Visit Vellore Fort: The Place Where Tipu Sultan’s Family And The Last King Of Sri Lanka Were Kept As Prisoners In This Fort (2020)
About Vellore Fort
One of the most unique and majestic forts built in India is the Vellore Fort. It is considered to be Tamil Nadu’s most important historical treasure. The Vellore fort used to serve as the headquarters for the Vijayanagara Empire. It was then transferred over the years to the Bijapur Dynasty, the Mughals, and eventually to the British. The Vellore Fort stayed under the British until India became independent. During the British rule, Tipu Sultan’s family and the last king of Sri Lanka were kept as prisoners in this fort. The Vellore fort also stood witness to the brutal massacre of the Vijayanagara royal family of King Sriranga Raya. The very first major military rebellion against the British rule also started at the Vellore Fort in 1806. Image Source
Who Built The Vellore Fort?
The Vellore Fort was built by Thimma Reddy Nayak and Chinna Bommi Reddy, who were the subordinate chieftains under Sadasiva Raya of the Vijayanagara Empire.
Constructed over a sprawling 133 acres, the Vellore Fort is located amidst a broken mountain range. The fort is built on the banks of the River Palor in the 16th century and served as the headquarters of the Vijaynagar Empire. The beautiful surroundings of the fort attracts many tourists.
What Makes The Vellore Fort Famous?
The Vellore Fort is famous for the distinct architectural features of each changing dynasty that took over the fort. Apart from this, the Vellore Fort is also a major symbol of secularism because there is a temple, a mosque, and a church built inside its premises. These are known as the Jalakanteshwarar Hindu Temple and the St. John’s Church. The name of the mosque is not known. The Jalakanteshwarar Hindu Temple is famous for its exquisite carvings and sculpting that adorn every nook and corner of the structure.
The mosque located inside the fort was built during the rule of the last Arcot Nawab. However, people are not allowed to pray inside this fort mosque in spite of protests carried out by many thousand people who are living in Vellore.
The church was built during the early British rule by Robert Clive of the East Indian Company. The church was built for the men and officers of the East India Company military station and was named after St. John, the Evangelist. However, this church has never been officially consecrated, which is why it has never been officially named as the St. John’s Church. Interestingly, this church is the oldest standing church in all of Vellore Diocese.
There is also a Muthu Mandapam inside the fort, which is a memorial built in dedication to the tombstone of Sri Vikrama Rajasinha, the last ruler of Sri Lanka. Sri Vikrama Rajasinha and his family were kept as prisoners of war at this fort for 17 years.
What Is The History Of The Vellore Fort?
The fort was built in 1566 AD, and following the Talikota Battle, the fort again gained prominence as it became the headquarters of the Vijayanagara Empire. The fort was used as the base for the Battle of Toppur in the 1620s, which took place between two factions of the Raya family itself.
In the 1640s, the Vellore fort was briefly captured and occupied by the Bijapur army, but it was again recaptured by the Rayas. It remained under Bijapur from 1656 to 1678. From then, it remained under the Marathas from 1678 to 1707, when it was captured by Shivaji’s army in 1678. The capture of the Vellore Fort by the Marathas was a historic moment as there was a prolonged 14-month siege to capture this fort.
The battle was eventually won by Shivaji’s army, thus passing on the fort to the Maratha Empire.
The Vellore Fort also remained under the Mughal rule from 1707 to 1760. In 1707, after the death of Aurangzeb, the Delhi Army of the Mughal Empire, under the command of Daud Khan, captured the Vellore Fort after detaining the Maratha army.
From 1760 to 1947, the Vellore Fort remained under British rule. The British were able to capture the Vellore Fort quite easily, and they continued to use the fort as one of their main garrisons until India gained independence in 1947. In between in 1780, the fort was again laid siege to by Hyder Ali during the ongoing Second Anglo-Mysore War. However, the British garrison was able to hold onto the fort for over two years before the siege was finally lifted.
The Vellore Fort was also the scene of the famous Vellore Sepoy Mutiny, commonly known as only the Vellore Mutiny. The Vellore Mutiny was the first major military rebellion in India by the British.
The Vellore Fort is surrounded by a deep moat with enormous, majestic walls for protection against enemies. The fort is a formidable granite structure that is a showcase of incredible architecture, science, and technology of that era.
The Vellore Fort is one of the best examples of detailed military architectural styles of Southern India.
Where Is The Vellore Fort Located?
This historically famous fort is located in the heart of Vellore city, just opposite to the Old Bus stand. The city of Vellore is located on the Chennai-Bangalore highway and is around 120 kilometers from Chennai.
When Is Vellore Fort Closed?
The Vellore Fort is open on all days between 9:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and then again from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The fort may remain closed on national holidays. There is an admission fee of Rs. 5 for Indians and Rs. 100 for foreigners.
How To Reach The Vellore Fort?
You can reach the Vellore Fort from the airport by taking a cab or bus. The Katpadi Railway Station is the closest to the fort, and there are many taxis available to take to the fort. The closest airports are the Vellore Airport, Tirupati Airport, Bengaluru International Airport, and the Chennai International Airport. If you are coming from the Vellore Airport, it will you around half an hour to reach the fort, while from the railway station it takes around 45 minutes.
When Is The Best Time To Visit The Vellore Fort?
It is best to visit the fort during the months of November to February as the weather remains pleasant, allowing you to go around the fort without any problem.