The Main Guard Gate of Trichy city, TN - now restored and hawkers are removed

The Main  Guard gate of Trichy city, Fort  Area, TN  is a well known  landmark in the city as well as a   a protected monument. For a long time it was on either side of the way was  occupied by  by hawkers. The site was not fully visible because of  a series of  makeshift shops (numbering more than 50) bordering the walls of the gate from West Boulevard Road to part of NS Bose Road.  The fort close to the banks of the river Cauvery  was once an  important fort after Fort St. George, Chennai and  Ft. David, Cuddalore   in the then Madras Presidency (now Tamil Nadu State) under the English. 

Main guard gate, Tiruchi, TN
Main Guard Gate, of Tiruchirapalli Fort, youtube.

Above images: Main Guard Gate on West Boulevard Road across St. Lourdes church, Trichy, TN:  In 1753 there existed two sturdy forts 6000 ft long and 36 ft wide.Outer fort had a height of 18 ft and a width of 5 ft. Whereas the inner fort was 30 ft tall and had a width of 20 ft. The passage between out and inner forts had a width of 25 feet. The outer fort was surrounded by a 30 ft wide moat with a depth of 12 ft. Built during the time of Viswanatha nayak (1530-1564), much of the sturdy ford was damaged during the war between Chanda Sahib and Nawab of Arcot. The survived  fort, moat and other parts were removed  and flattened in 1880 (work began in 1868) by the municipality to expand the town, the remnants of the fort can be seen on East Boulevard road and Butterworth road (named after a District Collector). The main remnant of the old sturdy fort is the M ain Guard gate on the WB. road -8.8 meter tall and 60 meter length facing the road........................... 

The fortified area far away from the Bay of Bengal, now almost gone,  once covered   large  areas  that are now known as  Singarathope, Bishop Heber School, Teppakulam and adjacent places. Part of the fort is on a  small hill, one of a few outcrops in this plain land. The rocks are of Precambrian age, being one of the oldest rocks in the world.  Only the Main Guard Gate on the West Boulevard opposite to once  famous  St. Joseph college is said to be the most conspicuous  vestige of the ramparts of the fort.

In June, 2021 the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Trichy circle took up the  conservation work  to strengthen and save the 500-year-old Main Guard gate complex.  It happened to be the  Circle’s first major conservation work in the city after  it was formed. 

The Nayak-era structure was used for defence purpose by the British during the colonial rule and cannons were placed on the walls after making a few alterations.  The siege of Trichinopoly took place in early 1741 during an extended series of conflicts between the Nawab of Arcot and the Maratha Empire for control over parts of what is now southern India. Raghuji Bhonsle's Maratha Army successfully starved out the town, compelling the surrender of Chanda Sahib on 26 March 1741. The later was supported by the French army.  Chanda Sahib was out to kill the Nawab of Arcot who was protected by the British forces.

Steeped in history, the  Main Guard gate had not been periodically taken care of for decades. As no major maintenance work was taken up for a long time, in June 2021 the ASI took up the conservation work to restore the heritage monument and to free the passage under the arch illegally occupied by the hawkers. 

Nayak-era Mainguard gate, Trichy

To test the stability of the foundation walls of the gate in the front fortified area (facing West Boulevard road) and to safeguard the rockfort hillock that served as inner fort once, the ground-penetrating radar survey, etc  was done with advanced gadgets by the ASI in collaboration with the Bharathidasan university, Trichy. They did find cracks in the walls and focus was paid to strengthen the structure. An accretion wall recently built was removed to study the stability of the structure and carry out remedial measures. This monument has to be taken care of hereon periodically by the ASI as its legacy is a mixed one both Nayak and the british periods.