The Sripuram Golden Temple is built in a place known as Malaikodi in Vellore and is a well-known spiritual place. The entire temple was designed by Narayani Amma. The striking feature of this temple is the temple dedicated to Goddess Mahalakshmi, where you will see both the insides as well as outsides of the temple coated with gold.
The Sripuram Golden Temple has about nine to fifteen handmade layers of gold sheet and is decorated with manual inscriptions. The art of inscriptions in this temple has significance from the Vedas.
Visitors are requested to follow a strict dress code and to avoid short pants and skirts and capris while visiting the Sripuram Golden Temple. Mobiles phones, cameras and other electronic items, along with tobacco, liquor and combustible items, are strictly prohibited. The devotees can visit the Sripuram Golden Temple between 8 am to 8 pm on all 365 days. Abhishekam at the temple is conducted from 4 am to 8 am and aarthi seva is performed from 6 pm to 7 pm.
Vellore Fort is situated in the centre of Vellore. It stands proudly opposite to the old bus stand. The Archaeological Survey of India runs the fort and takes care of the maintenance. The Vellore Fort houses a temple called the Sri Jalagandeeswarar Temple, a mosque, a church, the Muthu Mandapam, the renowned Vellore Christian Hospital and the State Government Museum.
The outer walls are constructed with huge granite blocks which are encompassed by a broad moat. The Suryakanta reservoir supplies water into the moat and it is fortified by double walls.
The fort is also home to the Tipu Mahal. The Great Tipu Sultan is said to have lived with his family at the time of the British War. During the British rule, the Vellore Fort housed many royal prisoners, such as the last king of Kandy, Vikrama Rajasinha and family members of Tipu Sultan. The Sepoy Mutiny of 1806 first erupted at the Vellore Fort. The Vellore Fort is a noted tourist attraction and has been a historic building of national significance.
Jalakandeswarar Temple is located inside the Vellore Fort and has a tower where Shiva is worshipped in the form of Jalakandeswarar. The temple has two courtyards and has a main shrine with a closed path around it and a number of sub-shrines.
The temple was built in the Vijayanagar style of the latter period. The entrance of Jalakandeswarar, which means Shiva residing in the water is built with a long tower having large wooden gates and is sculptured with iron in the form of lotus flowers.
The temple is decorated with some exclusive sculptures. Moreover, you will see some wonderful inscriptions inside the main hall as well as on the exterior of the Swami Sannathi. There are highly sculptured and adorned pillars at the main entrance. The engravings on the ceilings of the temple and the pillars are extremely exquisite. The underground mandapa leads to a subterranean passage which gets directed to the river Palar.
The State Government Museum is a noted tourist destination inside the Vellore Fort. The museum is located at Lakshmanaswamy town, next to the main bus stand. It was opened to public in the year 1985.
The State Government Museum has eight galleries, namely, the District Gallery, the Pre-history-philately Gallery, the Paintings Gallery, the Zoology Gallery, the Stone Sculptures Gallery, the Coins Gallery, the Bronze Gallery and the Anthropology Gallery. There is an exhibit of heritage buildings of the North Arcot district in one of the galleries.
Additionally, there are exhibits of ivory chess boards and coins that Vikrama Raja Singha used. The museum also has a display of a double antenna sword made of bronze. There are massive stone inscriptions from the late Pallava era to the Vijayanagara era in the museum. The museum remains open everyday from 9 am to 12 pm and in the afternoons from 2 pm to 5 pm.
The Vainu Bappu Observatory (VBO) is located in the panoramic neighbourhood of Kavalur in the Javadi Hills in Alangayam and houses Asia’s largest telescope.
The observatory got its name from the Indian astrophysicist Dr Vainu Bappu. The observatory is located at a height of 725 m above sea level. The Kavalur Observatory showcases the 1 m Carl Zeiss Telescope as well as the 2.3 m Vainu Bappu Telescope. Vainu Bappu Observatory is open to public only on Saturdays between 2 pm and 5 pm.
To be able to remain near the equator, the observatory has been set away from the city, so that it is able to reach both the southern and the northern hemispheres. Using several focal plane instrumentation facilities, experiments are being conducted with the help of the optical telescopes at Vainu Bappu Observatory. Programmes include observations of blazes, galaxies, stars, solar system objects, to name a few.
The Clock Tower is located on K. V. Road which is the heart of the city. The tower was constructed to honour the coronation of King George V. This tower is dedicated to the 14 English soldiers out of the 22 soldiers who went to fight in the World War I (1914–1918). These 14 English soldiers lost their lives while fighting in the First World War.
The Clock Tower is an interesting place to visit for travellers travelling to Vellore. It has a historic lineage to follow. Presently, the Clock Tower building is converted as the main flower market on Long Bazaar.
Amirthi Zoological Park, which is also a popular tourist spot, is placed below the Javadi Hills of Tellai across the Amirthi river. There are beautiful waterfalls that could be found here along with different varieties of birds and animals.
This place is renowned for its animal habitat. Birds and animals, like monkey, spotted deer, hedgehog, fox, peacock, duck, wild parrots, crocodile, wild cat and eagle, can be spotted. Numerous species of herbal plants and trees can also be found in this park. There are two rest houses along with a children’s play section and a meditation hall in the vicinity of Amirthi Zoological Park.
During the holiday seasons, there is a heavy inflow of tourists to this location. Having been recently recognised, the state government has taken the initiative to develop the area. The entrance fees is Rs 2 per head. This area is mainly resided by the tribals, with a hill tribe society being formed at Nimmiyambattu near Amirthi, whose primary aim is to create employment opportunities for the tribals.
Vilapakkam is a panchayat town in Vellore. With an average literacy rate of 68%, which is higher than the national average, Vilapakkam is located to the south of Arcot in Vellore district. Vilapakkam lies approximately 25 km southeast of Vellore. The hilly area in Vilapakkam is commonly referred to as the Pancha Pandava Malai. It used to be a growing Jain centre in the Medieval Period.
A clear evidence of this can be found from the rock-cut cave temple of Vilapakkam, which is a large excavation on the eastern side of the hill. The rock-cut cave temple is inscribed with natural caverns of Jain figures and inscriptions that provide a testimony to the above mentioned fact.
The Mordhana Dam is situated in Vellore around 8 km from Gudiyatham. Gudiyatham is a town in Vellore district located 31 km from Vellore. This dam is 220 metres in length and 33 metres in height and it was completed 10 months ahead of its schedule in the year 2000. The Mordhana Dam is a scenic picnic spot.
The dam is constructed between two hills that are widely spread with greenery. The Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary, Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple at Vadapalli and Kanipakam are the nearby places to visit across the Mordhana Dam.
The Roman Catholic Diocese is located beside the Bishop's House in the city of Vellore. It ended up becoming a renowned religious centre when the church was renovated in 2001. The Roman Catholic Diocese has a bell tower, which is believed to be the highest bell tower of the nation.
In 1952, Salesians started the Diocese of Vellore after carving out a portion from the Archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore. The diocese includes two civil districts namely Vellore and Tiruvannamalai.
The new cathedral features glass paintings of 18 important events of history and 15 mysteries of the rosary, along with a 165-feet-high belfry. The present cathedral is extremely spacious and can accommodate 3000 to 5000 people to participate together in worship. Vellore has a population of approximately 1,50,000 Roman Catholics and has 84 parishes.
The Roman Catholic Diocese is a must-visit for visitors visiting Vellore for its historic lineage as well as for its renovated design.
The French Bungalow, also referred to as the French Castle, is a renowned tourist attraction. There is a romantic side to this construction of the building. It was made by a prince of Mysore, Srinivasa Iyer, and is still owned by the Mysore royal family. The French Bungalow was built by him for residential purpose after he married a French woman, whom he met and fell in love with while he was studying abroad. The bungalow was constructed with imported material, mostly from Glasgow.
The walls of the French Bungalow are made of lime stones and stones, which hold the main framework. The building has one tower at each corner of the four walls. The bungalow also has a dry well which served as a Roman bath. The house had servants’ quarters and kitchens and there is also a repository for grains on the premises of the French Bungalow. However, due to low maintenance, the bungalow is now in ruins.
The Ratnagiri Temple is dedicated to Lord Balamurugan. It is an ancient temple situated on top of a hill in Vellore. Balamurugan Adimaigal developed this hilltop temple and founded a hospital and a school with the help of community involvement. It is locally speculated that the spiritual power inside the temple showers its blessings in three forms.
The deity of Lord Murugan in the first form of blessing, secondly in the incarnation of Guru Swami Balamurugan Adimai and the third form is that of the devotees. Thousands of devotees gather everyday to seek Lord Murugan’s blessings. Devotees can come to the temple from 6 am to 1 pm and again from 4 pm to 8 pm.
The ritual abhishekam is done at 6 am, 10.30 am and 5.30 pm daily. If you want to meet the temple staff, you can visit the temple office from 9 am to 1 pm and 3 pm to 6 pm.
Vallimalai is situated about 16 kilometres north of Thruvalam. One of the two wives of Lord Murugan, Valli, was born here. This temple is dedicated to Lord Murugan. It is believed that in this temple, Lord Maha Vishnu’s two daughters, Valli and Devayanai, prayed for even-tempered husbands and ended up falling in love with Lord Murugan.
Vallimalai had been one of the most important Jain centres during the early Medieval Period and the natural caves were converted into Jain abodes according to Kannada inscriptions. Vallimalai is widely known for its scenic beauty. With its caves, unusual rock excavations, pools and greenery, Vallimalai stands as proof of the everlasting presence of the beautiful goddess.
Vallimalai can boast of being home to three temples. These are the Subramanya Swamy Temple, the beautiful Saravana Poigai Temple at the bottom of the hill and the Valli Temple.
Aanaikulathamman Koil is located near Velapadi in Vellore. This temple is dedicated to Goddess Parvati, in the form of Aanaikulathamman. Though this is a lesser-known temple, devotees from nearby places visit this holy place everyday.
The temple is built in an idyllic backdrop. It is recommended to visit the Aanaikulathamman Koil when you are in Vellore.
Balamathi is famous for its Balamurugan Temple. It is a tiny village situated on top of the Eastern Ghats, and to reach it, it takes a drive of 30 minutes from Vellore. Balamathi is popular for its serenity and is known for its scenic and picturesque beauty.
Balamathi enjoys a pleasant weather and a pretty low temperature, which makes it an ideal weekend getaway from the city’s hot weather. The Balamurugan Temple is well connected to the city by road with many hairpin bends.
The Subramanyar Temple at Kangeyanallur near Balamathi, which is over half a millennium old and has been renovated in the 20th century, finds great reverence amongst the locals. The annual Brahmotsavam is celebrated in the month of Panguni. Arudra Darisanam, Aani Thirumanjanam and Maha Shivaratri are other festivities that are celebrated here. Balamathi is a suggested place to visit while planning a trip to Vellore, owing to its calm and beautiful atmosphere.