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Tourist Places To Visit In Vellore
Vellore, an integral part of the ancient Thondaimandalam region that comprised of the southern borders of Andhra Pradesh and the northern parts of Tamil Nadu, has a rich chronological heritage, having been ruled by the regal Pallavas, Medieval Cholas, the Vijayanagara Empire, Rashtrakutas, the Nawabs of Carnatic and the British.
The town on the banks of the Palar played a dominant role in the Vellore Mutiny of 1806, the Siege of Vellore during the Second Anglo-Mysore War and the victories of Robert Clive that paved the way for the British expansion into more territories. With its imposing forts and memorials, the city still pays tribute to the soldiers that laid down their lives for the country. Vellore and the towns around the city are also renowned for its splendid temples that were built by the ancient ruling dynasties. Here are some awesome tourist place you can visit in Vellore.
The Vellore Fort was built around the 16th century by Bommu Nayakar, a subordinate ruler under the Vijayanagara Empire. Used as a military garrison by the British by 1760, the Fort was the venue for the Sepoy Kalagam or Vellore Mutiny of 1806 that predated the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857.
At the time of the British rule, the families of Tipu Sultan and King Vikrama Rajasinha, the last king of Sri Lanka were held prisoners in the Fort. The Vellore Fort remains to this day, one of the world’s best military garrisons ever built. Built of granite and spread over an area of 133 acres, the Fort is an awesome stronghold of stonework, that stands majestic and regal along the moat over the Palar River that once swarmed with crocodiles.
The Fort has a temple, mosque and a church within its precincts along with tombs for King Vikrama Rajasinha and Tipu Sultan’s family members.
The Jalakandeshwara Temple for Shiva is a classic example of the Vijayanagara style of architecture. Legends say that the very spot where the shrine is now located, had a giant anthill surrounded by a puddle of water. Bommi Nayaka, the Vijayanagara chief had a dream in which he found a Shiva Lingam submerged in the water and Shiva ordering him to build a temple. Bommi Nayaka demolished the anthill and installed the Shiva Lingam in the puddle and proceeded to build a beautiful temple for the Lord. Since the Shiva Limgam sits on water, Shiva was named Jala (water) kandeshwara.
Check out the exquisite carvings on the pillars and the gopura that is over 100 ft in height as well as the clay lamp behind the Nandhi statue that is said to revolve when people place their hands on it, signifying that their prayers are answered.
The Jalakandeshwara Temple is inside the Vellore Fort.
Margabandeshwara Shiva temple is a 13th century temple built by the Cholas, with later additions by the Vijayanagara rulers. It is said that Brahma as Virinjan worshipped Shiva here as a little boy and prayed that he be allowed to see the top of the Lingam and Shiva tilted his head to oblige the lad. The Shiva Lingam is a suyambhu that leans lightly in the north eastern direction. The temple is grand in its architectural style with ornately fashioned pillars and gopuras. Check out the roof of the shrine that is decorated with rudrakshas and the Simha Tirtha with its elaborate lion sculptures.
Margabandeshwara Temple is in Virinjipuram, about 13 km from the Vellore railway station. The temple is open from 6.00 am – 11.am and from 4.00 pm – 8.00 pm.
State Government Museum
The State Government Museum established in 1985, has a vast repertoire of information as well as artefacts of the wildlife, history and culture of North Arcot. It would be interesting if you would visit the Museum first thing, so you could glean a lot of information about the city you are visiting. The Museum has eight galleries that includes photographic displays, stone sculptures, prehistoric weapons and tools, ancient art works and coins, preserved specimens of flora and fauna as well as huge 18th century cannons unearthed from the Vellore Fort.
The Government Museum is located in the Vellore Fort and is open from 9.00 am – 12.00 pm and from 2.00 pm – 5.00 pm.
Queen Mary Clock Tower
Queen Mary Clock Tower was erected in 1920, to mark the coronation of His Majesty King George V and Queen Mary. There is a plaque at the eastern side of the Clock Tower that marks the memory of 227 men from the village of Vellore, who participated in the First World War between 1914 and 1918, of which 14 men lost their lives.
Queen Mary Clock Tower is in front of the Nethaji Market, another heritage building which was constructed in 1868, with more than a hundred stalls and public fountains. The vegetable market was named Nethaji Market in 1942, after Nethaji Subhas Chandra Bose formed the Indian National Army.
Kangeyanallur Subrahmanya Temple
The 500 year old Subrahmanya Temple at Kangeyanallur is a grand shrine dedicated to Muruga and his consorts Valli and Devayanai. The temple has hymns sung in praise of Subrahmanya by Arunagirinadhar and Sri Kripananda Variyar, one of the greatest exponents of Tamil literature. Kripananda Variyar and his father Mallaiyadas Bhagavathar had contributed to renovations done to the temple tower. Opposite the Subrahmanya Temple is the Deivathirumuruga Kripanandha Variyar Swamigal Thirukovil or the Samadhi temple to Kripanandha Variyar. The temple for Subrahmanya as well as the Samadhi to Variyar Swamigal is a picture of serenity and quietude.
Kangeyanallur, known as the village of festivals, is a quaint little town sitting on the banks of the Palar River and is about 6 km from Vellore.
History buffs would find this place remarkable. All that remains of the Arcot Fort, is but a gate called the Delhi Gate, named so to inspire the later occupation of Delhi. The mute remains are a part of historical legacy where a number of battles like the Siege of Arcot between the Nawabs of Carnatic and Robert Clive and the Battle of Arcot were fought. The Fort was built by Doud Khan Panni, a Mughal Governor in early 18th century and was later used by Robert Clive as a garrison. The fortifications were destroyed by Tipu Sultan in 1783, but the Gate still stands, along with the Jama Masjid and the tomb of Sadatullah Khan I. Over the Delhi gate are small rooms said to have been used by Robert Clive. There are wide steps that lead up to the room. Little broken down walls remain, sheltered by the wild undergrowth.
Delhi Gate is near Ranipet, about 25 km from Vellore.
Sripuram Golden Temple
Nestled at the foothills of the Kailasagiri hills, the Sripuram Narayani Golden Temple for Lakshmi is an amazing splendour of architecture carved out of 1,500 kg of pure gold foils laid out in layers and mounted on stamped copper plates. The temple was constructed over a period of 7 years by the Sri Narayani Peeth, headed by spiritual leader Narayani Amma.
Check out the charming landscaped park near the temple and the Sarvathirtham that has the waters of all the major rivers of the country added into. Walk along the Star shaped pathway, which is said to fill one with a divine energy. On the eastern side of the Star Path is the Sahasra Deepa Mandap where Gho puja and Lakshmi manthras are chanted daily and pilgrims can participate in. The Sahasra Deepa is an 18 ft high bronze lamp layered into 9 levels.
The Sripuram Golden Temple is at Thirumalaikodi, about 7 km from Vellore.
The Vellore Fort Mosque is one of the most significant tourist attractions in the Fort. Built by Nawab Chanda Sahib, who was the Dewan and later the Nawab of the Carnatic in 1750, the impressive mosque has been built in Indo Saracenic style of architecture plastered with brick and lime. The rectangular shaped mosque has a dome with minarets in the centre and is decorated with beautiful floral patterns. A long flight of steps lead up to the prayer hall that remains shut at all times. The Fort Mosque does not hold prayers and the gates are closed. But you could walk around the ancient mosque when you visit the Vellore Fort.
St. John's Church
This is one of the oldest churches in Vellore Diocese, built in 1846 for the officers of the British East India Company of the Madras Regiment and the natives as well. Built in a charming British Gothic style of architecture, the church has simple interiors that still lives in the memory of the history behind its construction. Check out the cemetery of the soldiers who died in the Vellore wars of 1806.
The Church is under the care of the Archaeological Society of India at present and is open for daily prayers. St. John’s Church is in the Vellore Fort.