SIVAGANGA: A historic castle that served as a safe haven for two iconic chieftain brothers, who gave a clarion call of freedom from British rule over half a century before what is recognised as the First War of Independence, is crumbling into oblivion.
The Shangarapathi castle, dating back to over two centuries, is a picture of neglect in Amaravathipudur on Devakottai-Karaikudi Road, 8km from Karaikudi in Sivaganga district.
Attukadai M Ram, a resident, said, “In the 18th century, Muthuvaduganatha Periya Udaya Devar ruled Sivaganga, and the Marudhu brothers served as generals in his army. The Marudhu brothers—Chinna and Periya—hid inside the castle, which was one of five bastions under their control.” “From their hideout here, they escaped through the secret underground vault to Keezhanilaikottai in Pudukottai.”
Another resident, M Rajkumar, said that freedom fighter Veerapandiya Kattabomman’s brother Umaidurai also used the castle as a hideout. “Its overall structure and stone pillars are unique. The 50-stone pillars are known for their perfect symmetry.”
A grocery shop owner nearby noted that the castle turned into an “illicit bar”. “It is covered in wild vegetation and most parts of the building are damaged,” she said. A senior tourism department official admitted plans to renovate and promote the castle as a tourism site had not materialised.
Perhaps, the Tamil Nadu state administration could take note.