Neeleswaram: Around 15 forts once existed in Neeleswaram and surrounding areas, reveals an ancient French book. This fact was discovered by Nandakumar Koroth, a History teacher at Nehru Arts and Science College, Padannakkad who is also a history researcher.
According to Nandakumar, the French work dedicates 13 pages to the Neeleswaram forts. The book, the first translation of ‘Zend Avasta’ in a European language, was written by Abraham Hyacinthe Anquetil-Duperron and deals mainly with the Zoroastrian religion and Persian culture. Now preserved at the national library in the Netherlands, Anquetil-Duperron’s French work was digitalized by Google Books in 2013.
As per the book written by Anquetil-Duperron in 1771 after travelling in various parts of India, the main fort at Neeleswaram was protected by at least 15 other forts. In the north was Kondin Kadavu; at northeast Tirikkunnu; further east were Chathothumala, Veeramala and Neeyakkunnu; and on southwest were Mattalayi and Pallikkunnu. Anquetil-Duperron later saw one more fort at Madhuramkai.
The Onnamkoor king of Neeleswaram had forts at Arayikkara and Madikkayi. Moreover, there was another entrance to Neeleswaram one km north of Madikkayi and Puthukkayi. Anquetil-Duperron also says in the book that he saw a strong fort made of rock which had 11 buildings on both sides of the main gate. The fort had 11 cannons directed to the east, he adds.