The 16th century fort situated in Vellore city near Chennai in Tamil Nadu was once the headquarters of the Vijayanagara Empire. The fort houses a temple, mosque and church, the renowned Vellore Christian Hospital, and many other buildings that are now used as public offices. The ownership of the fort was passed from the Vijayanagara Kings to Bijapur Sultans to Marathas to the Carnatic Nawabs and finally the British until India gained independence. Not many people are aware that a rebellion against the British rule erupted in this fort in 1806 and it was also a witness to the massacre of the Vijayanagara royal family of Emperor Sriranga.
The revolt began on July 10, 1806 as Indian sepoys stationed in the fort attacked the British East India Company due to their resentment against the changes in the sepoy dress code in November 1805. As per the change, Hindus were prohibited from wearing religious marks on their foreheads and Muslims were required to shave their beard and trim their moustache. Also, General Sir John Craddock, commander-in-chief of the Madras army ordered that the round hat be worn with a leather cockade in place of the existing turban, and this offended both Hindu and Muslim sepoys. This rebellion was also instigated by the sons of the defeated Tipu Sultan, who were confined in the Vellore Fort since 1799. Tipu Sultan’s wives and sons, together with numerous retainers, were pensioners of the East India Company and lived in a palace within the large complex comprising the Vellore Fort. One of his daughters was going to be married on July 9, 1806, and the plotters of the uprising gathered at the fort under the pretext of attending the wedding. The objectives of the civilian conspirators remained obscure but by seizing and holding the fort they hoped to encourage a general rising through the territory of the former Mysore Sultanate. The revolt was a brief one which lasted only for a day but was brutal as mutineers broke into the Vellore Fort and killed and wounded about 200 British troops, before they were subdued by reinforcements.
Nearby attractions in Vellore are Clock Tower, Jalakanteshwara temple, St. Johns Church, ASI mosque, Amirthi Zoological Park, Muthu Mandapam and Government Museum.
How to reach there
By Air: The nearest airport from the city of Vellore is Chennai, which is well connected to other important cities in India and the world.
By Rail: The nearest railhead is Katpadi that is six km from Vellore. Katpadi falls in Chennai-Bengaluru-Mumbai line and is thus well connected to the rest of Tamil Nadu and India.
By Road: Vellore falls on the busy Chennai-Bengaluru highway. It is well connected to rest of the peninsular India with a network of state as well as national highways. Tamil Nadu Transport Corporation and private operators ply buses from Vellore to other neighboring cities in and around Tamil Nadu.
Where to stay
There are various hotel options near Vellore such as Hotel Aruvi, Sterling Resorts Yelagiri, O’Nila Resort, Zeenath Taj Garden Yelagiri, Peter’s Park, etc.