Though it is only 150 kilometres from my city, Chennai, I have never visited Gingee fort aka Senji fort (செங்கிக் கோட்டை). Today I got the chance during a trip this week with a friend to Salem for a few days. We opted to travel by the GST Road towards Ulundurpet, instead of the Bengaluru Highway via Krishnagiri. We started from Chennai at 8 AM and reached Gingee town in three hours (at 11 AM). To the west of Gingee town is Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu at 30 km, and the same distance to the east is Tindivanam, Tamil Nadu.
History of Gingee aka Senji Fort:
Wikipedia says Gingee fort was ranked by Chhatrapati Shivaji to be the “most impregnable fortress in India”, and it was called the “Troy of the East” by the British. The fort was originally built by Ananta kon of the Konar dynasty around 1190 AD. In 1677 AD, the fort was captured by Subedar Harji Rajemahadik for the Marathas under the leadership of Chhatrapati Shivaji. Then it had been held at various times by the Bijapur sultans, the Moghuls, the Carnatic Nawabs, the French and finally the British who captured it in 1761. The tragic tale of Raja Tej Singh, popularly known in Tamil as Thesingu Raasan, is associated with the fort.
What did we see here?
There are three hillocks here, but we visited only the larger one, the Rajagiri fort. There is an entry of fee of ₹20 (USD 0.3) which you have to pay online (search ASI GFG in Google) and show the screenshot to the security guards after the entrance. We spent nearly two hours going around and climbing three-fourths of the hill. Had we carried a water bottle with us we could’ve continued our trek and reached the hilltop. There is not much to see, only ruins and a good hike, but was a nice outing.
Remember to carry water with you, a hat if it is summer; there are no eateries inside the fort. The nearest restroom (only one) was near the parking lot outside the fort.