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View of Dindigul with an English officer and an Indian in the foreground

View of Dindigul with an English officer and an Indian in the foreground

Artist: unknown

Medium: Watercolour

Date: 1790

Shelfmark: WD640

Item number: 640

Length: 20

Width: 23.8

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Painting

Water-colour painting of Dindigul with an English officer, perhaps MacKenzie, and an Indian in the foreground. Inscribed on the front in ink is: 'View of Dindigul (?) 1790.'. This image is from the MacKenzie Collection.

The rock fort at Dindigul occupies a commanding position 85 metres (280 feet) above the surrounding plain. It was strategically important due to its location at the head of the passes between Madurai and Coimbatore and has been fiercely contested by several ruling powers. The fort figured prominently in the military operations of the Mahrattas in the 17th and 18th centuries and was taken by the ruler of Mysore, Haider Ali in 1755. It was captured by the British three times (1767,1783 and 1790) and was ceded to the East India Company in 1792. The Nayakas of Madurai accomplished the first series of fortifications in the 17th century when the outer and inner gateways were constructed. To increase its’ defensive capabilities the fort also had parapets pierced by embrasures for cannon while the entrance gateway was protected by a robust barbican within which was a long passage and a right-angled turn. As a defensive work the fort must have been quite formidable.

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