Chengalpattu Knowledge Guide
Chengalpattu was formerly a capital of the kings of Vijayanagara, after their defeat by the Deccan sultanates at Battle of Talikota in 1565. The fortress at Chengalpattu, built by the Vijayanagara kings in the 16th century, was of strategic importance, owing to its swampy surroundings and the lake that flanked its side.In 1639 a local governor or nayak, subject to these kings, granted a piece of coastal land to the British East India Company where Fort St George now stands, which became the nucleus of the city of Madras. Chengalpattu was taken by the French in 1751 and was retaken in 1752 by Robert Clive, after which it proved of great strategic advantage to the British, especially when Lally failed to capture the fortress in his advance on Madras.During the wars of the British with Hyder Ali of Mysore, it withstood his assault and afforded a refuge to the nearby residents. In 1780, after the defeat of Colonel W Baillie, the army of Sir Hector Munro took refuge there. By 1900 the town was noted for its manufacture of pottery and was a local market center, especially of the rice trade. The surrounding district was home to cotton and silk weaving, indigo dyeing, tanneries, and a cigar factory, and extensive salt manufacturing took place along the coast.
Today Chengalpattu has developed as a touristic spot for many foreign travellers on their way to Mamallapuram, Thirukazhukundram, Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary and Kanchipuram, Karikili Bird Sanctuary. The boat house established by Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) in the Kolavai lake which is alongside the NH 45 highway has turned into a place where people can relax with their families on weekends. The monsoon rains flooded the gates of the lake in December 2005 due to which the TTDC boat club operation has been stopped. It also serves as a bridge connecting all nearby districts with the renowned tourist places like Mahabalipuram, Muttukadu, theme parks on East Coast Road (ECR), Thirukazhukundram, town.