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Crumbling glory

A 250-year-old small fort, situated on the high ground above the Gundar in Kamudhi in Ramanathapuram district is now in a dilapidated condition. It was constructed during the period of Udaya Thevar alias Vijaya Regunatha Sethupathy in 1710-1725 AD with the assistance of French engineers.

The fort, once defended rival kings against capturing the Kingdom of Ramanthapuram, has now turned a den for stray dogs, pigs and anti-socials.

Bushes and shrubs have sprung up everywhere, including the fort itself. Vijaya Regunatha Sethupathy, son of Kadamba Thevar and a nephew of Kilavan Sethupathy, succeeded the throne of the Ramanathapuram Kingdom after the death of Kilavan.

As his rival, Bhavani Sankara, an illegitimate son of Kilavan, constantly troubled him, the King had to keep his forces in constant readiness for any military undertaking.

For military purposes, he divided the country into seventy divisions and appointed chieftains in each division. The King also built forts at R.S. Mangalam, Oriyur, Arantangi, Tirupattur, Kamudhi and Pamban.

The Kamudhi fort has two lines of fortification and has buildings and a fine wall. After the fall of Panjalankurichi on August 25, 1801, the forces of the East India Company controlled this strong fort of Kamudhi belonging to the Ramanathapuram Kingdom.

The forces of Sivaganga under Marudhu captured this fort. But the fort was soon recaptured by the East India Company and was dismantled thereafter. Legends say that Kattabomman stayed for a day in this fort on his way to Ramanathapuram to meet the then Collector, Jackson, on September 9, 1798.

"The Government should come forward to preserve this ancient fort, adding one more feather in the caps of the heritage district," says a cross section of the people belonging to Kamudhi.

From Suresh Kumar P S

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