Cuddalore is a city which is the headquarters of the Cuddalore District in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Scholars believe the name Cuddalore is derived from Koodalur, meaning confluence in Tamil. While the early history of this district remains unclear, the town first rose to prominence during the reign of Pallavas and Medieval Cholas. After the fall of Cholas, the town was ruled by various dynasties like Pandyas, Vijayanagar Empire, Madurai Nayaks, Thanjavur Nayaks, Thajavur Marathas, Tipu Sultan, French and the British Empire. Cuddalore was the scene of Seven Years' War and the Battle of Cuddalore in 1758 between the French and British.
It has been a part of independent India since 1947. During the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake,it had been subject to a number of foreign powers including the Netherlands, Portugal, France and more recently, the British. In the early 17th century the Dutch obtained permission from the ruler of Cuddalore to build a fort there, but political pressure from their Portuguese rivals forced them to abandon it. Later, the French and English came to Cuddalore for trade and business.
Padaleeswarar Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva, who was also named as Padaleeswarar, is situated in Cuddalore. This temple was built during the medieval Chola and Pallava periods. It is believed that Saivism was adopted by the Saivite saint Appar at this temple.
Sea Port is located at the confluence of Paravanar and Gadilam rivers, which is also known as Cuddalore Port. Various ships anchor in the mid stream at a distance of about 1.6 km from the shore and the cargo is discharged and loaded through lighters.
Fort St. David, located in the town of Cuddalore, was a British Fort. This fort was bought from the Marathas in 1690 by the British East India Company. The fort became the British headquarters for Southern India in 1746, and in 1756, Robert Clive was the governor of Fort St. David.
Silver Beach, in Devanampattinam, is situated in the eastern side of Cuddalore and is visited by a number of travellers. The beach provides tourists an opportunity to indulge in various activities such as horse riding and boating. Moreover, the beach also houses a boat house and a children's play area. It is the second long beach on Coromandel Coast and is considered to be one of the longest sea beaches in Asia.
Natrajar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva Nataraja and Lord Govindaraja Perumal and is spread over 40 acres of land. The temple showcases the Dravidian style of architecture and has beautiful sculptures engraved on the walls. It also has a gopuram, out of which the east gopuram is the oldest. One of the major attractions of the temple is the Hall of Dance. The temple was reconstructed by the Pallava king, Simhavarman.
Pichavaram Mangrove Forest, which is located in Pichavaram in the Cuddalore District, is the second largest Mangrove forest in the world. It is situated around 14 km from Chidambaram and comprises 177 species of birds belonging to 41 families and 15 orders. Tourists can spot local, residents, true migrants and migrant birds in this forest including watersnips, egrets, herons, cormorants, pelicans and others.