Friday, March 26, 2010
a Portuguese two bastioned fort at Arippo
Going due North of Sylvathurai and the new settlements of the Western Coast past some hidden coves where the LTTE used to bring ashore and bury arms until they could be retrieved and transported accross, are signs of new life of small communities, possibly the return of displaced people back to their original villages. In the midst of one was this old abandoned Portuguese Fort, which presumably even the Archeological Department cannot determine if it is worth enclosing and for the moment, preventing from encroachment of settlements.
One would not know what this was unless one alighted and read the board and just wondered what it would have been like in its hayday! I presume there are so many such places with history that have just been covered over, encroached upon and generally forgotten until and unless someone privately tries to publicise the plight and get the authorities involved. I presume this is also due to the lack of funds to fully manage the places of Archeological interest in this country. In America, I know some of these locations are purchased by people who using the site, bring it up to a standard for veiwing then charge a fee and manage to make a living from this, both preserving what remains, and also taking the cost on to themselves while also undoubtedly making it financially viable. We may eventually have no option but to take this course if we are to prevent many of the smaller lesser important sites from completely disappearing, for lack of resources.
This can be called sustainable exploitaiotn of places of interest that increase the leisure choices of a newly liberated populace massivly overcrowding the limited places of interest that are open to the public and therby reduce its attraction, to say nothing of the desecration from over use.
This fort above is a small two bastioned Fort originally built by the Portuguese and then taken over by the Dutch after the battle of Mannar in 1658. It was to this Dutch Fort incidentally that Robert Knox escaped in 1679 after his 20 year captivity in the Kandyan Kingdom. Governer North converted this Fort into a bungalow for his officers supervising the Pearl Fisheries, which later became the Rest House at Arippu.
The tombstone ( see photo below) is of Charles Leys, an employee of the Oriental Banks Corporation, who died of sunstroke at Marichchukaddi on while on a shooting expedition.
This flowers are from the tree I found at this fort and shown earlier in a separate blog entry on 23rd March 2010. So this is where it was photographed and I have still to get confirmation on the type of tree this is.