If you talk about the historic monuments of Chennai then St. George Fort stands first. It is one of the most magnificent ancient structures of city. Built in early seventeenth century in the year 1640 by British East India Company this impressive structure is located on the shores of Bay of Bengal in the eastern part of Chennai city. The St. George Fort is the first fort of British in India built in an area where no human settlements were there at that time but after this fort was built further developments and trading activities started in the surrounding areas.
The current city came into existence after this fortress. This fort has its place in 163 megalithic sites of Tamil Nadu state The building was constructed under the guidance of Andrew Cogon. You might be wondering why this fort has got its name after a saint. Actually at that time we were under British rule and in England St. George was a Patron saint of England. Thus they preferred to name the fort after him. The fort has many historic monuments inside its premises dating back to seventeenth century. The fort is secured by thick huge walls all around. The monuments inside the fort include St. Mary’s Church, fort Museum, several tombstones, flagstaff, etc. This fort is said to be the birth place of modern Indian Army. Currently it is under the control of Government of Tamil Nadu and the Tamil Nadu Legislative assembly Secretariat is the current occupant of the fort St. George.
The St. Mary’s Church is the oldest Anglican church dating back to 1680. The tombstones situated in courtyard are said to be the oldest British tombstones in the country. The fort houses the tallest flagstaff in the country. it was recovered from ship ruins of seventeenth century. It is made up of teak wood and has a height of 150 feet or 46 meters. The fort museum is quite a big tourists’ attraction in the fort. The museum building at fort is the longest surviving structure in the premises. It was opened to public on 31st January in the year 1948. There are total ten galleries in the museum displaying 602 antiques from 3661 registered antiquities collection on three floors.
The exhibits include various arms like swords, daggers, rifles, pistols, cannon shots, helmets, baton, etc., uniforms of British army, several porcelains used as tableware by British and Nawabs, silverware, coins, clocks, stamps, furniture, lampshades, document gallery, etc. Wellesley house is one section of the museum. The Banqueting hall situated on the first floor of the building displays paintings of Governor of fort and other officials of that time. The cannons of Tipu Sultan are another attraction here. Currently the Fort houses various administrative buildings of government of Tamil Nadu.
Visiting timings of museum
10.00 am to 5.00 pm
Open on all days except Fridays
Rs. 5 per head for Indians
$ 2 or Rs. 100 per head for foreign visitors
Kids up to the age 15 have free entrance.