|Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire, Midland Masonry|
|Brett,House (castle) Hosur, Tamil nadu en.wikipedia org|
Hosur, a booming border town in Tamil Nadu close to Bangalore is a fast developing industrial hub. In the past, it was strategically and historically occupied an important place by virtue of its geographical location between British India and their sworn- enemy Tipu’s Mysore kingdom. Hosur came under the control of British company after they had defeated Tipu and conquered Hosur twice in 1768 and 1791.
|Hosur city. Maps of India|
|Front view Brett,House (castle) Hosur, Tamil Nadu en.wikipedia org|
Hosur, in the colonial era was the district headquarters of Salem District headed by a Collector Mr. Brett ICS (1855-56). While under the Madras Presidency from 1830 to 1860, the Collector had to stay in this head office. As to origin of a British-styled castle in a God-forsaken area like Hosur, abutting Mysore Princely state, it is said, that the Collector Brett took special efforts to have a nice castle like building constructed in order to accommodate his newly wedded Scottish wife of noble birth and who personally preferred a residence as cosy, commodious and beautiful as the castles in Scotland. Mr. Cornwallis of East India company took charge for ruling this part of the country and he appointed Captain Kaspy as the collector for Hosur. Anyway, Brett got the plan prepared by one Hamilton, architect who was jailed by Tipu Sultan during the war with the British. Brett employed skilled workers to do the construction
work without compromising either on its look or on its construction materials. The chosen site was on the south side of the fort near the moat and the present day Kottai Mariyamman temple. The name ‘Kottai’refers to the fort. Brett asked the Chunum (quicklime) makers to live near the site and preferred quality lime for his project. The near-by hamlet still called the Chunam Jeebi is near the Bangalore main Road. It is said the lime alone cost him Rs. 17.000.00, a huge amount in those days. The work began in 1857 and completed in 1860-61under the supervision of the local revenue officer (Tesildar). The total cost of building the castle was prohibitive.
The paradox is the Scottish Collector could not live in his dream residence specifically built for his loving wife as the Head District office was shifted to near-by Salem town. Mr. Cornwallis, upon hearing about the castle felt that Bret had misused the company’s money for constructing the fort for his wife's personal pleasures and asked him to leave the job. It was a great disappointment for the couple and his wife, died there after her short stay. Her grave is in St John’s cemetery in Bangalore
The Brett residence has a fine tower with a huge hall and elegant windows with strained glass Till 1935 many British sub Collectors used to live here. At one stage it was notified that the building was not safe and the sub-collectors were provided accommodation in the near-by guest house. The present collector's bungalow was built in 1938.
Since the castle happened to be an old building, obviously you will expect some strange and weird stories behind its falling into disuse. One being the Collector of Salem who stayed here in the past shot a large serpent (cobra) dead. Hindus venerate Cobra because of its link with lord Shiva. Since killing a Cobra is a sort of irreverence to the lord, people living near by expected something unusual. Further, the killed Cobra had a special marking on the hood and had lived there for a long time. Coinciding with the belief, the Collector who shot the serpent dead is said to have lost both his limbs. Soon in 1836 the building was sold for a paltry sum of Rs. 2050.00. The new owners dismantled the buildings and sold the expensive wood items, furniture, etc . So, what we left with are remnants of the old castle. The new owners, during excavation work tumbled upon 500 cannon balls, etc, including vast vaults and closed underground chambers of the castle that need to be explored. The subterranean chambers also remain sealed. The Archaeological Department, TN is yet to prepare a detailed report on the ruins of the old castle in Hosur, a reminder of the British legacy. Up to 1980s this place was haunted by anti social and law- breaking people who caused severe damage to the building. The ASI, it is said, has a plan to protect whatever is left of the monument.
01. This is the birth place of a famous politician in the 19th century Sri C. Rajagopala Chari whose ancestral house is here . Rajaji, as he was called, was the first and only Indian Governor-General of India and the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for two terms in the 1930s and 1950s
02. At Ram Nagar there is a Mosque built by Tippu.
03. Records point that during Tipu Sultan’s rule, the Hill Top temple was renovated and maintained well .