Vellore, popularly known as the ‘Fort City’ is located on the banks of Palar River. There are almost 20 forts and palaces in and around the city which have given it the name of ‘Fort City’. Vellore city has a rich history and glorious culture attached to it. This city has seen many wars and eras of different rulers. It is also known as the “City of Spears” named after Lord Murugan’s weapon. It is believed that Lord Murugan once came out of a lotus flower to fight with the enemies holding the weapon ‘Spear’.
Vellore is also well known and preferred place among the medical and educational fraternity. One of the best medical college and hospital is located in Vellore named ‘Christian Medical College and Hospital’ which is an important destination for medical tourism worldwide. Top educational institutes like Vellore Institute of Technology are also present here that give brilliant scholars every year to the country.
Vellore is also known for its leather production as approximately 37% of the leather is produced here. It has many prominent tourist destinations and religious places that attract many visitors around the country.
Major Tourist Attractions in Vellore
Vellore offers magnificent tourist destinations and religious places for the visitors and devotees coming from all over the country. The main attractions include Vellore Fort, St. John’s Church, Clock Tower, State Government Museum, Sripuram Golden Temple, Puganoor Lake Park, Jalakandeswarar Temple, Velavan Temple, Swamimalai Hill and many more…..
- Vellore Fort – Vellore Fort is the main site of attraction and one of the important landmarks of the city. Known for its grand archaeological structure and extensive carvings, it is a must visit place for the tourist coming over here for the first time. It houses a church, mosque and a temple in its premises.
- State Government Museum – An amazing place to be at while one is on a visit to Vellore, this museum is located inside the Vellore Fort and was opened for the visitors in 1985. The museum exhibits a wide range of invaluable pre-historic objects of art and craft, weapons, sculptures, handicrafts. Visitors coming over this place can enjoy seeing different types of material like those related to philately, geology, zoology, botany, numismatics, wood carvings etc.
- Jalakandeshwarar Temple – This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva who is present in the form of Lingam inside the temple premises. This temple is situated inside the Vellore Fort. The main point of attraction here is that all the three Lords with their consorts i.e. Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh are worshipped under the same roof by the devotees.
- Sripuram Golden Temple – This temple is dedicated to Goddess Laxmi and is one of the very famous temples in Vellore. Sripuram Golden Temple is also popularly known as ‘The Golden Temple’. Here, approximately 1500 Kg of pure gold which is the largest amount of gold ever used in whole world has been used to construct the idols of Gods and covering of the temple.
- Ratangiri Murugan Temple – This temple is one of the very popular temples mainly because of its age old architecture and style. This temple was built in around 14th century and is dedicated to Lord Murugan.
- St. John’s Church – Around 150 years old, this is one of the oldest and biggest churches in Southern India and is highly worshipped by the Christians and visitors coming over this place. It has a bell tower which is the highest in whole world.
Festivals and Fairs
All the major Indian festivals are celebrated here with full joy and enthusiasm by the local people. However, some of the important events that take place in Vellore and involves full fanfare are Pongal, Kanthuri Festival, Kavadi Festival and Velankanni Festival.
Pongal, also known as the Harvest Festival dedicated to Lord Surya (Sun God) is celebrated every year on 14th January. On this day people worship Lord Sun and their cattle as a sign of good omen in terms of high harvesting yield. A traditional dish known as Pongal is prepared on this day.
Kanthuri Festival is celebrated at the holy shrine of Saint Quadirwali. The best thing about this festival is that it witnesses equal participation from people belonging to different religions. This festival is held in the month of December.
Kavadi Festival is one of the very important festivals celebrated in Vellore. This festival is dedicated to Lord Murugan where special offerings are made by the devotees. It is held in the month of mid July to mid August. Kavadi is a wooden stick with two baskets filled with rice, milk and decorated with peacock feathers which is offered to Lord Murugan. People often walk holding these Kavadies on burning coal.
Velankani Festival is celebrated in the months of August – September which lasts for nine days. Devotees and visitors from all across India visit Vellore to attend the Velankani Festival to offer special prayers to seek divine healing power of Virgin Mary.
An important fair named as Tourist Fair is also held in the month of January. During this fair, a huge place is booked and decorated that attracts lot of fanfare and tourists across the country. This fair enables the tourist to get themselves acquainted with the local culture and delicacies. It is said that the tour to Vellore is incomplete if one does not attend this magnificent fair.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Vellore is in winters that start from October and last till February. This is the time when the climate is pleasant and cool. One can explore and do all the sightseeing very comfortably. During the months of summer, Vellore witnesses hot days with the maximum temperature touching 41 0C. Monsoon with average rain shower starts between the months of July and September.
How to Reach
By Air – Vellore does not have its own airport. Bangalore airport is 200 Km away from the main city which is the nearest airport from Vellore. Bangalore airport is very well connected with all major states and cities across India
By Rail – This is the route which solves the issue for the tourist willing to reach Vellore in an affordable manner. Vellore railway station is well connected with all the major cities of Tamil Nadu and other important states like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
By Road – The Tamil Nadu Road Transport division has developed the road network to Vellore very beautifully connecting it with all the major cities within Tamil Nadu. Visitors can easily catch the buses that ply on different cities within the state and neighbouring states as well.