What to see inside Fort St. George, Chennai

This article gives information on Fort St. George Chennai and what to see inside Fort St. George Chennai.

The Fort St. George in Rajaji Salai, Chennai is the administrative headquarters for the legislative assembly of the State of Tamil Nadu. However, it is not some boring seat of politics but a complex of historic landmarks that gives it a special aura. For example, Tipu Sultan’s canons can be seen on the ramparts. Some of the buildings inside Fort St. George are open to the public.

What to see inside Fort St. George

1. St. Mary’s Church: This church has got a grace and charm that has been unaffected over time. The St. Mary’s Church is considered to be one of the oldest Protestant churches during the colonial rule in India. Historical records imply that perhaps the roof of this church was specially designed by a gunner to withstand enemy gunfire. Two interesting things to see: a reproduction of Da Vinci’s painting The Last Supper; and the register showing a record of Robert Clive’s wedding. There are quite a few memorial plaques within the Church and numerous British tombstones in the courtyard.

2. Clive’s House: Also known as the Admiralty Building, today this three-storeyed structure is home to the office of the Archaelogical Survey of India. At one time this mansion was the residence of Robert Clive and his family. It is situated on the southern side of Fort St. George. There is a spacious hall on the first floor which at one time was used for lavish banquets. Note the beautifully carved wooden staircases and high ceilings.

3. The Exchange Building: You must definitely cross the threshold of this building as it houses the Fort St. George Museum, considered by many tourists to be one of the best in India. Here you can get a glimpse of French antiques and British artefacts of bygone eras. There is a lovely Portrait Gallery in what is known as ‘The Long Room’. Here there are huge portraits of the various Governors. When this building was first constructed during the 18th Century, it was the center of all trading activities. Some years later a lighthouse was erected on the roof and the building was used by the Colonial Officers.

Other Buildings inside Fort St. George

The Secretariat Building: This was and continues to be the central seat of power. During a siege by the French, the strong pillars were uprooted & taken away, rebuilt and again later demolished. Over the year, this building has undergone multiple transformations. There is a lovely colonnade connecting Fort Square and the Sea Gate. Only members of the police force and Government officials can get access to this building.

The King’s Barracks: At one time these were home to the King’s soldiers and ammunition was stored in The Grand Arsenal. Today the Indian Army owns these two historic structures so you are unlikely to get to see the interiors.

Before exiting the premises of Fort St. George, don’t forget to make a note of the flag post – it is the tallest flag post in India!

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