Fort St. George faced the sea and a few fishing villages, and soon became the hub of merchant activity. It gave birth to a new settlement area called George Town, which grew to envelop the villages and led to the formation of the city of Madras. It also helped establish British influence over the Carnatic region, and keep the kings of Arcot and Srirangapatna, as well as the French forces based at Pondicherry, at bay. The fort is a stronghold with 6 meter high walls that withstood a number of assaults in the 18th century. It briefly passed into the possession of the French from 1746 to 1749, but was restored to the British under the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, which ended the War of Austrian Succession. Today, the Fort serves as the administrative headquarters for the legislative assembly of Tamil Nadu state, and still houses a garrison for troops in transit to various locations at South India and the Andamans. The Fort Museum contains many relics of the Raj, including portraits of many of the Governors.

Vellore Fort

Vellore Fort is a large historic 16th Century fort situated in Vellore town near Chennai in Tamil Nadu; India. It was built by Nayakar chieftains of the Vijayanagara Empire. It is constructed of large granite blocks, known for grand ramparts, wide moat and robust masonry. It passed from the Nayaks to Bijapur Sultans, then Marathas and to Carnatic Nawabs and finally to British till Independence. During the British rule the fort had Tipu Sultan s family and the last Nayak king of Kandy (Sri Lanka) in captivity. The Fort also houses a Hindu temple, Christian church and Muslim mosque. The first rebellion against British rule erupted at this fort in 1806. The Fort is considered to be one the best specimen of a ground fort in India and the Temple within the Fort is famous for the magnificent carvings. The Fort was built in the third quarter of 16th century (around 1566) by Chinna Bommi Nayak and Thimma Reddy Nayak, subordinate Chieftains under Sadasiva Raya of Vijayanagara Empire. The Vijayanagara kings called it "Raya Vellore" to differentiate it from Uppu Vellore in the Godavari region and the name Vellore is also spelt "Belur". The present day Chennai region and Tirupathi were under the domains of this Fort

Special Rajasthan Tour