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Things To Do In Vellore
Vellore is not merely a city that is diverse in its historical and spiritual legacies, but is also endowed with a natural landscape that is as interesting and touristy as it comes. Not far away from the city are hill stations and wild mountain peaks, waterfalls and beautiful lakes that promise a pleasant parcel of adventure, if you would love a peaceful hike through the wooded hills, soaking under a waterfall or just exploring the countryside.
Vellore is a trendy place for shopaholics and the cuisine of the regions around Vellore is renowned for its varieties and flavours, and here's our list f things to do here.
Vellore is encircled by clutches of hills big and small, rocky and green. Some of the hills have motorable roads and you can have a short day’s getaway riding a motorbike or trekking up the hills. The Palamathi Hills for instance, that is a wing of the Eastern Ghats has a Subrahmanya temple on the peak and provides a good view of Vellore city on the plains. The Chenganatham hills at an elevation of 500 m, is just at the fringes of Vellore. This is one of the most sought after exercise and adventure zone for the people of Vellore. The hills perk up at sunrise with dozens of enthusiasts clambering up the hill for exercise, riding up a bicycle or jogging along the curved roads.
The enchanting Jawadhu Hills of the Eastern Ghats have a number of touristy adventures to offer. You can go trekking along the lush forested wild paths, bathe under the Beema Falls, or go on a boat ride across the Komutteri Lake. Check out the Kavalur Observatory, located so strategically at a vantage point where the southern and northern hemispheres can be observed. The Amirthi Zoological Park with its lonely pathways, rippling streams gushing through the pebbled river beds and a waterfall here and there, is a good place for trekking and photography. There is a mini zoo you can visit and a wild ruggedness you might enjoy. The Jawadhu Hills are about 85 km from Vellore.
Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary
If you would like to go on a camera toting excursion into the wild jungles, visit the Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary which is primarily an elephant reserve, but has sloth bears, deer, jungle fowl, wild boars and birds as well. The Sanctuary has no trekking routes and animals are rare to spot, but it’s a great place for photography as you drive through the greenery. The Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary is in Andhra Pradesh, about 58 km from Vellore.
Go for a long drive from the plains of Vellore to the beautiful little hill station of Yelagiri, just about 93 km away. Visit the temple atop the highest peak of the Swamimalai hill or just stop over at the misty View Points for a panoramic view of the undulating emerald green mountain slopes stretched out as far as eyes could see. If you are interested in adventure sports, try paragliding in Yelagiri. And don’t miss out on the tea, spices, chocolates and the fruits.
Ratnagiri Subrahmanya Temple
True to the popular adage that every hillock has a temple for Subrahmanya, the Ratnagiri hill has a most charming temple for Muruga. Built in the 14th century and praised in the hymns of saint Arunagirinadhar, the Ratnagiri Muruga Temple is one of the major temples of Vellore. The temple has steps to climb up as well as a motorable road for vehicles to drive up.
Pots of Karigiri
The Karigiri china clay pots are called the magic pots of Arcot, made especially for the Nawabs of Arcot long ago. The Karigiri pot is flipped upside down and filled with water through holes at the bottom. When the pot is held upright, it doesn’t drip through the bottom as it should. But rather, the pot is tilted and the water flows out through the spout at the top, just as any other good old pot would. Visit the village of Karigiri that’s about 15 km from Vellore, to learn more about this traditional art of pot making.
If you are visiting Arcot, check out the original leather goods Arcot is renowned for. You could buy branded leather bags, wallets, belts and shoes but be prepared to bargain. Buy the bamboo products and mats of Wallajah, red and black earthenware pots at Vellore and water jugs, ashtrays, teapot sets and flower vases made of China clay. About 35 km away from Vellore in the neighbouring Thiruvannamalai district is the town of Arni that is renowned for its soft, lustrous and lightweight silk saris that are woven with mulberry silk.
Every district in Tamil Nadu has a special cuisine that is more or less tagged after the city it came from. Ambur for example, is famous for its Biryani that came right from the Nawab’s kitchens and the delicious Makkan Pedha stuffed to bursting with nuts, a recipe that has been around since the time of the Mughal rule in Arcot. Some of Vellore's other specialities are Meen Kozhambhu or fish in gravy and Chicken Varuval.
The cuisine of Vellore it seems, is as historical and regal as the city of forts.