Alampara is how the ruins of Alamparai Fort are popularly known. Alamparai Fort lies near Kadappakkam, a village 50 km from Mamallapuram. Kadappakkam is a land that is overlooking the sea. The fort was constructed in the late 17th century. That means it was built from scratch during the Mughal era. There are references to this region in Sangam literature too! This fort also has other names including Idaikazhinadu, Alamparva and Alampuravi. The Alamparai Fort once had a 100-metre long dockyard stretching up right into the sea. This port was famous for the export of zari cloth, salt, and ghee. Back in 1735 AD it was ruled by Nawab Doste Ali Khan. Alamparai Fort has witnessed wars, earthquakes, tsunamis, and the ever-turning tides of imperial power. Years later in 1760 AD when the French were defeated by the British, the fort was captured and destroyed. Over the years, the fort has been through several experiences including the violence of warfare between competing colonial interests and the ravages of nature.
Image courtesy Wikipedia
Recently, the structure of the fort was damaged in 2004 by the Indian Ocean earthquake. Several sections of the fort’s walls have tumbled away from the main structure and are now submerged in the sand of the ocean’s tidal backwaters. The Alamparai fort can be reached by driving down the East Coast Road which is about 100 km from Chennai. To get to the fort, take a turn off the East Coast Road at Kadappakkam, following the faded green signs for Alamparai Fort. The site has a free entry for visitors and opens at all hours. There is absolutely no admission fee, although some locals may attempt to collect a "tourist fee" from unsuspecting visitors. Do not fall into that trap. If you are an animal lover, watch out for wildlife amid the brush. Be wary of snakes though. It is advised to travel with a companion or more people.