Cuddalore Knowledge Guide
From ancient times the old town has been a seaport. For two centuries, Cuddalore had been subject to a number of foreign powers including the Netherlands, Portugal, France and more recently, the British. Until 1758 Cuddalore was the capital to South Indian territories which was under British control. British ruled a greater part of South India(entire Tamil Nadu, parts of present Andra Pradesh,Kerala and Karnataka) from this fort(St.David). In the early 17th century, the Dutch obtained permission from the ruler of Cuddalore to build a fort there, but political pressure from their Portuguese rivals forced them to abandon it. Later, the French and English came to Cuddalore for trade and business. The French established a settlement 10 miles up the coast at Pondicherry in 1674, followed in 1690 by the British settlement of Fort St. David at Cuddalore. During the 18th century various wars between the European powers spilled over to their colonial empires, and to their allies, including those in the Indian sub-continent. During this period the French and British fought several times in the area. In 1746, during First Carnatic War, part of the War of the Austrian Succession, French forces besieged the British at Fort St. David for several months before being driven off in 1747. In 1758, during the Seven Years' War, the Fort was taken by the French, and there was an inconclusive naval action, the Battle of Cuddalore, off the coast. The fort was later abandoned, in 1760, when the British attacked Pondicherry. In 1782, during the Second Anglo-Mysore War, at the time of the American War of Independence, the French again took Cuddalore, and were besieged there in 1783 by the British. During the siege French and British naval forces again clashed off the Cuddalore coast. The siege failed, but the fort was returned to the British in 1795. In all there were five different naval actions off the coast during this period, all of which were indecisive.Some streets in Cuddalore retain their British names, such as Clive Street, Wellington Street, Sloper Street, Canning Street, Rope Street (Rope Street, Wellington Street, Sloper Street and Canning Street jointly known as Salangukara Village), Lawrence Road and Imperial Road. The Cuddalore Central Prison, opened in 1865, is an historically important landmark. Subramania Bharati and other political leaders served prison terms there. Tsunami waves that followed the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake near Sumatra hit the eastern coast of India on 26 December 2004 at 0832h, resulting in 572 casualties. Several fishing hamlets disappeared, while Silver Beach and the historically important Cuddalore Port were devastated. Fort St. David survived without damage. In 30 Dec 2011, Cyclone Thane caused widespread damage to crops and buildings.
Pichavaram, which is 57 km from Cuddalore, a world-renowned mangrove forest. Pataleeswarar Temple, a Hindu temple, built during the 7th century and dated a millennium earlier, is the most prominent landmark in Cuddalore. The name, Thirupathipuliyur, is associated with the legend behind the temple. The temple is revered in the verses of 7th-century Saiva saints Appar and Tirugnanasambandar in their works in Tevaram.The Devanathaswami Temple, located in Thiruvanthipuram, is another Hindu pilgrimage site around Cuddalore.Silver Beach is a 2 km (1.2 mi) long beach located in Cuddalore and is another prominent visitor attraction of the town.Fort St David, situated on the River Gadilam near Devanampattinam and acquired in 1653 AD by Elihu Yale, a Christian slave-trader and cruel slave master, is one of the most visited tourist attraction in Cuddalore. The wealth embezzled and extracted by him was infused into the famed Yale University, an Ivy League university in USA. Only two decades later, in 1677, when Shivaji captured Gingee, the fort fell into the hands of the Marathas. In 1690, the British East India Company purchased the fort and the adjacent villages (within "ye randome shott of a piece of ordnance".) A great gun was fired to different points of the compass and all the country within its range, including the town of Cuddalore, passed into the possession of the English. The villages thus obtained are called "cannon ball villages". The fortifications were strengthened in 1693, 1698, 1702, 1725, 1740 and 1745. In 1746 Fort St. David became the British headquarters for British India. The British ruled a greater part of south India (Tamil Nadu, parts of present- Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka) from Fort St. David. An attack by Dupleix was successfully repulsed. In 1756, Clive was appointed governor. The French captured the fort in 1758 but in 1760 relinquished it to Sir Eyre Coote of the British East India Company. The French recaptured the fort in 1782 and held it in 1783 during the Battle of Cuddalore. In 1785 the fort passed into British possession. By this time, however, the centre of British rule was Fort St George.The Garden House was the official residence of the Cuddalore District Collector, Robert Clive. It is typical of later medieval architecture. The roof of the Garden House was built using only bricks and slaked lime with no steel and wood.