Home > Building, General Knowledge > 34/365 – Vellore Fort

34/365 – Vellore Fort

Vellore Fort is a large 16th-century fort situated in Vellore city near Chennai, in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. The Fort was at one point of time the headquarters of the Vijayanagara Empire. The fort is known for its grand ramparts, wide moat and robust masonry.

The Fort’s ownership passed from Vijayanagara Kings, to the Bijapur Sultans, to Marathas, to the Carnatic Nawabs and finally to the British, who held the fort until India gained independence. During British rule, the Tippu Sultan’s family and the last king of Sri Lanka, Sri Vikrama Rajasinha were held in as royal prisoners in the fort. The fort houses a Christian church, a Muslim mosque and a Hindu temple, the latter of which is famous for its magnificent carvings. The first rebellion against British rule erupted at this fort in 1806, and it is also a witness to the tragic massacre of the Vijayanagara royal family of Emperor Sriranga Raya.

History

The Fort was built around 1566 by Chinna Bommi Nayak and Thimma Reddy Nayak, subordinate Chieftains under Sadasiva Raya of the Vijayanagara Empire. The Vijayanagara kings called it “Raya Vellore” to differentiate it from “Uppu Vellore” in the Godavari region. The name Vellore is also spelt “Belur.” The present day Chennai region and Tirupathi were under the domain of the Fort.

Construction

The fort was constructed in granite from the nearby quarries in Arcot and Chittor districts. It spreads over an area of 133 acres and is located at an altitude of 220m within a broken mountain range. The fort is surrounded by a moat which was once used as an additional line of defence in the case of an invasion. It includes an escape tunnel leading to Virinjipuram about 12 km away, which could be used by the king and other royals in the event of an attack. The fort is considered to be among the best of military architecture in Southern India and is known for its grand ramparts, wide moat and robust masonry.

This 13th century fort was opened up to tourists and is now maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India, and is well maintained compared to other monuments.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vellore_Fort

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