(Ezra J. Samuel)

   It is probable that Gatti Mudaliyar of Kaveripuram, from whom Omalur was taken by Dud Deo Raj of Mysore, was identical with the Gatti Mudali mentioned elsewhere as having built the fort of Attur.

    Except for the tradition of the Kalrayan Malaiyali's and the Gatti Mudaliyar legend of Attur Fort, historic interest in the taluk, Which seems to have been but remotely affected by the ebb and flow of South India Politics.

    The name 'Attur' means the 'Village by the river'. It dates from 921 A.D and was known as Milattu Attur, Kutratthu Brahmadheyam Malayaman Attur and Malaiyaman Attur. It came to known as Attur Ananthagiri (Attur of many hills) during the beginning of the Mysore rule in 1689 A.D. in 1760 A.D., it became one of the seventeen divisions of the Baramahal. When ceded to the company in 1792 A.D., it became one of the nine taluks of the Southern Division of the 'Baramahal and Salem'. In 1796 A.D., the name was again changed to Attur.

    The Attur Fort was built by Gatti Muthaliar, a local Chieftain. It is probable that Gatti Muthaliar built it between the years 1559 A.D. and 1585 A.D. According to a traditional story, Gutti Muthaliar was out hunting, and seeing a hare start from a bush, when to examine the spot, where he found the neck of an iron pot protruding. He dug out seven pots full of gold pieces, with which he built the fort.

    The pot is mad of sheet iron 1/16 of an inch and having a convex surface of 15.5 square feet. It is made in two pieces, joined together by iron fish-plates riveted to the upper and lower halves and weighs 383/4 lbs. Its capacity is 53/4 cubic feet and when full it would contain about 1,430,784 pagoda pieces, equal to Rs 50,07,444. The seven pots would, therefore, supposing the story to be true, have contained the equivalent in gold of 3,505,420 pounds.

    The area of the fort is 62 acres of which 18 acres under cultivation.

    The fort is of square one and its circumference is about one mile. The highest point is the flag staff battery in the centre of the south face. The south side is guarded by the river, which when in flood runs some 20 feet deep, and the other faces are Protected by a ditch, which at the south-west angle is always full of water. The outer wall of the ditch is roughly and the river bank strongly, revetted.

    The rampart are of cut stone, well fitted without mortar. Inside are three large and one small bomb-proof chamber, the roofs of the larger magazines being accessible by hidden stairs.

    A large vaulted chamber, occasionally used as a Roman Catholic Chapel, is said to have been the Kacheri of Gatti Muthaliar, and a large building with inner court constructed in the Mauresque Style, is supposed to have been his harem and dwelling place; Behind this a quantity of stone shot weighing one maund each was found.

    On the South face of the ramparts is Gatti Muthaliar's pleasure-house, a roof on pillars with obtuse pointed arches. Near this is a Watergate cunningly built and strongly defended, leading to the river, and on the west face is another leading into the ditch. On the south-west angle is another flag-staff battery. The fort gate is in the centre of the east face.

    The town of Attur lies principally to the south and east of the fort.

    The fort contains the temples of Shiva and vishnu and a Shrine of Muniyappan, the Guardians of the fort.

    The only portion of Salem which can certainly be named as having been annexed during the reign of Dud Deo Raj was Omalur, captured in 1667 A.D. from Gatti Mudaliar of Kaveripuram.

    In 1689 A.D. Attur came into the possession of Chikka Deva Raja of Mysore, by the treaty concluded by 'Lingurajayah with the Aurachu'. It formed part of Hyders dominions till 1768 A.D. when it surrendered to Col.Wood. Hyder presumably regained it, when he wiped out Wood's conquest the same year.

    After the restoration of peace in 1792 A.D., Attur was garrisoned by the 23rd Madras Battalion under the command of Captain Campbell. Under Lord Clive's Scheme of 1799 A.D., it was made an ordinance station and was occupied by a detachment till about 1824 A.D., when it ceased to be a military station.

    Gatti Mudhali Dynasty came to an end and in 1688 A.D. when Chikka Dheva Raja of Mysore killed the last of the dynasty. In this war, a Kadai Clan Vellala Chieftain named, Varanavasi, allied with the Mysore forces.



Mr.Ezra jeba Samuel
Research Assistant,
24(11) Ranjitha Nivas, Hindu Colony,
II Main Road, Ullagaram,
chennai - 600091

Thanks to:
37, Gandhi Nagar
Attur - 636102