I am a marketing professional holding a postgraduate degree in management. I live in Chennai and have traveled extensively in Tamil Nadu.
Vellore is the district headquarters in North Tamil Nadu. It is on the Chennai–Bengaluru highway and is an important trading center for the neighboring villages. Vellore is also one of the preferred destinations for medical and management education in India. The Christian Medical College (CMC) and the Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) are the two famous institutes in the city.
The Top Places to Visit in Vellore
- Golden Temple, Sripuram
- Vellore Fort
- St. John's Church
- Jalakandeswarar Temple
- Periyar Park
- Amirthi Zoological Park
- Javadi Hills
- Vainu Bappu Observatory, Kavalur
- Arcot Fort
- Assumption Cathedral
1. Golden Temple, Sripuram
The Golden Temple at Vellore should not be mistaken for the famous Golden Temple at Amritsar in the state of Punjab. The Golden Temple at Sripuram is an impressive and majestic temple thronged by thousands of pilgrims from all over India every day.
The temple was consecrated in 2007 and is dedicated to Sri Lakshmi Narayani, the Goddess of wealth. The Vimanam and Ardha Mandapam in the temple are covered with pure gold, attracting pilgrims in large numbers.
2. Vellore Fort
This is the most famous and iconic landmark in Vellore. It was built by the Vijayanagara kings in the 16th century. The fort changed hands several times before India attained independence in 1947. Bijapur sultan, Marathas, Mughals and Britishers were some other rulers.
The fort has an impressive façade with grand ramparts and a wide moat that once housed crocodiles to scare off invaders. Vellore Fort witnessed the first Sepoy Mutiny in India in 1807 when the soldiers of Indian origin revolted against the British. Vellore Fort was used as a prison by Britishers to keep prisoners of war. The graves of Vijayanagara kings and Sri Vikrama Rajasinha, the last Sri Lankan monarch, can be seen inside the fort premises.
3. St. John's Church
This church was built by Britishers in 1846 inside the fort premises. It is an important colonial-era building in Vellore. The church was never consecrated in the British period, but today, it is a very influential body in India and is closely associated with the Christian Medical College (CMC).
There is a mosque inside the fort, constructed by an Arcot Nawab ruler. The mosque is not open for worship. Vellore Fort has the unique distinction of housing a temple, a church and a mosque within its premises.
4. Jalakandeswarar Temple
This is the oldest place of worship within the Vellore Fort. Jalakandeswarar Temple was constructed in the 16th century during the Vijayanagara period. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is a fine example of Vijayanagara architecture.
People believe that a giant ant-hill was originally located here and that the Vijayanagara rulers built the temple after removing it. This temple has stood the test of time hostility over the centuries.
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5. Periyar Park
Periyar Park is a recent addition to the city's many attractions. Its lush, leafy cover provides a wonderful space to relax in nature. It also has a section for birds where one can see ostriches, ducks, white pigeons, swans and more. It has many attractions for children, including battery-operated bike rides and a separate path for roller skating.
6. Amirthi Zoological Park
Amirthi Zoological Park is located near Vellore city at a distance of 25 km. The zoo is right next to a wildlife sanctuary. A seasonal waterfall greets the visitors inside the park. There is a range of animals at the park, including spotted deer, mongoose, tortoises, peacocks, crocodiles, and pythons.
For anyone looking for a genuine connection with nature, this is the place.
7. Javadi Hills
Javadi hills, also known as Jawadhu hills, are the rain-bearing mountains for the North Tamil Nadu region. This pristine mountain range has not been exploited by the tourism industry yet. There are no hotels or resorts available, but it is the perfect place for a short picnic.
The main attraction is the Beemanmadavu waterfalls in the hills. Tourists can bathe in the waterfalls or the pool beneath it. There are also streams on the way dotted with greenery and blessed with clean air. It is a favorite destination for trekking enthusiasts.
8. Vainu Bappu Observatory
A Britisher, William Petrie, set up a private observatory in his Chennai home in 1786. This was known as Madras Observatory, but this had to be moved to Kodaikanal in 1899 in search of darker skies. By 1960, even Kodaikanal was facing light-pollution issues, being a hill station, so the observatory had to be shifted to Kavalur, where the first observations were made in 1968.
The Kavalur Observatory is named after Vainu Bappu, who as director of Kodaikanal Observatory moved it to the present location. They have a 1-meter telescope for advanced scientific observations, and a 25-cm telescope can be used by the public at designated times. As of now, they have suspended the visitor program. Hopefully it will resume once the pandemic subsides.
9. Arcot Fort
Arcot Fort was built in the 17th century and was at the center of many battles involving Marathas, Moghuls, French and British forces. It was Robert Clive who was involved in the famous battle of Arcot defeating the French forces. This marked the beginning of British rule in India.
A gate was constructed by Britishers in 1751 to mark their victory in the battle of Arcot. This came to be known as Delhi Gate, since the Britishers subsequently conquered the whole of India. Arcot was their gateway to the Indian empire.
10. Assumption Cathedral
The Assumption Church was first built in 1854, and it was part of Diocese of Vellore. Assumption Cathedral, as it looks today, was consecrated in 2002 in place of the earlier cathedral. It is refreshingly different from the colonial-era churches seen elsewhere in India.
Travel and Stay in Vellore
Vellore is well connected by air, rail and bus routes from other parts of the country. It is within 3 hours of Chennai by car. There are many good hotels in Vellore; Fortune Park, Regency Sameera Vellore by GRT Hotels and Poppys Anukala Residency are stay options worth considering.
© 2021 Mohan Babu