An ancient city in the northeastern part of Tamil Nadu, Vellore is located on the banks of river Palar Vellore. Nicknamed ‘The Fort City’ due to the marvellous Vellore Fort which sits at the heart of Vellore city, it is an ideal place to glimpse Tamil Nadu’s rich cultural heritage through its temples.
Contributing for 37% of the country’s total leather export, Vellore is primarily known for two premier institutions, Christain Medical College and Vellore Institute of Technology. Apart from this, the city is known for the Ratnagiri Temple and Roman Catholic Diocese.
Vellore has been ruled by different dynasties such as the Pallavas, the Cholas, the Vijayanagara, the Rashtrakuta, the Carnatic and the British who each left their distinguishing marks prevalent in the rich architecture. A legend says that the region where the city now stands was once upon a time surrounded by Velan (Babul) Trees giving the place the name Vellore. With the numerous developments that the city of Vellore is seeing, it is on its way to becoming one of the Smart Cities of India.
Places to Visit
The Vellore Fort which is said to have been built during Channa Bommi Nayaka and Thimma Reddy Nayaka in the 15th century and happens to be one of the best examples of military architecture in South India. These two who built Vellore fort were Chieftains under Sadashiva Raya who was the ruler of Vijayanagara at that time. It is one of the most massive forts built during its time and is considered as one of the unique forts in India. It is spread over an area of more than 500 meters, situated at an altitude of 220m. Located right in the centre of the city, it has a giant moat at its entrance, where 10,000 crocodiles used to swim earlier.
Located inside the Vellore Fort, this ancient temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Being one of the attractions of the Vellore Fort, Jalakandeswarar Temple stands out as a mark of excellence of Vijayanagara Architecture.
The temple tower has intricate carvings on it, and some richly styled stone pillars support the temple structure. The tower is measured to be around 100 feet in height with a Mandapam that is supported by pillars carved in shapes of mythological creatures such as dragons, horses and yalis.
A legend says that the place which is now the main chamber of the temple once had an ant-hill surrounded by stagnant rainwater and had a Shiva Linga placed near it before the temple was built. Chieftain Chinna Bommi Nayaka who controlled the fort had a vision in his dream and constructed the Temple after demolishing the ant-hill. The Fort is said to have served as an arsenal for 400 years until it was mutilated in the Muslim invasion.
St. John’s Church is one of the oldest churches in the Vellore Diocese which follows the Anglican tradition. Located in the heart of the city in Vellore and within the campus of Vellore Fort, it is a church that is most visited by the locals and also one of religious significance. Built-in 1846, the interiors of the church has a touch of charm to it. At present, the majority of the church is in association with the Christian Medical College & Hospital. The church also works with several NGOs and supports schools and hostels.
This beautiful church is located at a distance of about 1.5 kms from the Vellore Railway station, which is situated in the fort of Vellore. The St. John’s Church is said to have begun in 1846, by Reform Church of America, goes by the name, RCA. The church was relocated from FilterBed Road to its at-times location. It is said that the Soldiers who lost their lives amid the war of Sepoy Mutiny have been buried in the establishment of the Church. The history of the Shrine is depicted through the inscriptions safeguarded in the Church of St. John. And hence, this particular church is said to be one of the oldest ones in the city of Vellore.
Archeological Survey Of India Museum
The Archeological Survey of India Museum is neighbouring to the Fort of Vellore. This museum exhibits various kinds of ancient stones, as old as 1000 years, Statues, stone carvings, coins and exhibits that enlighten us about history. Few of the sculptures are said to exist from the 8th century. The museum takes a minimum of 2 hours to stroll around and experience the rich history.
The Sripuram Golden Temple
The Sripuram Golden Temple is a sight to behold, and it is situated in Tirumalaikodi at Southern Vellore, Tamil Nadu. The golden temple sits inside a spiritual park or ‘Spiritual Oasis’, and a star path leads the visitors towards it. The main feature of the temple has to be that it is covered in real gold foil and it is regarded as the biggest and the only temple to do that. The inauguration took place on 24th August 2007, and it was inaugurated by Narayani Amma. The chief deity of the temple is Sri Lakshmi Narayani or Maha Lakshmi, who is the Goddess of wealth in Hinduism. Sashasra Deepam or one thousand eight lamps is a ceremony that is performed in the temple every morning and in the evening. Pilgrims enjoy the beautiful natural park when they visit the temple. The best time to visit the temple is every day as the body decided to keep it open 365 days in a year.
Periyar Park centrally located in the city of Vellore is a spot frequently visited by both locals and tourists. It is a park with state-of-the-art facilities for joggers, family picnics and other pastimes. This place is best known for its vibrant green matting all over and the different species of birds here. The park has an entirely separate section for birds; it features a 1-kilometre long path for charming promenades, attractive benches, a roller-skating area, fully-functioning toilets and a children’s play area with battery-powered cars and motorcycles. Periyar Park ensures the enjoyment of people of all ages.
Virinjipuram Temple, which is popularly known as Sri Margabandeeswarar Temple, is located about 14 kilometres away from Vellore City, in Virinjipuram Village. Situated in the state of Tamil Nadu on the southern bank of Palar River, the temple owes the beautiful artistic stonework on its walls and its palatial Dravidian architecture to the rulers of Chola Dynasty.
The Mulavar or the primary deity of the temple is Lord Shiva in the form of a lingam. Although pilgrims from all over India visit Virinjipuram Temple throughout the year, during the three ten-days celebrations of Theerthavari, Shivratri and Navarathri, the vitality of the Temple is at its utmost and the festivities are a sight to behold. The temple also houses other deities who are worshipped by the devotees including Maragadambhikai, Ganapathy and Lord Brahma, also known as Virinjan, in the form of a child.
Palamathi Hills also known as Balamathi Hills is an area belonging to the Eastern Ghats, which come under the location of Vellore, Tamil Nadu. Palamathi Hills consisting of the Otteri Lake and Palamathi Reserve Forest is a vantage point of the most breathtaking views in the region, isolated from pollution and the hustle-bustle of the main city area. The best time to visit Palamathi Hills is during the period of October to March for an experience accompanied by pleasant weather.
With exquisite indigenous species of animals and birds, including lush greenery, Palamathi Hills is the ideal place to visit for nature lovers. One may enjoy various exciting recreational activities at this site such as adventurous treks, relaxing promenades, photography, delightful picnics, scenic boat rides, bird-watching, and admiring the most beautiful of sunsets. Visit Palamathi Hills for the ultimate experience that is raved about by tourists and locals in the region.
Situated in the district of Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh, the Kaigal fall is nestled amidst the Koundinya Wildlife sanctuary. The Kaigal waterfall derives its name from the village Kaigal that surrounds it. Locally known as Dumukurallu waterfalls ( a Telugu word used for a sound resembling the sound of falling stones from above), Kaigal falls are perennial. The waterfall is subdivided into three cascading falls and water falls from a height of approximately 40 ft. The water forms several small pools at the bottom.
Tipu & Hyder Mahal
Tipu Mahal and Hyder Mahal are two separate castles inside the premises of the Vellore Fort which is located in Vellore city of Tamil Nadu. Although the Vijayanagara Kings built the Vellore Fort and all the other buildings inside it in the 16th Century, Tipu Mahal and Hyder Mahal are known by the names of Tipu Sultan and Hyder Ali who ruled over Mysore in the 18th Century. Both the palaces have undergone decades of climate change and pollution and are currently being looked after by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Must Try Food in Vellore
1. The Vellore Kitchen
2. Hundreds Heritage
3. Amma Biryani Centre
4. Hart Lounge
5. Earth Plate
6. Tara Maa Restaurant
7. Robo Multi Cuisine Restaurant
8. Sai Suprabaatham Hotel
9. Southern Masala
10. Hotel Lalit Vihar
How To Get Here
The Airport of Vellore is located in Abdullapuram connecting almost all the major cities in the country.
Various National Highways passing through the city of Vellore, which connects most of the cities to Tamil Nadu. Bus services: Town Bus Terminus and Central Bus Terminus are connecting all the major towns and cities.
The three major junctions in the city are -Katpadi junction, Vellore Cantonment and Vellore Town. These junctions connect over 150 cities around the country.