In a land of temples like that of ours, it is imperative that we pay rich tributes to the Pallavas, the Cholas and the Vijayanagara rulers for gifting our nation with great architectural beauty. No other country in the world has had such rulers to patronize art and culture. The Vijayanagara rulers, when on the verge of facing defeat in their territory, migrated from their place, and along with them, a soldier too migrated from Bhadrachalam in search of fortune. He was Bommi Reddy, and he established a fort at Vellore. He also dug a channel from Suryakundam to fill up the moat with water. A Vijayanagara king by name Venkatapathi Raja ruled over Vellore, and his court resounded with the intellectual discussions of Appaya Dikshitar, Kumara Thathachariar and others. There is a record of an alien traveler who wrote in 1639 AD that Venkatapathi Raja was also known as the Vellore king.
Within the fort, in the north-eastern direction is a tower and a wall which encloses a shrine. More than a shrine, it is a gallery of art. The deity is called Jalakandeswara, formerly called Jvarakandeswara. There are two massive 'dwarapalakas' at the entrance, about eight feet tall. 'Dwarapalakas' means guards, and these statues are believed to guard the treasures inside.
The Vijayanagara style of architecture is quite different from that of the Cholas. They have a distinct style, in the sense that their art is more revealed through kalyana mandapams and gopurams. There is an idol of Mahishasuramardhini inside. It is barely one foot tall, but very delicately carved. The rage in Her eyes is what strikes the devotee. Also attractive is the Asura with bulging eyes, being trampled under Her feet. His pain and writhe is also delicately carved. It so happened that an Englishman visited this temple once. He attempted to uproot the Kalyana mandapam in this temple and decided to install it in a museum in England. But the ship in which he travelled was caught in a storm and it drowned.
At the entrance of the temple, one can spot Bommi Reddy with his wife. A peculiar aspect of this temple is that all the four corners of the outer corridor have kalyana mandapams. In the north western part of the temple is a well. Though it appears as a well now, it was earlier used as a secret passage to store treasures.