Vellore has a blend of heritage and culture reflecting the ancient Dravidian civilization. It was the seat of the Pallavas, Cholas, Nayak, Marathas, sssArcot Nawabs and Bijapur Sultan Kingdoms. Vellore was once the capital city of the Vijayanagar empire during 1606-1672. The fort in Vellore was described as the best and strongest fortress during the Carnatic War in the 17th Century. The monuments found in the district give a vivid picture of the evolution of the city through the ages.

In the centuries before India’s independence there were many changes in kingdoms of the south and their capitals. The north and south regions of Arcot came into the political map in 1810 at the time of the last Mughal Emperor. Later in 1908, the two districts, namely North and South Arcot, came into existence. Chittoor (now in Andhra Pradesh) was the first capital of the North Arcot district. From then on it was the principal military base of the British. In 1911, Vellore became the head quarters of North Arcot Dt., comprising Vellore and Thiruvannamalai.


The name is said to have originated from Vel (spear-வேல்) which is the main weapon of the Hindu deity Murugan or ‘Velayudayaan’ (one who bears the spear). The word then literally means-The place of Murugan. The name Vellore is derived from the Tamil words Vel (spear-வேல்) + uur ( ஊர்-city ) meaning City of Spears. Ancient history shows that Vellore was a battle field where the warriors used to fight was left with abandoned weapons like spears. The name Vellore is also said to have been derived from some form of precious stone which had a similar sounding name. There is megalithic proto-historical evidence in and around Vellore of such a semi-precious stone industry being prevalent in ancient times.


The Vellore Revolt of 1806 was the earliest recorded uprising against British rule in India and is widely considered as the actual “First War of Independence” though it is also considered to be the “Meerut Sepoy Mutiny”. Vellore District had always been at the forefront in the struggle for freedom. The Sepoy Revolt of 1806 AD that broke out inside the Vellore fort against the British authority is considered to be a prelude to the Great Revolt of 1857. A pillar commemorating the revolt has been installed in front of the fort and a monument in memory of the fighters is to be built at another location in the city.