Sadras is a sleepy little town near Kalpakkam. Not many know that this nondescript place used to a flourishing trading port in the 1600s. Sadras was a Dutch port and trading settlement after they obtained it from the Nawab of Carnatic in 1612 AD.
A factory to produce and trade muslin cloth and other fineries were established by the Dutch East India Company and the centre flourished till the Anglo-Dutch was which culminated in the defeat of the Dutch and their subsequent ouster from India. The fort was destroyed in heavy bombardment and remained forgotten for almost a century and a half till it came under the protection of ASI.
Our visit to Sadras was a result of the sudden discovery that there lied a fort within 5 km of our college and we never knew about it! So one fine evening we decided to have a dekko at the monument. We reached the place by 4 PM after much-asking routes from the local people, and yes it actually existed! We could see a square complex surrounded by still standing brick walls and two cannons at the gate. As we went inside, we were greeted by a lone watchman who turned out to be very friendly. He showed us around, to the officer quarters, the granaries, the kitchen and even the dance hall where the Dutch officers used to hold their evening parties. Most important of all, we got to see a cemetery of extremely well-preserved graves dating the 17th century of the officers and soldiers of Dutch East India Company. The tombstones are beautifully carved and some of them are present with the coat of arms, denoting Aristocracy. It feels weird to think about those Dutchmen buried there, so away from home, and perhaps forgotten. A part of Nederland’s still exists here in the rustic Tamil Nadu!