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5 Temples to Visit in Vellore to Seek Spirituality

Certainly, one of the most sought-after tourist places in India is Vellore. Situated in the state of Tamil Nadu, it is also fondly denoted by the tag of ‘Fort City’ due to the abundance in number of forts. With the evolution of time and people, it has successfully taken a place for being a prominent transit hub for travellers.

Vellore translates to ‘city of spears’ in the colloquial tongue. The magnificence of Vellore constitutes of plenty of religious sites and pilgrimages. It also boasts of informative observatories, fascinating forts, and many other zoological parks. It gets an honorable mention on the golden pages of Indian history as it was home to various powerful dynasties, which include, The Pallavas, The Cholas, Carnatic Empire, and the Vijayanagar Kingdom. It was also a battleground once that saw huge bloodshed in the late 13-century.

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Vellore is the right place to steal glimpses of Tamil Nadu’s rich cultural heritage through its attractions. The city has a splendid history that has a strong influence on the Dravidian clan.

Are you hunting for spirituality that you will make your vacation more meaningful? Then head to Vellore. The serenity and beauty of the city are hard to put down into words. A wholesome package of religious shrines, sumptuous delicacies, and visual attractions awaits you.

Top 5 Temples To Visit In Vellore

  1. Sripuram Golden Temple
  2. Jalakandeswarar Temple
  3. The Ratnagiri Temple
  4. Sri Selva Vinayagar Temple
  5. Vallimalai Subramanyar Temple

1. Sripuram Golden Temple

Welcoming you to a spiritual park, the Sripuram Golden Temple is situated at the foothills of a small town of the city called ‘Malaikodi’. Architected by the spiritual leader, Sri Narayani Peedam, the perimeter of the temple stretches over 100 acres of land. You will be shocked to know that the entire temple has been carved out of gold, even the interiors! The level of intricacy and details that have been showcased by the temple is truly mesmerizing. It was kept in mind that only the artisans who have inept skills in temple art will be deployed for the construction of the magnificent spiritual abode.

It was recently built in the year 2007 and is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi. It consumed almost a whopping 600 crores for the entire set-up and in totality, one and a half tonnes of gold has been used for the build. The architecture has been designed in the Dravidian style with exceptional artistic works. The prime design of the temple was centered on representing a star-shaped path known as Sri Chakra that spans over an area of over 2 kilometers. One needs to walk the whole of this distance in order to steal a peek of the idol.

Throughout the route, you will see various messages laid out from the holy books of Gita, Quran, Bible, and even some of the influential preaching from Sri Shakthi Amma. When you leave the premises you would definitely feel that you have attained some amount of enriching wisdom that you can take back home. The spread of verdant greenery in the boundaries of the temple creates a phenomenal view that should not be missed at all.

Due to its enormity and fame, it is frequented by thousands of tourists every year. From outside, the temple looks like a shimmering monument radiating virtuosity and brilliance. Dive into a world of spirituality and into a world of self-actualization. However, ensure leaving your cell phones, cameras or any other music players outside the premises as there are strictly prohibited inside the temple.

2. Jalakandeswarar Temple

 Jalakandeswarar Temple

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this is yet another revered religious site in Vellore. It is regarded as one of the oldest shrines of the state, found in a small hamlet named Thakkolam. This temple has also left imprints in between the 4-century and 8-century, dating back to the era of the Pallava Dynasty. Inspired by the Dravidian style, it is an eminent example of a religious site having immense historical essence. Herein, Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of a Lingam by hundreds of devotees every day.

The temple has two courtyards, a number of sub-shrines and the main shrine with a closed path around it. It is situated inside the Vellore Fort. You will find the main deity Jalakandeswarar inside the Garbha Griha, which is in the form of Shivalingam. In a separate sanctum, you will find the idol of Goddess Sri Akilandeswari Amman in the inner courtyard of the temple. To the outer walls of Amman sanctum, one can get the darshan of Vinayaka, Madeswari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Lakshmi, and Saraswathi. There is also a Nandi statue in front, facing Sri Jalakandeswarar sanctum.

As history states, a sage named Athri Muni once mounted a Shivalimgam here and worshipped it. As he left owing to improper maintenance, this lingam was attacked by ants and later converted into an ant-hill. Once it started raining, the ant hill started flooding, turning into a water tank. Then, Lord Shiva appeared in Bommi Reddy’s dream, who was the then chieftain of the place and asked him to build a temple in lieu of the water tank. The chieftain went to the tank, demolished the ant-hill and took out the Shivalinga and installed it in the water itself.

Constructed in the turn of the 12-century, it almost took 50 years to complete the planning. It is now a pure example of Vijayanagar form of architecture. The interiors were designed by the Sambuvaraya during the 14-century while the sprawling outer enclosure, the breathtaking Kalyana Mandapa, and the enchanting Vasantha Mandapa were built during the reign of Vijayanagara King, Sadasivadeva Maharaya, at the end of the 15-century.

The entrance of Jalakandeswarar is built with a long tower having large wooden gates and has lotus flowers sculptured out of iron, reflecting the finer aspects of the glorious Vijayanagara temple’s architecture. There are highly sculptured and adorned pillars at the main entrance. The engravings on the ceilings of the temple and the pillars are extremely intricate.

The most ideal times for you to drop by is in the months of April or May as you get to see the special darshan of the Chaitra Poornima. Also witness the admirable celebrations of Mahashivaratri, which takes place around February, the much-celebrated Aadipooram, which is held in July or August and Vinayaka Chaturthi in the months of August or September. Navarathri is one of the most famed festivals celebrated by the temple. Flocks of people gather around every year in September and October to seek blessings of Goddess Durga.

3. The Ratnagiri Temple

This temple is dedicated to Lord Balamurugan, The Lord of war and his deity can be seen in two forms in the Ratnagiri Temple. One is in the form of Lord Gurukkolam and others in the form of Lord Thirukkolam with two of his wives Valli and Deivanai. You will also witness many other temples in this shrine comprising of idols of Lord Ganesh, Lord Shani, and the Navagrahas.

It was built in the 14-century, basically as a sand structure. Nonetheless, with umpteen improvisations, it now stands atop a hill as a glorious stone temple in Vellore. It is especially well known for its peaceful ambiance and calm atmosphere.

You must pay a visit to this religious site once in the Tamil month of Karthigai, which falls in November and December. Karthigai Deepam is a specific sort of worship, which is done at this temple. The idols are adorned with charming gold and silver ornaments and affixed on a chariot made completely out of gold!

4. Sri Selva Vinayagar Temple

Located in Shenbakkam, it is about three kilometers away from Vellore. Sri Selva Vinayagar and Somasundareswarar are the presiding deities of this temple. It also dedicated itself to Lord Ganesha.

Sri Selva Vinayagar Temple is an ancient temple and is best known for being surrounded by eleven Vinayagars, namely Bala Vinayagar, Nandana Vinayagar, Omkara Vinayagar, Karpaga Vinayagar, Chinthamani Vinayagar, Selva Vinayagar, Mayura Vinayagar, Mooshiga Vinayagar, Vallaba Vinayagar, Siddhi-Buddhi Vinayagar, and Panchamuga Vinayagar. All the Vinayagars are believed to have appeared themselves in many forms and are hence called Swayambu. Interestingly, in order to allow the sages to worship the Celestial Gods, the main shrine has no roof and one can see an elephant embedded in the front of Selva Vinayakar instead of Mooshika, which is quite an unusual feature of this temple.

History claims that once a Maratha minister called Thukoji was passing through this place when the axle of his chariot broke down that eventually forced him to stay back without a choice. Quite worried about this obstacle, he prayed to Lord Vinayaka and slept right there. He then dreamt of Lord Vinayaka who revealed to him about the existence of the 11 swayambu idols which were arranged in the shape of Omkara and present underground. Overwhelmed with this information, Thukoji excavated the ground to reveal the idols and build a temple out of it. One can still see the mark of chariot wheel on the back of Selva Vinayakar’s idol. The main festivals that are celebrated here are the Vinayaka Chaturthi in the months of August and September and Shivratri in February and March.

5. Vallimalai Subramanyar Temple

Situated on the banks of River Palar, Vallimalai Subramanyar Temple is a rock-cut hill temple, which is thronged by many devotees. In order to reach the main idol, you need to climb a flight of 300 odd steps. Alongside this temple, also visit the shrines of Vinayakar and Kasi Viswanathar.

It is believed that the daughters of Lord Maha Vishnu named Valli and Devayani wished to have a husband who would never upset them and fulfil all their wishes. Thus they prayed to Lord Murugan, who appeared before them. He emphasized on the fact that in the next birth, when Valli rebirths as Vedas and Devayani as Indiaran, he will marry Indiaran. However, in the next birth, Surapadman, the vile asuran disturbed the whole process – this irked Lord Murugan a lot and he further destroyed the asuran. Now, as he had promised Devayani, he married her as per the wish she had demanded of earlier.

Some of the important festivals celebrated here are the annual Brahmotsavam in the month of February and the Padi Utsavam on Tamil New Year’s Eve.

The aforementioned brings out the best of spirituality and holiness you could ever ask for. Try out the special prasadam that is offered in these temples, this itself is enough to entice you to revisit these shrines again and again. If you do not trust these words, come pay a visit and reaffirm yourselves. This coming holiday season, plan a trip with your loved ones to the city of Vellore and discover your spiritual self. Let Vellore grace you with loads of hospitality, vigour, and felicity.

Happy Journey!

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