TOURISM IN VELLORE
Vellore Fort is located in the heart of Vellore City at a distance of 10km from Vellore Katpadi Railway station. It is one of the main tourism places in Vellore. Initially constructed by Bommi Reddy and Thimma Reddy during the mid of 16th century, it was later captured by various rulers. Lastly, British took control of the fort in 1768 until independence. Now it is being preserved by the Archaeology Department of India.
The fort boasts of an exemplary architecture as it was constructed with granites and rock. It spreads over an area of 133 acres. The fort is surrounded by a big moat which is said to be the widest and deepest in India whose circumference is 8000 feet. There is a secret tunnel which connects Vellore Fort with Virinjipuram temple which was used by the kings during war periods.
At a distance of 10 km from Vellore Katpadi Railway Station, Jalakandeswarar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva is located inside the Vellore Fort. Inside the temple, main deity Jalakandeswarar is seen in the form of Shivalingam. Goddess Sri Akilandeswari Amman is seen in separate sanctum in the inner enclosure of the temple. There is also a Nandi statue in front, facing Sri Jalakandeswarar sanctum.
The Jalakandeswarar Temple is a fine example of Vijayanagar architecture. The entrance of Jalakandeswarar is built with a long tower having large wooden gates and is sculptured with iron like lotus flowers. The kalyana mandapam located on the western side of the temple reflects the finer aspects of the glorious Vijayanagara temple architecture. There are highly sculptured and adorned pillars at the main entrance.
Timings: 6.30 AM – 1 PM and 5 PM – 8.30 PM
At a distance of 20 km from Vellore Katpadi Railway Station, Sripuram Golden Temple is dedicated to goddess Mahalakshmi, built using 1.5 tonnes of gold.
Sripuram Golden Temple is constructed in the year 2007 and is the only Hindu temple in India which is made out of gold. The Vimana and Ardha Mandapa have been coated with gold both in the interior and exterior. The temple is built in an area of 100 acres and constructed by Vellore Sri Narayani Peedam, headed by Sri Sakthi Amma. The estimated cost of the gold used for construction is close to 600 crores.
The temple is built in Dravidian style with wonderful artisitc work. Sripuram design represents a star-shaped path (Sri chakra) running a length of over 1.8 km. The temple is positioned in the middle of wonderfully maintained lush green landscape. One has to walk along the star path to reach the temple in the middle.
The temple is open from 7 AM to 9 PM.
At a distance of 37 km from Vellore Katpadi Railway Station, Amirthi Zoological Park is situated under the Javadu hill across Amirthi River. Amirthi Zoo was established in 1967 and the zoo occupies an area of 25 hectares. It is named after the Amirthi River which flows next to the park.
This park is popular for its waterfalls, swing and animal habitats. Half of this jungle is cleared to serve as a tourist spot while the other half is developed as a wildlife sanctuary. One km trek in the park leads to a full view of Amirthi falls, a small cascading seasonal falls.
Animals in the park include spotted deer, mongoose, foxes, monkeys, red headed parrots, love birds, tortoises, peacock, crocodiles, wild cats, eagles, ducks, pigeons, wild parrots, rabbits and pythons. Many herbal and medicinal plants can be seen growing in the Park.
The best time to visit the park is from October to March.
Timings: 8 AM to 5 PM
At a distance of 77 km from Vellore and 54 km from Yelagiri, The Vainu Bappu Observatory is an astronomical observatory owned and operated by Indian Institute of Astrophysics. It is located at Kavalur in the Javadi hills near Vaniyambadi in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu.
The Kavalur Observatory is located in a 100 acre forest land. The observatory houses a number of optical telescopes. This includes India’s largest optical telescope the 2.3m Vainu Bappu telescope, 1.3 meter J.C Bhattacharya telescope, 1m Carl Zeiss Telescope and many other smaller ones. Apart from the Telescopes, there is also a Fabry-Perot Interferometer which is being used to study airglow emissions from the Earth’s thermosphere.
Vainu Bappu Observatory is open to public on Saturdays between 3 PM to 9 PM. The operation of Vainu Bappu Telescope will be shown. If clear, night sky will also be shown through the 15 cm visitor telescope.
At a distance of 10 km from Vellore Katpadi Railway Station, The Cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese, also known as Assumption Church is situated next to the Bishop’s House in Vellore. The major attraction of this Church is a bell tower, which is said to be the highest bell tower in India.
Blessed Sacrament chapel, prayer meeting hall, Glass paintings of 18 important events of salvation history and 15 mysteries of Rosary, and 165 feet height Belfry are special features of the new cathedral. The present cathedral has capacity for 3000 people.
Feast of this church falls on August 15th every year.
Located at a distance of 1km from Virinjipuram Bus Stop and 21 km from Vellore Katpadi Railway Station. Sri Margabandeswarar Temple is a 13th century temple situated on Chennai – Bangalore National Highway. The temple has rich sculptures and artistic pillars. The temple was built by Cholas Kings in 13th Century.
The main deity of this temple is Suyambu Lingam known as Margabandeeswarar. The Goddess of the temple is Maragadambal. In this temple Lord Brahma is worshiped as Virinjan. He worshipped Lord Shiva at this place and hence it got the name Virinjipuram.
The rays of sun fall on the presiding deity during the Panguni month (March/April). The roof above the sanctum sanctorum is decorated with Rudraksha. The temple is a very good example of Dravidian temple architecture. This is the birth place of renowned Vedic scholar and Shiva devotee Sri Appaya Dikshithar.
The Simha kulam, the tank with the lion faced sculpture located inside the temple complex is a nicely built. The temple has two mandapas filled with beautifully carved pillars and sculptures. One can find various forms of Shiva, Vishnu and other Gods wonderfully engraved on pillars of these mandapas.
At a distance of 30 km from Vellore Town Railway Station, Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple at Singiri Koil is a Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Narasimha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It is located on Vellore – Polur road.
This temple is situated on a small hillock which is about 80 feet high and can be reached by a flight of about 100 steps. As per the inscriptions around the sanctum sanctorum, this is an 8th century temple built by the local chieftain, Rajavarman at the behest of Lord Narasimha who appeared in his dream.
The main idol in the sanctum sanctorum is seen in a sitting posture with four hands – two hands hold the conch and the discus, his third hand is on his lap and fourth hand is around the waist of Goddess Lakshmi. The image of the Lord is nearly six feet in height with Goddess Lakshmi is seated on the lap of the Lord.
There is a separate shrine for Lord Anjaneya, who is known here as Sri Bala Anjaneya. The idol is one feet high. The temple also has a separate shrine for Sri Garuda. A small stream flowing in front of the temple and pilgrims have to cross the stream by foot.
Timings: 9 AM to 12 PM and 5 PM to 6:30 PM
At a distance of 10 km from Vellore Katpadi Railway Station, Vellore Fort Mosque is situated inside the Vellore Fort. This mosque is also known as Nawab Chanda Sahib Mosque.
This Mosque was built in 1750 by Nawab Chanda Sahib. It is one of the important attractions in Vellore Fort. The entrance of the Masjid is on the northern side of the Vellore Fort. This mosque has been constructed using Brick and lime and still stands in good shape. At the centre of the mosque there is a big dome with minars on the sides. The mosque is decorated with floral designs.
Currently prayers are not conducted inside the mosque.
At a distance of 10 km from Vellore Katpadi Railway Station, St John’s Church is an ancient church located inside the Vellore Fort. This church is one of the oldest churches in Vellore.
St. Johns Church is a part of the Churches of South India and is one of the biggest churches in South India. The church was started in 1846 by the Reform Church of America (RCA). The church was shifted from the Filterbed Road to its present location in the fort. There are many inscriptions preserved in the church that provide history of the shrine.