Vellore Fort

By Sanjeev Nayyar esamskriti@suryaconsulting.net | 2016

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We had darshan of Arunachala hil in the morning and drove about 80 kms to Vellore. Vellore Fort has a moat (i.e. water all around the fort) like forts of Rajasthan and the Kangla Fort in Imphal. "Vellore was part and parcel of Arcot, which is considered to be a great city even during the Sangam age. In one of the literature, written by Paranar, the poet praises the city of Arcot which is about 1900 years old. "

Main monument inside fort is the Jalakantesvara Temple. This temple as the fort itself was constructed around or before 1566. The temple was built in the Vijayanagar style. The Kalyana Mandapa is worth a look. "Vellore Fort was built in 1566 by Chinna Bommi Redddy and Thimma Reddy who were subordinate Chieftains under Sadasiva Rai (Vijayanagara Empire).

Entrance gopuram. "In olden days were Velan (Babool) trees in the heart of the present town and city in the middle of this dense forest was known as Velapadi. Later then development took place it was called as Velur-Padi which is mentioned in the scriptures too". With British rule possibly it got the anglicised name of Vellore.

Stone niches lower part of gopuram. Vellore was ruled by the Vijayanagara kings, Bijapur Sultans, Marathas, Carnatic Nawabs and the British. The fort is spread over 133 acres and the secret tunnel takes you 12 kms away. The fort is built of granite blocks.

Close up of part of gopuram. In centre is temple design with a stone cover (for want of a better word) on which are 2 kalash and side is Kirti Mukha (to ward away evil spirits). Vellore is under the shadow of 3 peaks Murtigal, Sajjarankar and Kajjarankar at a height of 700 feet above sea level.

Kalash on stone wall, the statues within niches no longer there. Sri Vikrama Rajasinha, the last king of Sri Lanka was held hostage in this fort by the British around 1806.

Courtyard, main gopuram on left, right is gopuram that leads to sanctum. Centre of pic you see a biggish hall, is an amazing piece of architecture.

Columns inside mandapa, right corner are horse images left is a platform. "The temple is built at the centre of a tank. There is a beautiful water fencing (Agazhi) around the temple appearing as a garland."

Front view of mandapa. Left is horse, right are yalis. Ditto design on the other side of the mandapa. When you see such horses you know it is made by the Vijayanagara Kings.

Side view of warrior on horse with two yalis behind. Below horses feet are warriors, one of whom covers his head with a shield.

Side view of pillars, warrior on horse and gopuram. "The sculpture in the wedding hall of the temple has two faces in a single body, an elephant and the bull."

Mandapa ceiling. All around entre are carvings of beings. Left to right shows three headed man with folded hands sitting on a horse. In centre person sitting on an elephant must be Lord Indra since his vehicle is the elephant. Right corner top shows person sitting on Nandi. Around the centre are men with hand in hand as if in a dance.

Pillar - lady sculpture. "There is an earthen lamp on the Balipeeta behind the Adhikara Nandi (vehicle of Lord Shiva) which would revolve if some people place their hands on it as they wish it. But it doesn’t revolve in all the cases and till today nobody knows the reason."

Top part of pillar, extreme left of pic is Ganesha. Missed seeing the MUSEUM inside the fort. It has a good collection of Pallava, Chola and Nayak stone sculptures and displays of the 1806 Vellore Mutiny, the first anti-British uprising.

Base of mandapa. Left to right is man with a bow. Next is women with a bow, sitting on a animal not clear which one, then lady with a bow. Right of pic 2 women in dancing pose. In front of pic are pillars and lower part of platform whose close up you see in next pic.

Within temple image is of Shiva I think. Left could be Shiva and Parvati. Right are women in dancing pose.

Gopuram that leads to sanctum. In the north west portion of the outer corridor is a well. It has a secret passage to the cellar which was an armoury and treasury.

Long corridor outside sanctum wall.

I just love clicking gopurams. Front view of main gopuram. To know about temple Click here

Close up of Kalash on gopuram wall. To see a video of Vellore Fort Click here

Close by is the GOLDEN TEMPLE, beautifully made. Unfortunately they do not allow pics to be taken.

This pic of horses can never forget. The Srirangam Temple too has similar sculptures. "The horse prances crushing animals and so vibrant has the chisel worked that its muscles seem to ripple. "