Vellore

Vellore is a city and the administrative headquarters of Vellore District in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located on the banks of Palar River in the north-eastern part of Tamil Nadu and has been ruled, at different times, by the Pallavas, Medieval Cholas, Later Cholas, Vijayanagar Empire, Rashtrakutas, Carnatic kingdom, and the British. Vellore has four zones (totally 60 wards) which covers an area of 87.915 Sqkm and has a population of 4,23,425 based on 2001 census. It is located about 145 kilometres (90 mi) west of the state capital Chennai and about 211 kilometres (131 mi) east of Karnataka capital Bengaluru.

Vellore has become one of the top educational destination due to the presence of India’s top medical institute Christian Medical College &Hospital(recipient of 2011 CNBC-TV18 awards for Best multi-specialty (non-metro area) and Best cardiology care in India) and best private technological institute VIT University.Vellore is the only city other than Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai to have two of the top ten premier educational institutions (CMC & VIT) in the country. Vellore is also the top destination for medical tourism in India as it houses a century old Christian Medical College & Hospital.

ISKCON Temple, Vellore Fort, Government Museum, Science Park, VainuBappu Observatory, Amirthi Zoological Park, Religious Places like Jalakandeswarar Temple, Srilakshmi Golden Temple and Yelagiri Hill station are the among top tourist attractions in and around Vellore.

Vellore Fort is the most prominent landmark in the city. During British rule, Tipu Sultan’s family and the last king of Sri Lanka, VikramaRajasinha, were held as royal prisoners in the fort. The fort houses a church, a mosque and a Hindu temple, the latter known for its carvings. The first rebellion against British rule erupted at this fort in 1806, and it witnessed the massacre of the Vijayanagara royal family of Emperor SrirangaRaya.The fortifications consist of a main rampart, broken at irregular intervals by round towers and rectangular projections. The main walls are built of massive granite stones, surrounded by a broad moat fed with water by subterranean pipes from the Suryagunta reservoir.

Within the fort is the similarly aged Jalakanteswara Temple. It is a noteworthy example of military architecture in South India. The fort houses the TipuMahal where Tipu Sultan is believed to have stayed with his family during the war with the British; the graves of Tipu’s sons are found at Vellore. It is administered by the Archeological Survey of India. Vellore Fort has been declared a Monument of National Importance and is a noted tourist attraction.

The State Government Museum is inside the fort. It was opened to the public in 1985. It consists of objects of art, archaeology, prehistory, weapons, sculptures, bronzes, wood carvings, handicrafts, numismatics, philately, botany, geology and zoology. Historical monuments of the erstwhile composite North Arcot District are contained in the gallery.Special exhibits include a bronze double sword from Vellore Taluk dating to 400 BC, stone sculptures from the late Pallava to Vijayanagar periods, ivory chess boards and coins used by the last Kandian King of Sri Lanka, Vikrama Raja Singha. Educational activities at the museum include an art camp for school students and the study of inscriptions and iconography for college students.

Jalakandeswarar Temple, Srilakshmi Golden Temple, and the WallajapetDhanvantri Temple and PonnaiNavagrahaKottai Temple are among the temples in Vellore. Sri Lakshmi Temple, popularly known as Golden Temple, is a newly built temple and spiritual park in Thirumalaikodi, Vellore. It is approximately 8 km from the Vellore bus terminus. The temple covers an area of 100 acres and has been constructed by Vellore-based Sri NarayaniPeedam headed by SakthiAmma. It has intricate carvings, hand-made by hundreds of gold artisans specializing in temple architecture. The exterior is laid with gold sheets and plates, with construction reported to have cost Rs.300 crores (US$65 million). About 1,500 kg of gold was used, the largest amount in the world. Ratnagiri Murugan Temple is another prominent Hindu temple in the city.