Vellore is a city located on the banks of the Palar River in Tamil Nadu. The city has a rich historical past catering to a variety of dynasties from the Pallavas to the British. The city is known for its various monuments and forts depicting different eras of history as well as architectural brilliance. The most significant landmark in the city is the Vellore Fort, made of granite stones, with a unique sensibility, as it houses a church, a mosque and a Hindu temple, famous for its delicate carvings. The Jalakanteshwara Temple is located within the fort and and is well-known for its military architecture in South India. This fort city has an interesting display of Dravidian architecture with several key tourist attractions like the historically vibrant Clock Tower with an adjacent flower market in Long Bazaar, the 150 year old St. John's Church often referred to as the Church of South India, and the State Government Museum inside the fort city that showcases historical artefacts, objects of art, archaeology, handicrafts, sculptures, and weaponry among others. Vellore has an essence of spirituality with several temples including the Srilakshmi Golden Temple with hand-made carvings in gold, Ponnai Navagraha Kottai Temple and the Ratnagiri Murugan Temple among others. Along with it, there are a few churches and the Big Mosque with an Arabic college in the heart of the city. The Yelagiri Hills in the periphery has amazing trekking routes with the Swamimalai Hill being the highest point offering a panoramic view of the city, while the lush green Punganoor Lake Park projects an atmosphere of tranquillity. Just a few kilometres from the city, there is Amirthi Forest along with a zoological park and the Jallagamparai Waterfalls are a few kilometres away so if you have a couple of days to spare, you can plan a trip outside Vellore.
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172 Kms from Vellore
Best time to visit - January,February,March,September,October,November,December
If you live in a hot part of the country, Bangalore's good weather will immediately put you into a good mood. While the centre of the city has remained as it was during the British Raj, the area encircling it is on a constant boom with a vibrant student culture, popular pubs and a major electronic and industrial lifestyle. As a tourist, you can go see the Bangalore Castle. Modelled on the lines of the Windsor Castle, the one on Bangalore is a great example of the Tudor architectural style. It has beautiful gardens and the wooden carvings. The glass house at Lal Bagh and its botanical garden is a good place to relax while taking a walk. Cubbon park is one of the primary reasons why Bangalore was formerly nicknamed as the Garden City. The picturesque greenery in the middle of the city is stupefying. You can visit the Peninsular Gneiss to witness the oldest granite formations and also the look at the city from an elevated land. For a perfect end to the day, grab a beer at Toit or Peco’s. Follow it up with a grand meal at Koshy’s or Ebony, or the hundreds of other quirky restaurants in the city.
123 Kms from Vellore
Best time to visit - January,February,October,November,December
Chennai, standing as the fourth largest city in the country, is still known as Madras by many residents. Kapaleeshwar temple, though always crowded, remains a popular visiting site where one can witness southern India's multi-hued spiritual energy and the beautiful sculptures bedecking it. A place to unwind and enjoy some good street food would be Marina Beach. Those who wish to avoid the crowd, however, should pick Eliot's Beach, which is also relatively cleaner. The Anna Centenary Library is also a great refuge for peace and solace. If anything vintage charms you, make it a point to visit the 17th century British Fort, St George and the historical neighbourhood of George Town circumscribing it, now thronged with bazaars selling everything from spices to flowers and bangles. Parallel to this commercial hub is the Armenian street housing an 18th century Armenian Church. Nature lovers will dote over the Madras Crocodile Bank, where these sunbathing beauties can be seen and thoroughly learnt about. On the same lines, Arignar Anna Zoological Park is another must visit, especially for families with children, who will receive the much required infotainment. Chennai is an unforgettable site of colours and music during January when the festival Pongal is celebrated. Restaurants such as Copper Chimney, Hotel Saravana Bhavan, Dakshin remain widely known for their exquisite versatile cuisines constituting the whole of south India.
132 Kms from Vellore
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,October,November,December
Pondicherry used to be India's biggest French colony, and is now the home of many French citizens. This has an influence on the architecture, food and culture. The rocky Promenade Beach is ideal to take long walks along the serene Bay of Bengal. The yellow sand, yellow sea and yellow sky merge to create a breathtaking panorama. Do indulge in scubadiving to experience the abundance of aquatic flora and fauna. The Soorya Beach Resort and Le Pondy Resort are excellent choices for staying by the sea. The city is also the location of Auroville. This innovative township houses explanatory concepts based on diverse philosophies and ideas. The Aurobindo Ashram here is a platform to seek spiritual pleasure. Through the method of integral yoga, the followers aim to become one with the divine, without renouncing the world. A distinct food culture is also notable due to the Franco-Tamil hybridity. Delectable French pastries, baguettes and appams! Seafood and continental! Savour the flavour. Oh! And I almost forgot to mention the rock-bottom prices of alcohol. For delectable food, try Cafe Xtasi and Baker Street. Try ice-cream from a wide variety at Ibaco. A visit is worth a palpable sense of contentment in India’s own French connection.
149 Kms from Vellore
Best time to visit - November,December
Cuddalore is a beach town in Tamil Nadu that is popular for its appealing beaches and ancient temples. This former port town on the Bay of Bengal still retains its old world charm. Beaches with boat houses, a few churches from the bygone eras and marvellous sceneries cover this tranquil region. Towards the east of the town is Silver Beach, which is famed as one of the longest beaches in Asia. It is frequented around the year by tourists from all over India. The dilapidated fort of St. David makes for a thrilling experience. Its ruins remain on the Gadilam River and add to the splendour of the town. Catch a view of the backwaters from here and don't forget to take pictures. Take a boat ride through the narrow water channels of the Pichavaram Mangrove forests, formed by the Cauvery river. Extremely scenic and serene, this place is also home to many migrant birds. Cuddalore ranks high in spiritual significance and is home to a number of Hindu temples. The temples of Padaleeswarar, Bhuvaraha Swami and Thiruvandipuram dot the town. You can enjoy authentic South Indian cuisine here and in case you want to take a souvenir back home, the Panruti dolls are a great choice.
120 Kms from Vellore
Best time to visit - N/A
Also known as Covelong, this is a beautiful fishing village on the East Coast road which goes towards Mahabalipuram. This place is most famous for the Kovalam Beach which is also the main attraction here. This beach is quite crowded and is also filled with swimmers. If you are looking for a peaceful place then this does not fit your criteria for sure. One thing which you can do here is watch the fishermen at work. There is nothing special in the beginning but as you see carefully, this sight gives an immense happiness to anyone.
299 Kms from Vellore
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,May,June,December
South India has its own treasure chest of hills, harbouring greenery, mist, rich coffee and aromatic tea. Kotagiri, 28 km east of Ooty, is one such quiet town, fortified by the Nilgiri Hills, tea estates and various tribal Kota establishments. Kotagiri offers nature lovers many gems such as the trek to Catherine Falls, a double-cascade waterfall descending from a height of 250 feet, Elk Falls, the Rangaswami Pillar, Longwood Shola and Doddabetta Range. For more picturesque views, follow the trail to Kodanad and enjoy passing through tea estates, meadows and the Moyar river. A 4-hour drive to Anamalai will lead you to the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park, home to many indigenous tribes and beautiful animal species such as turtles, tortoises, pythons, leopards, cobras, Great Indian Hornbill, kingfishers, elephants, porcupines, Bonnet Macaque and many more. Coffee lovers will love the plantations of the exotic and high-grown Arabicas. A visit to the Sullivan Memorial, which houses the Nilgiri Documentation Centre, can give you an insightful introduction to the vast history and heritage of this region and what goes into preserving its beauty. Keystone Foundation, an NGO, can give one more insight into programmes and the work being carried out for and with indigenous communities on eco-development initiatives, which is open to volunteers too. Green Shop, belonging to the same foundation, is a must visit for purchasing exquisite tribal craft, wild honey and local chocolates. Restaurants such as Hari Mess, Orange Pekoe and Bison Park Drive In offer travellers a great variety in local, Chinese and South Indian non-vegetarian dishes.
278 Kms from Vellore
Best time to visit - January,February,March,July,August,September,October,November
Once the seat of the Maharajas of Mysore for six centuries, Mysore is now the third most populous state of Karnataka. But not much as changed in terms of its cultural ambiance and heritage, hence deeming it as the cultural capital of Karnataka. This city is popular for its year-round pleasant climate, silk, sandalwood and many majestic palaces, such as Lalitha Mohan Palace, Jaganmohan Palace and the most visited and grand one being the Mysore Palace. To get an exclusive insight into Mysore's culture, Folklore Museum would be the best place, where a plethora of carved wooden figures, ceremonial headdresses, vibrant masks can be seen along with puppet shows depicting Hindu mythological stories. Mysore Zoo is perfect for animal and nature lovers while the Regional Museum of Natural History serves those interested in ecological history. For those looking for unwinding strolls or simple relaxation, Karanji Lake and Kukkarahalli Lake are the best to visit, preferably early in the morning or evenings. More attractions include Brindavan Gardens, Railway Museum and St. Philomena's Church. Cauvery Arts and Crafts emporium is renowned for an array of silk sarees, carved sandalwood, wooden toys and inlay work, whereas Devaraja market is ideal for a more local shopping experience. Restaurants such as Hotel RRR Restaurant, Malgudi Cafe, Vinayaka Mylari, Sapphire and Anu's Bamboo Hut cater to popular local and international cuisines. Mysore comes alive during the 10-day festival of Dussehra, celebrated in October, when one can witness the entire city bedecked with lights, colours and music, making Mysore a memorable visit.
117 Kms from Vellore
Best time to visit - January,February,March,October,November,December
Home to UNESCO World Heritage-listed temples, dreamy sunsets and spiritually-uplifting energy, Mahabalipuram is perhaps one of the most visited places in Tamil Nadu. Locally known as Mamallapuram, this was once the capital of the Pallava Empire. From exciting water sports to classic statuettes, the place is a delight for voyagers. Feel the shore underneath your feet at the Mahabalipuram beach and indulge in some super fun beach activities such as wind surfing and sea diving. The temples here have a special feature in common, they are built in the form of chariots with open air sanctoriums. The Shore Temple, standing strong like a marvellous rock-cut stone and overlooking the sea is known as the last creation of the Pallava kings. Another wonder in Mahabalipuram is the Panch Rathas, the five monuments that were etched out of a single rock in the 7th century. Pack your travel bags to explore the incredible Indian history by discovering the ageless stories of temples and their incredible architecture. You can get a bus from Koyembedu in Chennai or Pondicherry.