Vellore Fort is where the first rebellion against the British had happened. But due to the scale of the revolt of 1857, it is considered to be the first revolt. Amongst the forts in Tamil Nadu, Vellore is considered to be one of the most invincible. Spread over 133 acres, this fort is surrounded by a deep and wide moat. The waters of this moat were home to about 10,000 crocodiles who would deal with the raiders if they dare to cross it. Situated in the heart of the Vellore city, this fort is a fine example of military architecture. It is studded with double fortifications. The ramparts are made of granite blocks, and outer ramparts are lower than the inner ones. In 1799, Tipu Sultan’s family was detained here by the British.
Note: At the end of the post there is a video which will tell you in brief about Vellore Fort.
As per the inscriptions, the chieftains of the Vijayanagar Empire built this fort around the middle of the 16th century. Aravidus, the last dynasty that ruled Vijayanagar, lost Vellore to Bijapur Sultan in the mid-17th century. Just a couple of decades with Bijapur kings, and then Vellore was in the control of the Maratha rulers. During their rule the fortifications were made stronger. In the beginning of the 18th century Mughals ousted Marathas from Vellore. A few decades later British took charge of Vellore. In 1799, Tipu’s kingdom saw its downfall in Srirangapatnam following which his family was detained here. And in 1806 Indian soldiers took an offence when forced to wear hats which hurt their religious sentiments. They launched a rebellion killing scores of English soldiers. But the British soon took control of the situation and suppressed the revolt.
Monuments in the Fort
There is a temple, a church, and a mosque in the fort. There is also a hospital and several other buildings which house government offices. The temple situated in the fort is called Jalakanteswarar Temple. It was built in the middle of the 16th century by the Nayakas of Vijayanagara. Revered by the Hindus, this temple has admirable sculptural art. The church in the fort is called St John’s Church. Built in 1846, it is the oldest church in Vellore Diocese.
How to Reach?
Train: Katpadi Junction in Vellore is the nearest railway station. It is about 7.5 km north of the fort. This station is well-connected with all the major cities in South India.
Road: Vellore Fort is 138 km west of Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu. On your way you to Vellore from Chennai, you can take a detour to the temple town of Kanchipuram.
Air: Vellore has an airstrip but for now commercial flights aren’t operational. So, to reach here your best bet is the Chennai International Airport, 128 km east .
Vellore Fort is 138 km east of Chennai, the state capital. Here is the map that shows the driving directions from Chennai.