Alamparai - the ruins of time
Time was when Alamparai boasted a fortress so daunting that it was coveted and skirmished over by warring colonial powers. Today, the ruins tell a sobering story. One hundred kilometres down the East Coast Road from Chennai is Kadapakkam. From here a series of signboards half-heartedly point you toward Alamparai Fort. The road is confusing; a succession of ruts and potholes, skirted by the squalor of scum-green saline ponds and abandoned villages. Rows of asbestos-roofed houses, rangy dogs and tsunami rehabilitation shelters, paint a depressing picture.
We reached Alamparai as the light of day receded behind us, leaving us to gaze at the crumbling ramparts of what must have once been a majestic fort. Much of it has been gnawed away by the sea, which laps hungrily at the walls.
A rusty Archaeological Survey of India signboard, which had itself seen better days, informed us that this was the site of Idaikazhunadu, the ancient port referred to in the epic poem Siruppanatruppadai. The fort was built in the 17th century by the Carnatic Nawab Dost Ali Khan, a feudatory of the weakened Mughal Emperor. An entrepôt for the trade of salt, zari cloth and ghee, Alamparai assumed great importance. Coins, particularly the eponymous Alamparai Kasu or Varahan, were also minted here. In 1750, the fort was gifted to the French under Lord Dupleix. Within a decade, Alamparai fell into British hands and was destroyed.
Clearly, it could not be completely razed but the elements are taking care of that. The 2004 tsunami destroyed a significant part of the sea-facing ramparts. Its innards are a wilderness of dark-limbed palmyra palms and the brick-red walls are overgrown with weeds. A shallow beachhead lies exposed at low tide, strung with crab-fishing lines and littered with gaudily painted boats. The wind whistles a low dirge. It is palpable: history's curtains are coming down on Alamparai.
Enjoy more photo-galleries and posts from The Great East Coast Road Drive, Yahoo India Travel's original drive down the picturesque coastal highway in Tamil Nadu.
Text: BIJOY VENUGOPAL
Photos: AZHAR MOHAMED ALI
- live match HYD 189/4 (19 Overs)vs. BLRHYDMatch 27LIVECurrent Run Rate 9.94Hyderabad, IndiaIndian Premier League, 201...
Latest Photo Albums
Chris Morris' 17-ball fifty wasn't enough to prevent a one-run defeat for Delhi. Earlier, Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith had propelled Gujarat to 112 by the 11th over, before a collapse restricted them to 172. Delhi got off to a poor start before Morris and JP Duminy revived them with an 87-run stand … More » IPL2016: Delhi Daredevils vs Gujarat Lions
Crucial win for Pune who took this rain-hit game by 34 runs (D/L) . [Scoreboard] More » IPL2016: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Rising Pune Supergiants
Mumbai scored a comprehensive 25-run win over the bottom-placed Punjab at the IS Bindra Stadium. Mumbai's big score of 189 was set up by some power-hitting by Parthiv Patel and Ambati Rayudu. [Scoreboard] More » IPL2016: Kings XI Punjab vs Mumbai Indians
Kolkata beat Pune by two wickets, with Suryakumar Yadav's 60 anchoring the chase for 161 runs at the MCA Stadium in Pune. This was MS Dhoni's fourth straight defeat this the tournament, making it the first time he's lost so many games on the trot in the IPL. [More » IPL2016: Rising Pune Supergiants vs Kolkata Knight Riders
Virat Kohli's first T20 century was in vain as Gujarat chased down Bangalore's 180. KL Rahul supported Kohli well with a fifty, as the two added 121 for the third wicket. A brisk start led by Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum made the job easy for Dinesh Karthik down the order, as he struck an unbeaten … More » IPL2016: Gujarat Lions vs Royal Challengers Bangalore
Hyderabad scored a comfortable five-wicket win in Mohali led by another good start from David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan. [Scoreboard] More » IPL2016: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Kings XI Punjab
Delhi strangulated Mumbai in the closing overs of the game at Kotla, winning by 10 runs. This was Delhi's third straight win of the tournament. [Scoreboard] More » IPL2016: Delhi Daredevils vs Mumbai Indians
Warner's fearsome hitting ensured Hyderabad's first points of the tournament as they chased Mumbai's under-par 142. Earlier, Krunal Pandya impressed with the bat. [Scoreboard] More » IPL2016: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Mumbai Indians
A montage of the special ones in the lives of these special cricketers. More » Cricketers & Their Kids
Quinton de Kock's blistering hundred and his partnership with Karun Nair helped Delhi chase down 192 at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. Mohammad Shami's wickets proved crucial, derailing a wonderful start for Bangalore led by AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli. Earlier, Chris Gayle was dismissed for a duck, his … More » IPL2016: Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Delhi Daredevils
Bangalore's Shane Watson and David Wiese combined brilliantly to get rid of Delhi's Shreyas Iyer. Take a look. More » Watson & Wiese's Incredible Grab
Six-wicket win for Punjab, set up by a good show by Mohit Sharma and Sandeep Sharma, followed by a strong start by openers Murali Vijay and Manan Vohra. [Scoreboard] [Match … More » IPL2016: Kings XI Punjab vs Rising Pune Supergiants
KKR captain Gautam Gambhir smashed an unbeaten 90 to deliver an eight-wicket win in an away game at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Uppal. [Scoreboard] [Report: … More » IPL2016: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Kolkata Knight Riders
Finch's third straight fifty of the tournament kept the Gujarat Lions on top of the points table with a last-ball win over Mumbai at the Wankhede. [Scoreboard] More » IPL2016: Mumbai Indians vs Gujarat Lions