As we drove down from Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry along the Coromandel Coastline, we passed through a bustling village called Kadapakkam . We almost lost ourselves in the milling crowds and missed the small board that mentioned “ Alamparai.” We asked around , but got no answers. Finally, curiosity got the better of us and we decided to take a detour . The roads however led us into an entire different world – silent and scenic.
There were backwaters on either side with nets and a few boats were bobbing on the waters . We followed the roads until we reached the crumbles of an old fort . A few coconut trees were dotting the landscape , while the entire blue sea stretched out in front of us .
A rusty ASI board gave us some information. We were at the 17th century Alamparai fort also called Alampara. Built during the Mughal era , it was ruled by the Nawab of Carnatic and was later on gifted to the French for their support. The British eventually destroyed the fort and the dockyard which was more than 100 metres long.
We read that Alamparai, was the ancient land of Idaikazhunadu, mentioned in the literary work, Siruppanatruppadai. The sea port was used for trade by the Arcot Nawabs and zari , salt and ghee were exported from here. Coins were minted from here as well and later on the mint was shifted to neighbouring Pondicherry. The mint built on a highway near Alamparai here even housed a Shiva temple, a “choultry “ or a hall and a pond and was built for the benefit of the travelers coming down this route towards Rameshwaram.
We finally met some fishermen who took us on a boat ride in the waters. We asked them about the choultry and the temple, but they instead told us about film crew who came here to shoot. It was hot , but the salts of the sea beckoned us as we bid farewell to them and drove on towards Pondicherry.