Kalyana Mahal, a majestic part of Gingee fort on the Rajagiri hill, Tamil Nadu - a brief note

Gingee fort, Kalyana mahal amilnow.com

Kalyana Mahal  arcaded hall.  Gingee Fort, Tamil Nadu .outlookindia.com

Kalyana mahal, Gingee fort, TN upload.wikimedia.org

Kalyana Mahal, Gingee Fort, TN shutterstock.com

Located in the centre of the Gingee fort (built by king Ananda kone in the 13th CE), in Villupuram district of Tamil nadu, the Kalyana Mahal, a 7- story tall masonry structure with a pyramidal gopuram  atop never fails to get the attention of the visitors to the site. This fort also goes by the name of Senji or Chenji) fort and there is a Hindu temple  in the complex dedicated to goddess chenjiamman.
Kalyana Mahal , Gingee Fort, TN shutterstock.com

Above image: Kalyana Mahal, Gingi: Water tank with a flight of steps all around. A square sized platform at the center of the tank can be accessed w though a narrow flight of steps..................

Covering a vast area of 13 km of  hilly rugged terrain (comprising three hillocks), the  antiquated fort atop  the 800 ft tall hills with a 80 feet (24 m) wide moat all around it at the bottom was ruled by a galaxy of many dynasties at different periods primarily for its strategic location and tough approach to the citadel.
Gingee Fort TN, flickr.com

The design style of Kalyana Mahal in Rajagiri  is more of  a Hindu architecture than that of Islamic style.  Square in plan,  each side of the top four floors has five symmetrical almost rounded arches  and those on the other side are their mirror images. Atop the tower one can see a sort of tapering pyramidal gopuram with a small cupola like feature at top reminiscent of a Hindu temple design. In the pyramidal part one can see a small open projected balcony above the bottom part with masonry parapet on all sides. rest of the floors across the outer openings on all sides there are no parapet wall and it is very risky to bring children here. on the floors there are small rooms and the walls are thick . each floor has a small verandah - about 3 feet wide all around  Below the parapet one can see the well-planned eaves all around the structure protecting the bottom portion of the pyramid. One can also see the eaves all around on the above  structure  at successive upper levels. At all levels the eaves are being supported by closely paced stone brackets at the bottom. Access to the upper floors is through the narrow stairway. Water for Kalyana Mahal was brought through earthenware pipes from reservoir located 500 m from it.

The purpose of this Kalyana Mahal with many floors is not clear. Apparently, there must've been some  provision for the people to stay. Perhaps, part of  the Kalyana Mahal, was used as  the living quarters for  the queen(s) and her retinue. On the ground floor  there is a huge water tank with flight of steps and it was for the women's to bathe there. On the sides at the bottom of the tanks there are holes (three inches in diameter) perhaps they were used to feed the water in the tank?  Fully guarded, men were not allowed to enter the women's quarters. On the other side of Kalyana mahal one can see a well-laid huge garden with arcaded building on one  side - supposedly horse stables, 

Other parts in the Rajagiri complex include  audience hall, step well, granaries, prison cells, a military gymnasium quarters for servants,  and a temple dedicated to its presiding Hindu goddess called Chenjiamman. A sacred pond known as Aanaikulam is part of the fort complex here..