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Historical splendour

Print edition : Nov 06, 2009 T+T-
The Jalakantesvara temple inside the Vellore fort.-S. THANTHONI

The Jalakantesvara temple inside the Vellore fort.-S. THANTHONI

SITUATED in the heart of Vellore town, the Vellore fort is one of the perfect specimens of military architecture in South India. The 700-year-old fort changed hands from the Vijayanagara rulers, the sultans of Bijapur, the Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji and the Nawabs of Arcot to Mughal ruler Daud Khan and finally the British. The fort is now managed by the Archaeological Survey of India.

The fort, along with the Jalakantesvara temple, was built during the rule of the Sambuvarayars in the 14th century A.D. The temple was built first and the fort was built around it. Both expanded and took their present form during the rule of King Sadasivarayar.

There are two museums one belonging to the ASI and the other to the Tamil Nadu government inside the fort. The TTDC has also set up a boathouse in the moat.

The 2,400-hectare Amirthi reserve forest, located 25 km from Vellore, is home to the bison, the wild pig, the jackal and the python. A small waterfall formed by the Amirthi and Kottaru rivers draws innumerable tourists every day. A 750-m trek, with enchanting views of the hills, leads to the waterfall.

About 8 km from Vellore is the Sri Lakshmi Narayani temple at Sripuram, popularly known as the Golden Temple. The temple was built two years ago on a 100-acre site at a cost of Rs.300 crore. As much as 1,500 kg of gold went into the gold-plating of the entire temple structure, said V. Sampath, manager of the temple as well as the Sri Narayani Peedam that funded its construction. He said about 25,000 people visited the temple every day.

T.S. Subramanian