Bell Tower atop the Rock fort Complex, Tiruchirappalli - details not available?

Tiruchi rock fort Bell

Rock Fort  and the temples atop of the small hillock (height 83 meters) form an important land mark in this historical big city of Tiruchirappalli   where once the founder of the British Empire Robert Clive stayed  during the  siege of this city. The British wanted to save Arcot Nawab from the forces of  ruler Chand Saheb who was backed by the French forces.  The city saw several battles and peace treaties involving various dynasties and rulers including the British.  

Tiruchi rock fort Bell

Visitors to this city never fail to go  to  the top of the hill where there is a temple dedicated to God Ganapathi (in Tamil  Utchi Pillaiyar  kovil). Just down hill near-by  is  Thayumanaswami temple dedicated  to God Shiva. These   temples are carved out from the  rock caves in the out crop.   During the Madurai Nayak rule (vassal of Vijayanagara empire), the fortification of the Rock fort took place  for security reasons. The cave temple on the hill came up during the Pallavas reign during the 7th-8th centuries and  later the Vijayanagara and Nayak rulers  made  additions and reconstruction.  e 

The British rule was established after the Carnatic wars and Robert Clive emerged as a hero who later went to  Kolkata (Calcutta) to  retrieve Ft. William and  seize it from Nawab Siraj-ud Daulah in the 18th century. Thus the British empire began here with the arrival of Clive who gained war experience in Tiruchi and at Arcot. 

Tiruchi rock fort Bell

.Tiruchi rock fort Bell tower

Above image: Tiruchi  rock fort, Tiruchirappalli city. The Bell Tower is partially visible on the left side. . Pillaiyar temple is at top. (height of the hillock  237 feet)........................

Visitors to the temple, more often than  not go past a  small  Bell tower of medium height  close to the Ganapati temple.  Of course, no body can miss it, but peoples' focus is more on reaching the  Vinayagar temple and after   brief prayer  go round the prakara and take  a  view of the city. No doubt you get a fine view of  the  city; an endless vista of the city stretching before you.  An enchanting sight particularly, in the late evening.

Tiruchi rock fort Bell tower

Details are not available about the bell tower and  its purpose, date of construction, name of the builder, etc.  However, till early sixties  while I was a college student here  I used to hear the bell - rung manually  daily in the evening. The traffic din was not very much and  one could hear  sound very well  within the Main Guard gate  area. In the later years, it seems, the bell developed  some repairs and it was not rung any more. 

An interesting fact about the bell is it was donated by G. Grongton Loco and Carriage Company  operating in India. When I googled its name, no information was available.  

My assumption is it must be  Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company (GRC&W), a railway rolling stock manufacturer based in Gloucester, England from 1860  till the 1900s. This firm  in 1936  won the contract to build a 68 foot long air-conditioned carriage for the Maharajah of  Indore  Yaswantrao  Holker,  a man of different taste and styles. 

Whichever company made the bell in the bell tower in the rock-fort, it  was associated with SIR privately owned railway company under the Raj. The big bell  was cast in 1918  in the railway workshop in Nagapattinam.  The saga of  the railways in south India had begun here  with the laying of first  ever line at Negapattinam to Trichinopoly (Tiruchirappalli),  on 5th April; it was  done by  the Great Southern of India Railway Company. 

The workshop  was run by the SIR (South Indian Railway, a British private company. After independence it was taken over by the Tatas. However, in the 1970s, I presume, it was closed for good due to labor problem. Then in East Thanjavur, Communists were very active and created all kinds of labor problems for the small companies as well as for the small land holders. .   

As to the Bell tower, I  made a futile attempt to get the details.,_Rockfort