February 26, 2014

Srirangapatna- Tipu Sultan's Isle...!!


Surrounded by river Cauvery , the the river island of Srirangapatna came into prominence after Tipu Sultan, one of the fiercest rulers made it his capital. Situated close to the cultural city of Mysore, this small island exudes the languorous character of a town that still breathes the fame and valour of its erstwhile ruler. The reminiscences of the empire are still evident and most of it are well maintained by the archaeological survey of India. State highway that connects Bengaluru and Mysore cuts the island into two . While travelling from Bengaluru, the fort enclosure and Ranganatha swamy temple is on the right, while Daria Daulat Bagh, Gumbaz and sangam is on the road that leads to the left.

Started early from Bengaluru and had a short stop at Maddur for breakfast before reaching Srirangapatna. I took a right near the bus stand which led me through the narrow road lined with street vendors and went past the Bangalore gate into the heart of this small river island. The island does have a few other entrance gates, namely Mysore gate, Delhi gate, Elephant gate and Water gate. The gates were the entrances into the fort from different sides during the times of Tipu. The first structure that I encountered after entering the fort walls was Jama Masjid, soaked in turmeric yellow. I rode past the masjid and Narasimha temple, and the straight road took me to Ranganatha swamy temple. The road is lined with vendors selling temple paraphernalia, food stalls and horses which are lined up to lure the visitors for a ride.The tall gopuram (entrance tower), though under renovation, looked quite attractive with its wonderful architecture. Built with a beautiful blend of both Hoysala and Vijayanagara architecture, the temple has Vishnu in reclining position as its main deity. The inside of the temple also has some wonderful architectural display on its pillars, ceilings, walls and in its courtyard. The temple teemed with both pilgrims and tourists and I made my way out after paying homage to the lord.


Bangalore gate
Ranganathaswamy temple


The places of interest have been marked with directions at most crossroads, which helps the tourists. I began with the ruins of Tipu Sultan's palace, also known as Lal mahal, less than 200 meters from the temple. Though only the base structure and a few broken walls remain, the palace was once well known for its splendid designs, rooms and halls of magnificent proportions and underground drains. The palace was dismantled during Colonel Wellesley's rule in early 19th century. The gate was closed when I visited and I peered from outside to have a glimpse of the ruins.


Lal mahal
The road from there took me along the fort walls to Colonel Bailey's dungeon, one of the most visited places on the island. A bastion cleverly conceals this dungeon and cannot be seen unless you reach very close. Many British prisoners including Bailey were chained onto the stone slabs and imprisoned here. I walked down to the dungeon and noticed that it had beautiful symmetric arches. There is a huge canon in the centre of the dungeon which had come down crashing through the roof during a battle. The big hole in the roof can be seen right above the canon. I walked back and captured a few frames of the beautiful cauvery, that flows next to fort wall.


Bailey's dungeon

As I rode on, the road to the Obelisk disappeared suddenly and all that I could see was a narrow trail which led to a secluded part of the fort. Greenery had overgrown onto the fort boundaries and the walls could barely be seen. There were a couple of  shepherds who were relaxing as their sheep enjoyed the pasture. The trail that led to the obelisk was across an undulating landscape. I trudged to reach the top where the obelisk is situated and there wasn't another soul around. Situated in the western corner of the island, next to the fort walls, the obelisk was erected in memory of the British soldiers who died during the siege of Srirangapatna. Since it is located at a corner of the fort, the views from the obelisk are beautiful. I walked back to my bike and then went past the dilapidated Delhi gate and Water gate to a few bathing ghats. These gates have narrow paths which lead to over grown bushy trails which ends at the bank of the river. I rode further past the small tea stalls, neatly painted houses and groups of chatting locals, in search of more history. The island definitely has a quaint charm of its own. There is a memorial erected at the place where Tipu Sulthan's body was found during the fourth Anglo-Mysore war in 1799. Another dungeon that I visited was Thomas Inmam's dungeon, which was used by Tipu Sultan and Haider Ali to imprison Maratha invaders and other Indian prisoners. 



The Obelisk
Delhi gate

I then rode my way back to Bangalore gate after circumnavigation of the fort and my last place of visit was Jama masjid, soaked in turmeric yellow. I so wish the mosque was painted in white, which would have given it a lot of elegance. However, the beautiful architecture with tall minarets somewhat made up for the weird colour sense. As I walked in, it was a delight to see a number of young children trod in for their Islamic studies since  the masjid doubles up as a madrasa. It was so calm and peaceful inside, and the only sound that disturbed was the cooing of the many doves that happily nestled inside the minarets. It doesn't come as a surprise why Tipu offered him namaaz at this beautiful mosque.


Jamia Masjid

Across the highway, the first place of stop was Daria Daulat Bagh, the summer palace of Tipu Sultan. Built in 1784, this palace is now preserved as a museum amidst sprawling greenery. Built on a raised platform, it has open corridors and wooden pillars.The palace extensively displays beautiful intricate murals depicting victories in war, scenes from Sulthan's noble court and various portraits. It also houses a list of Tipu's memorabilia, historical data, European paintings and Persian manuscripts. The palace definitely gives a thorough insight into the life of Tipu Sultan, the various wars fought and the fall of Srirangapatna.


Daria Daulat Bagh
From Tipu's summer palace I went past a Catholic cemetery and  took a right turn at Abbe Dubois church to ride past vast open fields and deserted narrow winding roads to Ghosai ghat. There are a few shrines by the Cauvery at this bathing ghat. Interestingly there were a few idols on a couple of rocks jutting from the river. It seemed like a surreal frame as the idols placed on the rocks stared in oblivion and the cauvery peacefully flowed against a green background. The left turn from Abbe Dubois church leads to the famous Nimishamba temple, which I skipped. 


Ghosai ghat
Gumbaz, the mausoleum of Tipu Sultan and his parents lies about a kilometer away from the church. I gazed at the beautiful structure with impressive intricate Islamic architecture for a while before entering the inner chamber. It extensively displayed the exceptional skills of workmanship. Gumbaz was built by Tipu Sultan and enshrines the tombs of Haider Ali, his wife Fathima Begum and Tipu himself. A magnificent large dome crowns the structure with polished black granite pillars, carved windows and stands on a wide stone platform. There are also numerous other tombs in the outer courtyard which belongs to the relatives of Tipu. Next to the Gumbaz is a mosque, Masjid-E-Aksa, which also has wonderful architecture. 

Gumbaz
The tombs inside the chamber
Masjid-E-Aksa
After paying homage to the Tiger of Mysore, I rode to my last destination- Sangam, which is further east of Gumbaz. I was greeted by hoards of pilgrims, cormorants spreading their wings on jutting rocks, vendors selling eatables and semi immersed idols at this confluence of two tributaries of Cauvery. Cauvery looks most gorgeous at this point as it flows at its vigorous best. Many pilgrims who visit the place consider a dip in these waters as sacred. Numerous coracles can be spotted which are ready to take the visitors on a ride. There is a small shrine at the confluence near the steps that leads down to the gorgeous Cauvery. 


The flowing Cauvery
Sangam


After a few solitude moments at the Sangam, gazing at the serene landscape, I rode back to Bengaluru. For a moment I stopped by to capture the age old stone pillared Wellesley's bridge, which connects Srirangapatna to the mainland. It still stands strong over the Cauvery even after heavy floods over the last couple of centuries and helps people travel from the chaotic world to the world of a bygone era.


Wellesley's bridge

Signing Note- Soak in the quaintness of this river island as you enrich your historical knowledge...!!

Route- Bengaluru- Ramnagara- Maddur- Mandya- Srirangapatna

Distance- 125 Kms

34 comments:

  1. Very interesting place, so full of history, stories and wonderful monuments...Good to know that they are protected...

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  2. Loved the entire set of pictures! The place really looks grand through your lens.

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    1. Thank you, Mridula. It definitely is a great place drenched in history.

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  3. I have been to this place last year :) and your pics said they are still the same except fr the gopuram

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    1. Most places have been quite well maintained by ASI.

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  4. It was a thriller. A few minutes ago I was going through a post on the tomb of Ghulam Ali who was Tipu's PM. However he was known as a traitor. His tomb is also in Srirangapatna. I recommend you to go through: http://theuforce.blogspot.in/

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    Replies
    1. Glad you liked it. I have read Tipu was cheated by his own men. Shall definitely go through that blog.

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  5. Beautiful shots! This place is gonna b on my itinerary the next time I visit Bangalore.

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  6. Very very much beautiful images for an ancient time great work
    Here is something about 700 years old village,
    http://photobagh.blogspot.com/2013/10/700-years-old-village-shah-allah-ditta.html

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  7. Beautiful architecture around.

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  8. I appreciate that all pics captured the best way as though you have a long experience. Splendid deed with nice content & my favorites will be the Wellesley's bridge that which has inspired me a lot. Thanks for!!

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  9. Replies
    1. I had been during the monsoons and it was quite green all around.

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  10. Lovely photos and narrative Niranjan. We visited Srirangapatna over two decades ago!! I remember how pristine and unspoilt it was. The Gumbaz seems to have been spruced up a bit.

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    1. Thank you, Madhu. Yes, most monuments have been well kept and had a fresh coat of paint.

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  11. Thanks Niranjan for a nice post and capturing many places which a regular tourists don't see. Having been to the place many times, we feel sad on the sheer neglect in not protecting the monuments. Time to declare it as a heritage city and take up restoration in big way.

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    1. Glad you liked it. Most of the monuments in Srirangapatna has been well maintained by ASI.

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  12. beautiful narrative and pics....i did not know about this though I did visit mysroe..so next time if am in bangalore...will visit this one for sure!!


    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com

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  13. Lovely compositions Niranjan! But, did you manipulate color saturation?

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. I did tone up a couple of them as they were quite dull.

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