Vellore, often referred to as the Fort City of Tamil Nadu, has an illustrious history that includes a harmonic synthesis of rich culture and heritage as well as an enduring legacy of the early Dravidian civilisation. Over several hundred years, this region was dominated by the Pallavas, Cholas, Nayaks, Marathas, Carnatic Nawabs, and Bijapur Sultan Kingdoms, all of which contributed to the region’s growth in various ways.
How to reach Vellore?
If you are flying to Vellore, you can opt for the Tirupati Airport, the closest domestic airport located 120 kilometres away. The nearest international airports are the Chennai International Airport, 130 kilometres away, and the Bengaluru International Airport, 224 kilometres away. Vellore is accessible through taxi service from the neighbouring airports.
All trains leaving Chennai heading west pass via the Katpadi Junction Railway Station on their route to many destinations including Bangalore, Coimbatore, and Trivandrum. Ensure to book your tickets for Katpadi, the station that serves Vellore.
The governmental buses of Tamil Nadu as well as private bus services make it simple and affordable for everybody to visit the city. Several state-owned buses run between 4:00 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. between the Koyambedu Bus Stand (CMBT) in Chennai and the Vellore (new) bus stand. The travel time is close to three hours.
12 best places to visit in Vellore
The historic city of Vellore is positioned to draw an increasing number of visitors as a result of the growing appeal of its attractions, lodgings, and weather for the most part. Find out the most popular Vellore tourist places in this guide.
The Vellore Fort, a massive 16th-century fort located in the centre of Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India, is just 1.5 kilometres from Vellore Town Railway Station. It is considered to be one of the most important historical places in the vicinity of Chennai. Channa Bommi Nayaka and Thimma Reddy Nayaka, who served as Chieftains under the Vijayanagara king Sadashiva Raya, were responsible for the construction of Vellore Fort in the 16th century CE.
In 1768, the British acquired possession of this fort and remained in that role until the country gained its independence. During the time when the British ruled Sri Lanka, members of the family of Tipu Sultan as well as Vikrama Rajasinha, the last monarch of Sri Lanka, were kept as captives in the fort. Massive double walls surround the fort, and enormous bastions extend out in an uneven pattern. It has a massive moat at its entrance, which was once home to ten thousand crocodiles in the past. It is one of the popular places to visit in Vellore that receives the most number of visitors.
The Sripuram Golden Temple, also known as the Sri Lakshmi Narayani Golden Temple, is the largest golden temple in the world, found at the foot of the verdant hills in southern Vellore. The Sri Lakshmi Narayani statue, which weighs 70 kilograms and represents Sri Lakshmi Narayani, the Hindu goddess of riches lives up to its name by being coated with 1500 kg of pure gold. Each and every component of the temple was crafted by hand using gold bars that were transformed into foils. The construction of this temple required around 1.5 tonnes of gold in total.
The entrance to the temple is in the form of a star, and walking down that route allows visitors to feel a sense of calm and serenity as they approach the holy site. The area immediately around the temple is home to a vast park that is covered in verdant vegetation and is home to over 20,000 different types of plants. This area is the most popular destination for tourists. In addition to this, there is an eco-pond known as Sarvatheertham that was made by combining water from the country’s most important rivers.
The Jalakandeswarar Temple is a Hindu temple devoted to Lord Shiva situated in the Vellore Fort. Inside the Vellore Fort, where the temple is located, the Archaeological Survey of India also oversees the St. John’s Church, the Tippu Mahal, the Hyder Mahal, the Candy Mahal, the Badusha Mahal, and the Begum Mahal.
The Jalakandeswarar Temple is a beautiful representation of the architecture of Vijayanagara. The temple’s gopuram (tower), elaborately carved stone pillars, enormous wooden gates, and jaw-dropping monoliths and statues are just some of the impressive architectural details. The Siva Lingam, also known as Jalakandeswarar (which literally translates to “Siva lives in water”), and his spouse, also known as Akilandeswari Amman, are the most important deities in the temple.
Sri Margabandeeswarar Temple
The Virinjipuram Temple, popularly known as Sri Margabandeeswarar Temple, can be found in the Virinjipuram Village, about 14 kilometres outside Vellore City. The temple is adorned with a variety of sculptures, as well as decorative pillars. Chola kings constructed the temple in the 13th century. The Swayambu Lingam, also called Margabandeeswarar, is considered the most important deity in this temple. The Siva Lingam has a very little tilt in the direction of the north-eastern sky.
This temple worships Lord Brahma as Virinjan. As a result of his adoration to Lord Shiva at this location, it was given the name Virinjipuram. Theerthavari, which takes place in Panguni during March and April, Shivratri, which takes place during February and March, and Navaratri, which takes place during September and October, are the three most important festivals that are celebrated in the temple.
The Amirthi Zoological Park, which can be found in the district of Vellore, is split into two sections: the first is intended for visitors, and the second is reserved for a protected area. Thrill seekers can go on a hike here, during which they will have the opportunity to view the waterfalls scattered throughout the forest. It’s possible to see a wide variety of animals and birds in this area. Tourists will find that the park in Tellai, located in the shadow of the Javadi Hills, is an excellent place to spend the weekend. It first opened its doors in 1967 and has since been a popular destination for those looking to enjoy themselves for a whole day.
Wild cats, hedgehogs, tortoises, peacocks, eagles, foxes, mongooses, and red-headed parrots are just a few of the animals that can be found in the forest. There are many more species of animals that live there. It is possible to see monkeys in every crevice and on every limb of the trees. The Amirthi Falls can be found within the park, and there is a pool at the foot of the falls where visitors can enjoy themselves by dipping.
The Cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese, commonly known as Assumption Church, is located close to the Bishop’s House in Vellore, about 2.5 kilometres from Vellore Town Railway Station. The bell tower of this church is claimed to be the tallest bell tower in all of India, and it is the primary draw for visitors to the building.
Beginning in 1604, the Society of Jesus was responsible for spreading Christianity across Vellore. The year 1854 saw the establishment of Vellore as a parish, and the same year saw the construction of the Assumption church. It was under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Madras until 1952 when it was declared that it would become the cathedral of the newly established Diocese of Vellore. The 15th of August is always set aside for this church’s annual feast. In addition, holidays such as Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, and New Year’s are commemorated during services held in churches.
The St John’s Church adheres to the Anglican faith that is frequented the most by the people and is also one that is significant religiously. The church was constructed in 1846, and its interiors retain some of the quaintness of the period.
It is reported that the soldiers who died during the war of the Sepoy Mutiny and whose bodies were found in the establishment of the Church have been buried there. The inscriptions that have been carefully preserved in the Church of St. John provide a glimpse into the past of the Shrine. It is because of this that the specific church in question is considered to be one of the older ones in the city of Vellore. The St John’s Church is known to collaborate with many nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and provides financial assistance to schools and hostels.
Located at a 1-hour distance from Vellore, the Kaigal Water Falls is a picturesque waterfall that can be seen on the Palamaner – Kuppam Highway. The waterfall is completely natural, and the water always flows from the same large rock at the same height of forty feet, regardless of the season. It is located in the middle of a thick forest that is home to a wide variety of birds, bushes, trees, and other kinds of animals. During the celebration of Shivaratri, there is a shivalinga that has been built next to the falls, which draws people from the surrounding villages.
During the monsoon season, both its power and its beauty are heightened. However, the route leading from the highway to the falls is impassable to automobiles at this time. As a result, walking is the most convenient method to get there from the main road. There are no places to stay in the area that are close to the waterfalls. The months of September through December are the most pleasant time to see the waterfalls.
Vainu Bappu Observatory
The Indian Institute of Astrophysics owns and operates the astronomical observatory known as the Vainu Bappu Observatory, which can be found around 77 kilometres away from Vellore. The observatory is located at an elevation 725 metres above sea level.
There have been two discoveries in the solar system that can be attributed to the one-metre telescope in the Vainu Bappu Observatory. In the year 1972, an atmosphere was found surrounding Jupiter’s satellite Ganymede, and in the year 1977, studies were carried out that verified rings had been found around the planet Uranus. 1984 was the year when Kavalur announced the finding of Saturn’s outermost ring, which was quite thin.
Every Saturday throughout the year, the observatory is open to the public for tours. The months of January through May provide the best viewing conditions. The observations are made more difficult during the winter months as a result of fogs, cloudiness, and rain. Because of this, it is recommended to pay a visit to the observatory on a summer Saturday when the sky is clear.
Arcot is a small town which can be reached by travelling a distance of 26 kilometres (km) from Vellore. Arcot is famous for its position on an old trade route that connected Madras and Salem, which today would be equivalent to Chennai and Bangalore. Arcot, once known as Thiruvazhundur, served as the capital of the Nawab of Carnatic and afterwards came under the control of the Cholas, Marathas, Pallavas, Nayaks, and Bijapur Sultans. During this time, it was also the seat of power for the Nayaks.
Nawab Daud Kha erected the enormous Arcot Fort with an 8-kilometre radius around it which was completely destroyed by Tipu Sultan’s assault. Robert Clive was the first British general to take Arcot (1751) during the Franco-British conflict. Arcot has many forts, monuments such as the Delhi Gate, and mosques like the Green Stone Mosque, among others. Tipu Mastan Aulia, a notable Sufi saint from the eighteenth century, is buried at Arcot.
There are two deities worshipped in the Selva Vinayagar Temple: Sri Selva Vinayaga and Sri Somasundareswarar. There are ten additional Swayambhu Vinayagars around Sri Selva Vinayagar. According to urban legend, a Maratha minister by the name of Thukoji was going through this area when the axle of his chariot broke here, forcing him to remain and preventing him from continuing his journey. He prayed to Vigneshwar and then fell asleep. In his dream, Lord Vinayaka revealed that he existed as 11 swayambhu statues organised in the form of an Omkara, buried under the ground, and requested him to unearth them and construct a shrine. Thukoji was overawed and willingly completed the duty. On the rear of the Selva Vinayakar statue, a chariot wheel is seen.
No roof but a flagpole and an idol of Saneeswaran Bhagawan facing Sri Selva Vinayakar adorn the sacred area of the temple. It’s been 75 years since silver was applied to the Selva Vinayagar statue, yet now over a third of the idol is visible, fueling rumours that the idol is expanding in size. Sri Somasundareswarar is housed in a separate shrine right beyond the Selva Vinayagar.
Yelagiri is a hill station in Tamil Nadu that has grown more popular as a vacation spot as a result of the persistent efforts of the state’s tourist board. Yelagiri is recognised for its tranquil atmosphere, which can be found in the Vellore district adjacent to the city of Krishnagiri. Yelagiri is home to a variety of breathtakingly beautiful rose gardens, orchards, and green slopes. It is surrounded by hills on all sides, including the Palamathi hills, the Swamimalai hills, and the Javadi hills.
It has an elevation of 920 metres above the surrounding sea level. Away from the messy and hectic life of the city, it is the ideal location for vacationing amid nature for people of all walks of life, including families, those looking for serenity, couples, and even people who are enthusiastic about adventure travel.
Why is Vellore so popular?
Vellore is recognised as India’s leather capital because of its abundance of tanneries. Many tanneries and leather factories can be found in and around Vellore, as well as in adjacent Ranipet, Ambur, and Vanyambadi. As far as completed leather items go, Vellore is the country’s largest exporter.
When is the most favourable time to visit Vellore?
Vellore, like other cities in our India, sees all four seasons, with the warmest months being between April and June. Winter, from October to March, is the ideal time to visit this Eastern Ghat city, despite the coldest months being January and December.
What is the total amount of gold in the Golden Temple in Vellore?
The temple, which is covered in gold weighing 1,500 kg, has detailed work that was created by experts who specialise in temple art utilising gold. Every single element, down to the smallest detail, was crafted by hand, including the transformation of gold bars into gold foils and the subsequent mounting of the foils on copper.
What is the most popular food in Vellore?
Vellore is well known for its biryani, particularly mutton biryani. This biryani, traditionally served on a coconut tree leaf, is unquestionably a crowd favourite.