[Apologies for the bout of silence. Unavoidable circumstances.Enough said]
Every once in a while you come across a town that you pass off as ordinary only to be surprised at the abundance of history that lies covered by layers of dust and rows of encroached shops. Vellore is one such place.
Krishnadevaraya built a fort around this strategic town; Within the fort he built a temple but before he his artisans could install the diety, Hyder Ali came along. He ousted Krishnadevaraya and finding no diety within the temple did not deem it necessary to destroy it. He built a mosque in the opposite corner instead.
Then along came the British spoiling the peace and quiet of this southern town.Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan fought valiantly but as history tells us luck favoured the British.
Enter Robert Clive. He was engaged to Margaret Maskelyne in a small church with mahogany benches and stain glass windows built inside the fort. So the fort boasts of three places of worship all within its sturdy ramparts.
Indian historians are divided when it comes to the Sepoy mutiny. The official records show the year of the mutiny as 1857. However in 1806 the sepoys in Vellore rebelled against the British. The irony of this rebellion is that no one knows how many Indian soldiers died in the mutiny, however the graves of all the British soldiers who fought against democracy have a tomb with a headstone in a grave yard that is a stone’s throw away from the grounds were the battle was fought.
Today this ground which once was covered with the blood of the soldiers is the battle field for the local cricket clubs. At least no bloodshed! Thank god for small mercies.