Distance from Kanyakumari: 34 km
Distance from Nagercoil: 14 km
Distance from Thiruvananthapuram: 55 km
Location: On the Nagercoil-Thiruvananthapuram Highway at Pullioorkurichi
Ticket: Rs 3
How to Reach: As you approach Thiruvananthapuram by the highway, at a place called Pullioorkurichi you’ll find a church on the main road. A narrow road branches out on the side of the church. Take the one towards right and continue till you hit a huge stone gate on the right. This is the Udayagiri Fort for you.
Udayagiri Fort in Brief
It would not be wrong to say that the value of Udayagiri fort as a tourist attraction has been diminished by the presence of the more famous Padmanabhapuram Palace, barely two km away. If you ask the locals for direction it is highly likely that they would redirect you to the Padmanabhapuram Palace.
The Udayagiri fort should not be confused with the fort of the same name located at Udayagiri Village in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh.
The fort was in a neglected state for many years till district administration took notice. A bio-diversity park is now established inside the fort. Tourists can now enjoy the sight of deer, ducks, fountains, birds along with more than 100 kinds of landscaped trees.
Recently the Archeology department has discovered a secret tunnel within the fort. The fort is worth a visit especially for history and nature aficionados.
Strategically located Udayagiri Fort was used as a military station by the erstwhile rulers of Travancore when Padmanabhapuram was their residence. A foundry was established inside the forts for manufacturing guns, cannon balls and mortars under the aegis of the famous Flemish Captain Eustace De Lennoy.
It was in this fort that prisoners captured during the fight against Tipu Sultan ware kept here. During the Company’s rule troops of East India Company used this fort as barracks till middle of the 19 Century.
The Udayagiri Fort built over an area of 90 acres is made using massive granite blocks. The fort really came to prominence during the reign of Marthanda Varma, the famous Venad King in the period 1741-44. When in the famous battle of Colachel Captain De Lennoy was captured with 24 other European prisoners he was pardoned by the king and entrusted with the charge of modernizing the Travancore Army.
The captured officer remained loyal to the King and served him faithfully for 37 years. With D’Lannoy’s extensive knowledge of modern warfare, King Marthanda Varma extended his kingdom further north to Kuriyapalli.
So much was the contribution of General De Lannoy that the fort came to be known as `Dillannai Kottai’ or fort of De Lannoy. At Udayagiri, De Lannoy stayed with his family till he died. Inside the fort premises lies buried the body of De Lannoy, his wife and son. There is also a chapel built around the grave. At his tomb a stone cross stands with inscription in both Tamil and Latin that reads:
“Stand, Traveller, and behold! For here lies Captain Delannoy, who served Maharaja Marthanda Varma and Travancore faithfully for three decades”
The sorry state of affairs has led to the decay of the tombs and the area around it. It is now out of bound for the visitors.