Vellore Knowledge Guide
Vellore Fort is the most prominent landmark in the city. During British rule, Tipu Sultan's family and the last king of Sri Lanka, Vikrama Rajasinha, were held as royal prisoners in the fort. The fort houses a church, a mosque and a Hindu temple, the latter known for its carvings. The first rebellion against British rule erupted at this fort in 1806, and it witnessed the massacre of the Vijayanagara royal family of Emperor Sriranga Raya. The fortifications consist of a main rampart, broken at irregular intervals by round towers and rectangular projections. The main walls are built of massive granite stones, surrounded by a broad moat fed with water by subterranean pipes from the Suryagunta reservoir. Within the fort is the similarly aged Jalakanteswara Temple. It is a noteworthy example of military architecture in South India. The fort houses the Tipu Mahal where Tipu Sultan is believed to have stayed with his family during the war with the British; the graves of Tipu's sons are found at Vellore. It is administered by the Archaeological Survey of India. Vellore Fort has been declared a Monument of National Importance and is a noted tourist attraction. The State Government Museum is inside the fort. It was opened to the public in 1985. It consists of objects of art, archaeology, prehistory, weapons, sculptures, bronzes, wood carvings, handicrafts, numismatics, philately, botany, geology and zoology. Historical monuments of the erstwhile composite North Arcot District are contained in the gallery. Special exhibits include a bronze double sword from Vellore Taluk dating to 400 BC, stone sculptures from the late Pallava to Vijayanagar periods, ivory chess boards and coins used by the last Kandian King of Sri Lanka, Vikrama Raja Singha. Educational activities at the museum include an art camp for school students and the study of inscriptions and iconography for college students.