Sunday, July 26, 2009

Forgotten gate

We normally keep complaining about how progress and modernisation has stripped away nature and greenery in the cities. But here's one example of how progress has rendered a certain highway obsolete and turned it back to a quiet path shaded by lots of green.

Today's Fort St George sees a tremendous amount of activity on its eastern side, with the secretariat, the Fort Museum and other offices being accessed from what were once upon a time the North and South Sea Gates. In the olden days, however, these gates were the minor entrances; even the long eastern wall of the Fort is not as thick as the ones on the other four sides. At the apex of this pentagon was St George's bastion, with walls thick enough to house a eating-place inside them. St George's bastion is flanked by the St George's Ravelin on the north and the Wallajah Ravelin on the south; the gates are also named after the ravelins. Wallajah Gate can still directly access Mount Road, as it has always been doing. St George's Gate - the most important one in those days, because it led directly out towards Poonamallee and the Nayaks - is today little used because the direct road has been cut off by railway tracks; even if you want to walk in that way, there are policemen who have instructions not to let anyone come in this way!

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