Dindigul is our nearest town (about 27km from Lakeside) where we go to buy anything we can’t get from the local village. The town is centered around a large rock formation in the middle of a plain and gets its name from a Tamil description of this rock (“Thindu” meaning pillow and “kal” meaning Rock)
Dindigul is most famous for its locks, safes, spinning mills and leather tanning, but its true importance and the reason for it initial siting here is its strategic position.
On such a flat plain an imposing rock like the one at Dindigul holds commanding views of the area and was the ideal place for a fort. The town which sprang up around it soon became a crossroads – North to Bangalore, East to Chennai and Pondicherry, South to Madurai and Kanyiakumari and west into the state of Kerala.
The oldest structures on the hill (280 ft. high) are a Hindu temple and other religious remains (possible Jain remains in one of the caves). The site must have been used as a place of defense for thousands of years but the first recorded large fort was begun in 1605 by the Madurai King Muthu Krishna Naicker and finished by Mannar Thirumalai Naicker between 1623 to 1659. In 1755 the famous Hyder Ali took his wife and five year old son Tipu Sultan to Dindigul; after his fathers death Tipu Sultan took over the fort in 1784 and ruled there until he was defeated in the ‘Mysore Wars’ in 1790 when the British took over and had a garrison there until 1860.
There are a number of buildings surviving on the top of the hill, and you can see the remains of a remarkable rain-water-harvesting system which meant that, unless there was a severe drought, the fort could be self-sustaining in water and so withstand a siege. The defensive walls extend around the whole of the summit except for in the southern side which is so steep that no attacking force would be able to succeed. Some of our guests take a walk to the top of the hill (early morning before it gets too hot!) and enjoy the views which stretch for miles.