City of Vellore & Fort

Vellore Town and Fort - A Historical Tapestry


Origin and Etymology: Vellore’s rich history dates back to the Pallavas, Cholas, Nayaks, Mahrattas, Arcot Nawabs, Bijapur Sultan Kingdoms, and the British. The city’s name is believed to originate from ‘Vel’ (spear), reflecting its history as a battlefield. Other theories link it to the abundance of Velum (Babul) trees or a precious stone called ‘veluru.’ Vellore also served as ‘Raya Vellore’ under the Vijayanagara kings.

Early Inhabitants and Formative Years: The Vedars, Yanadis, and Irulas were early inhabitants, with the Kurumbas establishing the Pallava dynasty. Vellore’s power transitioned from the Pallavas to the Cholas in the 9th century, followed by the rise and fall of various dynasties.


Origin and Architecture: Built in 1550, the Jalakandeswarar Temple inside Vellore Fort is believed to have been constructed by Chinna Bommi Reddy and Thimma Reddy Nayak, Vijayanagara chieftains. The fort’s construction followed, ensuring uninterrupted worship. Scholars differ on the fort’s origin, but its grand ramparts, wide moat, and unique granite construction make it unparalleled.

Moat and Remnants of Historical Buildings: The fort’s moat, never drying due to an eternal spring, adds to its impregnability. The parade ground, surrounded by palaces, reflects its historical significance. The fort also houses a mosque, constructed in the 17th century, and served various rulers, including the Bijapur Sultans, Mahrattas, and Mughals.


British Period and Sepoy Mutiny: The British took control in 1760, leading to Vellore Fort’s significance in the Carnatic wars. A brief but violent Sepoy Mutiny in 1806 marked a resistance against British-imposed military regulations. The mutiny was quelled, impacting British attitudes towards missionary activities.

Development of  Vellore District and Administration of the Fort: Vellore became a district capital in 1913, evolving through various administrative changes. The fort has been under the Archaeological Survey of India since 1861, showcasing its enduring importance in cultural heritage.


Communal Harmony :  Vellore Fort  enjoys a unique status as a hub for diverse religious worship. Communal harmony is evident with places of worship for Hindu, Muslim, and Christian communities. Notably, Christian worship in the fort has persisted since 1846, reflecting the town’s enduring history and religious diversity.