Vellore, the Head- Quarters of Vellore District situated in 12' 35' N and 79' 9' E , has a very interesting History of its own. A strategically located town, it is well connected by Rail and bus routes to major towns of the neighboring states like A.P. Karnataka and Kerala. The History of the district assumes a great significance and relevance, as we unfold the glorious past. It was under the sway of various dynasties and rulers, the prominent among them being the Pallavas , Cholas of Uraiyur, the Rashtrakutaa dynasty of Malkhed, Sambuvarayar, the rulers of Vijayanagarm, Mamathas, the Nawabs of the carnatic and the British. The Monuments found in the district give a vivid picture of the town through the ages. In the 18 th Century Vellore District was the scene of some of the decisive bettles fought in Ambur (1749) A.D Arcot (1751) A.D and Vandivasi (1760A.D) as a result of the long -drawn struggle between the English and the French for Supremacy.
One of the monuments of Vellore is the fort and its exact date of construction could not be established, in the absence of proper records. A very close examination of the stone inscriptions suggests that the fort in all probability might have been built during the rule of Chinna. Bommi Nayak (1526 to 1595A. D) . The fort is one of the most perfect specimens of Military architecture in S.India.
The Jalakandeswarar Temple inside the fort is very fine example of Vijayanagar architecture. The Kalyanamantap, on the left of the entrance, with intricate caring and delicacy of exaction, bears testimony to the engineering marble and advanced state of sculpture of the times. Another land mark that has put Vellore on the center stage of Medical world is the Christian Medical College Hospital. Dr . IDA Scudder, the American lady, with a missionary zeal, started her Medical work in 1900 A.D. by setting up a very small Hospital, which in the last hundred years has grown into a premier Medical Institution of international repute. The central prison in Vellore , set up in 1830 A.D. is another Historically important land mark as some eminent personalities and Freedom Fighters like Thiru. Rajaji, Thiru C.N. Annadurai, Thiru. K. Kamaraj , the former presidents of India Thiru. V.V.Giri, Thiru. R.VenkataRaman had served their prison terms here. The other note worthy monuments are the Mausoleums located in Aruganthampoodi area on the Vellore - Arcot road, where the family members of Tippu Sultan were buried and the Muthu mandapam on the banks of river of palar, a memorial raised by the Tamil Nadu Government to honor Vikarama Rja Singha , the last Tamil King who ruled Kandy (Srilanka ) from 1798 to 1815 A.D. He was imprisoned in Vellore fort for 17 years.
THE ROLE OF VELLORE DISTRICT IN THE FREEDOM STRUGGLE
Vellore District had always been on the fore - front in the struggle for freedom. In fact the Sepoy Mutiny of 1806 A.D. that broke out inside the Vellore fort against the British authority is considered to be a prelude to the Great Revolt of 1857, which is often described by some historians as the first war of Independence.
The outstanding performance of this district in contributing to the Military service is Commendable, as more and more men have enlisted themselves to the Military service, to serve the nation with indomitable sprit and courage. The clock tower in the long Bazaar Vellore was built in 1920 A.D. a stone inscription in the building reads "Vellore - From this Village 277 men want to the Great war 1914-18,of them 14 gave up their lives ". This is a recorded testimony the Velour and Military prowess of this area.
ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL CHANGES IN VELLORE IN THE 20TH CENTURY
The economic condition of the district in the earlier stages was not very sound , in the absence of the major industries. Thanks to the sustained efforts and Vigorous police of the Govt . Industries like Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd Ranipet, Tamil Nadu Explosives Ltd., Katpadi. Have been set up. Besides there has been marked growth of small scale industries and Tanneries in the district. This industrial activity has not only generated employment opportunities , but also contributed. Uzhavar to economic growth the recently introduced ./ Uzhavar Sandhai., for instance has benefited the rural poor. giving much needed thrust to the economic. The innovative self help groups of woman are also playing a very useful role in building rural economy and helping rural women to be self reliant.
The social scenario also has changed keeping pace with the changing times. Increased social awareness and upward social growth mark the successful story of the district . The bonded labour, the child labour, etc. Are fast disappearing giving place to new social order. A striking feature of the social change is that the district achieved cent percent literacy owing to the effective implementation of the Arivoli, Movement.
The Samathuvapurams that are being set up, in various parts of the district , herald a new era, as social harmony and peaceful co-existence of different communities are the basic concept of this scheme. The Varumun Kappom Thittam by proving basic infrastructure to rural folk for a free medical examination is indeed a milestone in the social history of Tamil Nadu.
The cultural impact in the society is also very significant same of the traditional arts of the District like the Therukoothu., an art form folk theaters, Kokkalikottai, a famous traditional dance in the district are gradually vanishing. But it is also a matter of solace to note that some of the handicrafts for which the Vellore district are renowned, are still flourishing . Mats making in Walajapet, silk weaving in Arni and the traditional art of pot making in Vellore and places around, are some of the handicrafts which are enable to successfully withstand challenges through ages. The poomalai., scheme that has been introduced by the govt. will not only preserve the traditional handicrafts, but also promote their growth.