Jalakandeswarar Temple – Vellore
Located inside the Vellore Fort is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, by name Jalakandeswarar Temple. The temple belongs to the Vijayanagar period. It is owned and maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) while the administration was taken over by the Government of Tamil Nadu.
History of Jalakandeswarar Temple
As per the legend associated with the temple, there once was a giant ant-hill at the place where the temple stands now. The ant-hill is said to have been surrounded by stagnant water. Chinni Bommi Nayaka, a Vijayanagar chieftain and the then controller of the fort had a dream where Lord Shiva asked him to build a temple at that location. He, therefore, demolished the ant-hill and built a temple in 1550 AD. The temple was named Jalakandeswarar referring to Lord Shiva who resides in water. The temple also has the shrine of Sri Akhilandeshwari Amman, consort of Lord Jalakandeswarar.
The temple was mutilated during the capture of the Fort and Muslim invasion, following which, worship in the temple was stopped and it was used as an arsenal for nearly 400 years. The main deity was later moved to Jalakanda Vinayakar Temple for its safety.
The ASI took charge over the maintenance of the fort in the year 1921, after which the temple was still not used for worship. However, in the year 1981, the deity was removed from the Jalakanda Vinayakar Temple and secretly smuggled inside the fort. The deity was the cautiously re-installed and worship was re-instated.
The Temple Architecture
The temple is a supreme example of Vijayanagar architecture. The architectural marvels of the temple can be traced in the exquisitely carved temple tower and the stone pillars, impressive monoliths and sculptures and a Mandapam with beautifully carved stone pillars. The temple is surrounded by water.
Lord Jalakandeswarar in Lingam form is the chief deity. Nandi statue is seen in front of the main sanctum. The outer wall of the Amman sanctum houses the shrines of Lord Vinayaka, Goddesses Maheswari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Lakshmi and Saraswathi.
Jalakandeswarar Temple Timings
The temple is open on all days from 6:30 AM to 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM to 8:30 PM.
Jalakandeswarar Temple Festivals
The following festivals are celebrated in the temple: Chitra Pournami – 10 day festival (April-May). Surasamharam – in the month of Aipasi (October-November). Aadi Pooram – 10-day festival (July-August). Vinayaka Chathurthi – in the month of Avani (August-September). Navarathri – in the month of Purattasi (September-October)
How to reach Jalakandeswarar Temple
Jalakandeswarar Temple is located inside the Vellore Fort. Vellore Fort is located at a distance of 138 kilometres from Chennai. Katpadi Junction in Vellore (around 7.5 kilometres north of the fort) is the nearest railway station.
Vellore is well connected by road and rail with all the major cities in South India. The nearest international airport is at Chennai, 128 kilometres east of Vellore.