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Sankagiri Fort

Salem boasts many important tourist places and they are of different genres. Some are historical monuments while others are religious shrines. Some are wildlife sanctuaries while others are just visited for panoramic natural beauty. Sankagiri Fort in Salem District is an important tourist place that has natural beauty as well as historical association and thereby it is visited by regular tourists as well as history freaks.

Sankagiri Fort, Salem
Source: Flickr

About Sankagiri Fort:

Sankagiri Fort is a historical fort in Sankari Taluka of Salem District of Tamil Nadu State. The fort is maintained by ASI (Archaeological Survey of India). Located about 22 km from Erode and about 38 km from Salem, this fort has historical significance. The scenic beauty around the fort is also another reason why visitors keep coming to this fort throughout the year. The fort boasts 14 fort walls built on a hill.

Walls of Sankagiri Fort, Salem
Source : Flickr

The last phases of these wall constructions were done by the British. The fort is very easy to reach as it is located on the Coimbatore-Salem National Highway No.47.

Historical Significance of Sankagiri Fort:

Sankagiri Fort was built during 15th Century by the Vijayanagara Empire. About 14 walls built across the Snakagiri Hills are the main attractions of this fort. The final construction of these walls was accomplished by the British. The Sankagiri Fort used to be the army base for the great Mysore Ruler Tipu Sultan. After Tipu Sultan got defeated by the British, the fort was used by the British to keep their treasury that they got collected from then Kongu Mandalam area.

Sankagiri Fort, Salem
Source : Flickr

In the British India, Kongu Mandalam included kingdoms across Erode, Salem, Karur, Dindukal and Nammakal. The British kept the money and gold they collected as part of the tax from various kingdoms of Kongu Nadu very safely within this fort. The fort also has association with Dheeran Cheenamalai, son of Rathina Sakarai. Dheeran Chinnamalai was a courageous warrior and tribal chief by whom Colonel Maxwell of the British Army was beheaded.

Entrance of Sankagiri Fort, Salem
Source : Flickr

Later when Dheeran was captured by the British, he was hanged to death in this fort by the British on 31st of July, 1805.  The day is celebrated as Adiperukku Day in the remembrance of Dheeran Chinnamalai.

Points of Attraction in Sankagiri Fort:

Though there are two different entrances to the Sankagiri Fort, it can be reached by climbing from one side because the other side has steep slopes which make this way almost impossible to climb. Visitors can see two oil warehouses, granary, one store house for explosives, a death wall and a hayloft and administrative buildings inside the fort. There is a long cave that has a mosque at its entrance. Visitors also get to see the cemeteries of many soldiers (British and Muslims) within the fort premise.

Open Space inside Sankagiri Fort, Salem
Source : Flickr

There is a temple inside the fort dedicated to Varadaraja Perumal. The temple houses many historical items related to Tipu Sultan and Dheeran Chinnamalai. Visitors can see weapons, jewelries and other items related to these two great warriors who had captured the fort in the past.

Places around Sankari Fort:

There is a 125 years old church around the fort named CSI Nathaniel Memorial Church that is under CSI Coimbatore Diocese. Another important place to visit is the Sri Nallappullivannan Temple. One day tour to Yercaud Hills and other tourist places in Salem could also be enjoyed by the visitors of this fort.

How to Reach Sankagiri Fort:

Sankagiri Fort is about 40 km from Salem City, 68 km from Yercaud and 121 km from Coimbatore.

By Road:
Being located on the NH no. 47, this fort is comfortably reached from various parts of Tamil Nadu as well as from other states. Regular bus services both private and public (TNSTC) are available from Salem City, Coimbatore and other cities are available. Private cars and taxis can also be hired to reach this fort comfortably.

By Train: The nearest railway station of this fort is the Sankari Durg Railway Station. The trains running between Chennai and Coimbatore passes through this station thus connects the place with rest of the south India as well as to the other important cities of India. Erode Junction is about 24 KM away from Sankari and many import trains passes through this junction.

By Air: Domestic flights are there between Salem and other airport of south India. The nearest International Airport is the Coimbatore Airport and regular buses are there from Bangalore makes it easier for the overseas or national tourists to reach this place.

Best Time to Visit the Fort:

The winter months between the months of October to March are the best time to visit Sankagiri Fort as the climate remains pleasant and cool during these months. Summers are extreme and monsoon time should be avoided.

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