Robert Clive at Kancheepuram Temple

During the years 1690 to 1800 , the Nawabs of the Carnatic (also referred to as the Nawabs of Arcot), ruled the Carnatic region of South India. They  had their capital at Arcot near Vellore  region  in Tamil Nadu . The temple town Kanchipuram was ruled by the Arcot Nawabs  .



Robert Clive  from East India was  serving as a clerk could not digest the  French expansion taking place at different parts of India .He was too upset with the British response to the French onslaught during the Carnatic wars .


He could see the French advancing in the areas around Madras  with the Muslem kings . He was moved and hence  proposed a plan to the governor at Madras to somehow defend  this .  He wished he could somehow  challenge the strong Franco-Indian forces at Trichinopoly by taking a  strike at Arcot, Chanda Sahib’s capital city, with the goal of forcing Chanda Sahib to lift the siege at Trichinopoly.


The plan was brilliant .Though they did not have  enough forces  , Saunders agreed . He commanded the  200 of the 350 British soldiers  to charge under Robert Clives command. Those 200 soldiers and a further 300 sepoys along with artillery  marched towards Arcot from Madras .  It was a tough terrain .



Robert Clive was unwell due to the heat and was severely de hydrated .  They  somehow  reached  Kancheepuram  which was at a distance 68 km from Madras. 

Robert Clive was  completely  dehydrated in the journey  .He was  seriously ill and  the doctors had  given up hope.


The entire army was demotivated with his illness .   Meanwhile at Kancheepuram  ,the temple was busting with festival time .

Many pilgrim’s had camped at the outskirts of the temple seeking Lord’s darshan .  

Robert Clive’s forces were camping near the present day  Ekambareshwara temple  which  was used as military camp.


The Lordships are taken in procession accompanied by huge temple elephants , Nadaswaram ,Kolattam  along with other festive customs  .

 The mood was ecstatic as the crowd were eagerly awaiting for the Lord’s shower of mercy on them . The unusual activities that was happening around was very new to Robert Clive .


 During festivals Lordships arrive to meet the people . Clive summoned his soldiers to brief him about the unusual music and the crowd .

The soldier was overjoyed to praise the Lordships and briefed him about the Emperor of Emperors Lord Vardarajan .


Robert Clive was immersed in his description and the divine pastimes . One soldier braved to meet the Procession priests for the holy water and the sataari for  Clive  to honour them who was unwell .  Being too tired and completely de hydrated he decided to submit to the Lord’s  lotus feet for him to recover after having the holy water  .


The prayers were with utmost faith . Oh Lord! I am new to your place . I have come here on a mission .Please help me in succeeding in   the mission .To everybody’s surprise Clive had completely recovered by next   morning.   Thanking the Lord he marched along with his men to Arcot  .


Clives’s intelligence informed him that the enemy garrison at Arcot was twice the size of his marching forces.   Clive  however decided to proceed to Arcot  which  was  43 km and the troops of Clive, in spite of a delay caused by a tremendous storm of thunder and lighting, reached Arcot  .


The garrison left by Chanda Sahib to defend Arcot, struck with panic at the sudden  arrival of Clives forces .  They at once abandoned the fort, despite their larger number of sepoys  and rushed to safe pastures .  Clive and his forces took over the city and the fort without firing a single shot and  went on to capture Arcot . He was amazed with the unusual events .


A blessing from Lord Varadarajar made the task so simple . He was so much impressed with Lord’s mercy that even without harming a single soldier the war was won .   Being deeply indebted to Lord’s benevolence and mercy in gratitude, he decided that he would present to Lord Varadaraja the most valuable thing he captured from Arkad’s treasury.  Clive while returning went to Lord Vardarajar’s temple and gifted  most famous Arcot  necklace to Lord and told the priests to offer the same to the Lord . This  necklace  Clive makarakandi is  decorated to  the Lord on ceremonial occasions even to this present day .   Later  once ,  on the way to Arkad, Clive stopped in Kanchi to  have Lord’s darshan  He observed the priests  were fanning   Lord Varadaraja  amidst recitation of divine sukthis .


Clive expressed his doubts about the deity feeling hot.  Upon hearing this, the priest fanning the Lord wiped the deity’s face with a small towel and gave it to Clive, who was amazed to find  the wet cloth with divine  fragnance .   He had special regard for the Lord and made it a point to have his darshan whenever he visited Arcot .


Robert Clive later became an ardent devotee of the Lord , an Emperor of Emperors

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan…


Pictures ; COURTESY Google images