About Athirappilly

The tradition that Col Arthur Wellesley, later to be the Duke of Wellington, leading a British detachment from Vandiperiyar to Bodinayakanur, then over the High Range and into the Coimbatore plains to cut off Tippu Sultan's retreat from Travancore, was the first Englishman in the High Range appears to be belied by the dates involved. If the story is a dozen years too early for Wellesley, it is quite possible that some other officer in General Meadow's Army may have had that distinction. Unfortunately, no record of that pioneering mountain crossing has been traced. What is available is a record of the surveying of this terrain in 1816-17 by Lt Benjamin Swayne Ward, son of Col Francis Swayne Ward to whom we owe many of the early views of Madras and South India Now available in lithprints.

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