Vellore is often looked at as a transit town, for people shuttling between Chennai and Bangalore. However, it’s a city rich in culture and history; there’s a great deal to see and do here in terms of temples, forts, national parks and waterfalls. Here’s what you must experience on a trip to Vellore.

Begin your tour of the city with a visit to Vellore Fort. It is the most popular attraction in the city; the 16th-century fort covers an area of 133 acres and has super high walls that stand at 220 metres. The fort is one of the best examples of military architecture: it features double walls with bastions overlooking a deep ditch moat that was once home to nearly 10,000 crocodiles.

Within the fort premises, the Vellore Government Museum is worth a visit too. The museum houses artefacts such as pre-historic tools, sculptures relating to Hinduism and Jainism and antiques belonging to important historic figures. The Jalakandeswarar Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located inside the Vellore Fort is a must visit too.

While it’s not as grand as the Vellore Fort, the Sajra Fort is charming in its own right. Located atop a hillock, the fort offers some of the best panoramic views of the city. It is also a popular sunset spot, though you can reach the top only after a small trek.

Among the parks, Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary is famous for its Asian elephant reserve.  Located at a distance of 50km from Vellore, the park is home to other wildlife species as well including sloth bear, wild boar, jackal, panther, sambar deer and porcupine. The park is also home to the famous Kalyan Revu Waterfalls. Another peaceful nature park is the Periyar National Park – with provisions for cycling, skating and battery operated mini-bikes. The park is also home to incredible avifauna such as guinea fowl, ostriches, duck and parrots.

Located in a town called Sripuram, the Sri Lakshmi Golden Temple is built with large amount of pure gold, apparently, much more than Amritsar’s Golden Temple. It’s shiny golden exterior is exquisite to look at, and a must visit if you’re into temple architecture.