Tam: வேலூர் vēlūr
‘Babul Tree Town’ City/District, Tamil Nadu
From Tam: vēl , ‘babul tree’ [Vachellia nilotica]; and ūr, ‘village’, ‘town’.
The babul, a thorny tree with yellow flowers, is also known as the gum arabic, thorn mimosa, Egyptian acacia or thorny acacia. The twigs of the tree have traditionally been used a toothbrush and the gum is used in medicines, dyes and paints.
The other suggestion is that the name comes form the vēl , ‘spear’ which is the favoured weapon of Murugan, the Tamil god par excellence.
Vellore Fort was built in 1556 and served the Vijayayanagara Empire, the Bijapur Sultanate and the Nawab of the Carnatic.
The British gained control of the fort in 1760 and, following Tipu Sultan’s defeat at Srirangapatam, it was used to house the surviving members of his family.
Vellore was the site of the 1806 Vellore Revolt when sepoys, protesting about uniform changes which included the use of leather, were imprisoned, flogged and discharged. The conflict was ignited by the secret intervention of Tipu Sultan’s sons who encouraged a fully fledged mutiny. In the suppression of the revolt 350 sepoys were killed and a further 24 executed for their part in the insurrection.