I am back after a satisfying 235 Km road trip to Alamparai Fort in Kadapakkam village, almost 100 Km from Chennai (via East Coast Road). I simply loved the fort ruins and the lovely backwaters!
From what i gathered, this brick and limestone fort was built by Nawab Dost Ali Khan (Nawab of the Carnatic from 1732 – 1740). It was then gifted to the French who subsequently lost to the British (think Battle of Plassey – 1759), post which the British captured and destroyed the fort. The fort by itself was used a primary trading port by the Arcots of Nawabs and recently state archaeologists found a copper mint beneath the fort ruins along with arms and ammunition in the soldiers quarters!
The coins minted at the fort were used as official tender from Mughal era till the 19th century (apparently had great monetary value at that time) Each coin was called as an Alamparai Varagai (equal to 3 rupees) and the fort exported ghee, zari (cloth) and salt to Rome, France and other European countries. There is evidence of trade with certain South East Asian countries such as China as well.
This place is a history buff’s delight and i was certainly awe-struck imagining the soldiers and traders walking/guarding the fort in front of my eyes! This place is on the very popular ECR stretch, but is not well-known among the locals – i for one am quite happy i stumbled on this marvelous location! Each brick has a story to tell, but sadly the fort is in terrible shape – thanks to the British and the 2004 Indian Tsunami. I came to know about the copper mint only after i visited the fort, else i would have done some 200+ year old alamparai varagai hunting myself!
If you folks ever take a drive down ECR, do not miss this gem of a fort – the backwaters is amazing!