Fort St. George is the first fortress built by the British in India. It was built in 1639, in what was then called the city of Madras (now Chennai) in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu .
The city of Madras and eventually Chennai is said to have evolved around this fortress, which used to be the landmark of the region. Today, the fort houses the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly and other official buildings related to the state.
The British East India Company, which had entered India around 1600 for trading activities, entered Madras, which was a coastal city, and began the construction of a harbour and a fort for business here.
The fort was completed on 23 April 1644 coinciding with St George's Day, so it was named Fort St George, and it was hub of all merchant activity in the region.
In 1665 (when the new French East India Company was being established, esp. in the neighbouring Pondicherry region), this fort was further strengthened and expanded.
The structure of Fort St. George is influenced by the 17th and 18th century British architecture styles. The building has a grey-granite exterior, and has a total of three elements, namely –
Fort St. George is open to visitors between 9 AM and 5 PM every day from Saturday to Thursday, and is closed on Fridays.
The entry fee for the site is INR 5 per head for Indian citizens, and INR 100 per head for foreign visitors.
Fort George can be reached easily from anywhere within Chennai city by bus, metro train, cab or autorickshaw. And Chennai city can be reached by air, rail or bus.