Translating to the ‘Circular Fort’, Vattakottai Fort is a seaside fort near Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, the southernmost tip of India. It is a majestic historic structure which is largely made of granite blocks and a part of the fort even extends to the sea making it a beautiful sight. The fort is now protected under the Archaeological Department of India and a major renovation recently took place to protect its glory.
Sprawling over 3.5 acres, the Vattakottai Fort is located 7km north of Kanyakumari in the Agasteeswaram Taluka. It rests on the coast of the spectacular Bay of Bengal and is one of the must-visit sights in Tamil Nadu. It is made entirely of stones and has all the amenities for the royal family such as restrooms, watchtowers, armour rooms, etc.
The aesthetics and architecture of the fort are splendid and exude regal aura, the primary goal of constructing it was entirely different. The fort is a major tourist magnet because of its historical significance clubbed with its scenic location overlooking the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. The panorama of shimmering waters on one side and the mighty hills of the Western Ghats on the other, sprawling beached with black sand and blue sky over them makes this place a mesmerizing wonder.
Vattakottai Fort is a seaside fort located in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, India. The fort was built during the 18th century by the Travancore kingdom, which was ruled by the Travancore royal family. This is the last fort built by the Travancore Kingdom. The construction of the fort commenced in 1729 during the rule of King Marthandavarma, under the supervision of Captain Eustachius De Lannoy, whose army was defeated by the Travancore army in the battle of Colachel. The fort was built as a coastal defense against enemy invasions and to protect the kingdom's maritime trade routes. Its strategic location on the coast of the Arabian Sea made it an important stronghold for the Travancore kingdom.
The fort is built using granite blocks and is designed in the shape of a hexagon. The fort walls are about 25 feet high and 8 feet wide, and they surround the entire fortification. There are watchtowers at each of the six corners of the fort, which were used to keep an eye on approaching ships and enemies. The fort was used by the British during their rule in India, and it was later abandoned after India gained independence. Today, Vattakottai Fort is a popular tourist attraction and is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. Visitors can explore the fort's remains and enjoy the scenic views of the Arabian Sea from the fort walls.
In addition to its historical significance, Vattakottai Fort is also known for its unique architecture and stunning natural surroundings, making it a popular destination for both history buffs and nature lovers alike.
Although the name of the fort translates to ‘circular fort’, Fort Vattakottai is actually a rectangular fort. It is said that the fort was named so because it facilitated the lookout for enemy lines from all sides of it like a 360-degree view. The circular shape of the fort provided better visibility and coverage for its defenders, and the high parapet walls that surround its circumference served as a barrier to prevent attackers from scaling the walls and entering the fort. The walls are about 3 meters high and 2.4 meters thick, and there are four bastions in the fort, each of which is strategically placed at the corners of the circular shape.
The entrance to the fort is through a small gate that is located on the eastern side. The gate is also made of granite blocks and has a wooden door. A watchtower is located on the eastern side of the fort, which provided a vantage point for the defenders to keep watch for approaching enemies. The fort is surrounded by a moat, which is about 3 meters deep and 3 meters wide. The moat was filled with water from the nearby sea, which served as an additional barrier for the fort.
The architecture of Vattakottai Fort reflects the influence of both Dravidian and European styles. The use of granite blocks is characteristic of Dravidian architecture, while the circular shape and bastions are reminiscent of European military architecture. The combination of these styles and techniques makes Vattakottai Fort a unique and fascinating example of military architecture from the 18th century. The fort's unique combination of Dravidian and European styles makes it a remarkable example of architecture from the 18th century.
Timings and Entry Fees
- Timing – 8am to 5pm
- Entry Fee – INR10 for Indians and INR100 for foreign nationals
Things to Do
- Explore the Fort: The circular shape and granite walls of Fort Vattakottai are a marvel to explore. Visitors can walk around the fort, climb up the ramparts, and take in the panoramic views of the Bay of Bengal.
- Enjoy the Scenic Views: The fort's location offers stunning views of the Bay of Bengal, surrounded by palm trees and lush greenery. Visitors can enjoy the serene ambiance and take memorable photographs.
- Visit the Nearby Temples: There are several ancient temples located near Fort Vattakottai, including the Sri Adi Kesava Perumal Temple and the Udayagiri Fort Temple. Visitors can explore these temples and learn more about the region's cultural heritage.
- Beach Activities: The nearby beaches of Kanyakumari, Sanguthurai, and Muttom offer a range of beach activities such as swimming, sunbathing, and boating. Visitors can spend a day relaxing and enjoying the beachside activities.
- Picnic and Relaxation: Fort Vattakottai is a perfect place for a picnic with friends and family. The fort offers ample space for visitors to relax and enjoy a picnic amidst nature.
- Watch the Sunset: The Fort's location on the Bay of Bengal offers spectacular views of the sunset. Visitors can watch the sun setting behind the horizon and take in the beauty of the scenery.
- Kanyakumari Beach: Located just 6 km from Vattakottai Fort, Kanyakumari Beach is a popular tourist spot. It is known for its beautiful sunrises and sunsets.
- Padmanabhapuram Palace: Located about 15 km from Vattakottai Fort, Padmanabhapuram Palace is a magnificent wooden palace that was once the seat of the Travancore kings. It is known for its intricate carvings and paintings.
- Thiruvalluvar Statue: This 133-foot-tall statue of the Tamil poet and philosopher Thiruvalluvar is located on a small island off the coast of Kanyakumari. Visitors can take a ferry to the island and climb to the top of the statue for panoramic views of the surrounding area.
- Vivekananda Rock Memorial: This memorial is dedicated to the famous Hindu monk Swami Vivekananda, who meditated on the rock in 1892. It is located on a small island off the coast of Kanyakumari and is accessible by ferry.
- Gandhi Mandapam: This memorial is dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation. It is located about 2 km from Vattakottai Fort and is known for its beautiful architecture and peaceful surroundings.
- Sparsa Resorts Kanyakumari: This luxury resort is located around 15 km from Fort Vattakottai and offers a range of amenities such as a swimming pool, spa, restaurant, and bar.
- Hotel Seaface: This budget-friendly hotel is located around 13 km from Fort Vattakottai and offers comfortable rooms with air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, and a restaurant serving Indian and Chinese cuisine.
- The Gopinivas Grand: This mid-range hotel is located around 13 km from Fort Vattakottai and offers amenities such as a swimming pool, restaurant, bar, and free Wi-Fi.
- Hotel Sun World: This budget-friendly hotel is located around 12 km from Fort Vattakottai and offers comfortable rooms with air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, and a restaurant serving Indian and Chinese cuisine.
- Anantya Resorts: This luxury resort is located around 40 km from Fort Vattakottai and offers a range of amenities such as a swimming pool, spa, restaurant, and bar.
- Sea View Restaurant: This restaurant is located around 14 km from Fort Vattakottai and offers delicious seafood dishes along with Indian and Chinese cuisine. The restaurant also offers beautiful views of the Bay of Bengal.
- Hotel Saravana Bhavan: This restaurant is located around 13 km from Fort Vattakottai and offers a range of vegetarian dishes such as dosas, idlis, and thalis.
- Triveni Restaurant: This restaurant is located around 14 km from Fort Vattakottai and offers delicious South Indian dishes such as sambar, rasam, and curries. The restaurant also offers beautiful views of the sea.
- Cape Comorin Seafood Restaurant: This restaurant is located around 14 km from Fort Vattakottai and offers a range of seafood dishes along with Indian and Chinese cuisine. The restaurant also offers beautiful views of the sea.
- The Ocean Restaurant: This restaurant is located around 12 km from Fort Vattakottai and offers a range of seafood dishes along with Indian and Chinese cuisine. The restaurant also offers beautiful views of the sea.
How to Reach
- By Car: One can hire a car or taxi from Kanyakumari, which is about 7 kilometers away from the fort. The drive to the fort takes around 15-20 minutes, and there is ample parking space available near the fort.
- By Bus: Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) operates regular bus services from Kanyakumari to Vattakottai. The buses run every 20-30 minutes, and the journey takes around 30 minutes. The nearest bus stop to the fort is Vattakottai, which is just a few minutes' walk from the fort.
- By Auto Rickshaw: Auto rickshaws are also available from Kanyakumari, and the ride to the fort takes around 15-20 minutes. The fare for an auto rickshaw ride is negotiable, but it's advisable to agree on the fare before starting the journey.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)
Who built the Vattakottai fort?
It was built in the 18th century by Marthanda Pillai for the kings of Travancore.
What are the timings of Vattakottai fort?
The fort remains open from 8am to 5pm all days.
What does Vattakottai stand for?
Vattakottai means ‘circular fort’. It is not circular is shape but provided space to look out for enemies from all sides and corners of it.