Tag Archives: vijaynagara architecture

Jalakateswara Temple, Vellore

Palar is one of the important rivers in Southern India, flowing from the hills of Yelagiri, meeting the Bay of Bengal at Kalpakkam. The ancient town of Vellore is located on the banks of this river. Vellore has been blessed with a very rich history indeed. Many empires such as Vijaynagara, Bijapur Sultanate, Marathas, Mughals, and British ruled here, playing their parts in history. No wonder, these dynasties impacted Vellore deeply. Each old building standing as of today narrates this history. One of those constructions is the Jalakanteshwara temple. 1556 AD. It was the toughest time for the Vijaynagara empire. Due to an unrecoverable loss at the battle of Talikota, the Vijaynagara empire has lost its favorite city of Hampi, and now they were forced to retreat deep into their southern territory. Vijaynagara kings took the help of local Nayakas, or the chieftains ruling the smaller areas of Tamil Nadu, and continued their battle with the green forces. One of those Nayakas was Chinna Bommy Reddy, a subordinate chieftain of Vijaynagara King Sadasiva Raya. In 1566, just one year after the devastating blow of the Talokota battle, he constructed a brilliant fort of Vellore, surrounded by the deep trenches with thousands of hungry crocodiles lurking around in waters. The Myth  In the vast area of the fort, in one corner, there was a giant anthill, which was surrounded by stagnant water. Chinna had a dream, where Lord Shiva appeared in front of him and ordered him to build the temple on the location of that giant anthill. The next day, when Chinna Bommy Nayaka went to the location, he saw a Shiva Lingam right in the middle of that anthill. Immediately, he started building a temple around that anthill, today, we know as Jalakanteshwara. Jalakanteshwara is a Tamil word, translating…