About the place
Srirangapatna (Also known as Srirangapattana, Srirangapatnam, Seringapatam) is an island town on the Bangalore-Mysore highway (15 Km from Mysore, Karnataka, India) encircled by river Cauvery. The town dates back to at least 894 AD when Chieftain Thirumalaiah built the temple of Lord Sriranganatha. The island town was the capital of Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan – The Tiger of Mysore. The ruined-preserved state of the town today points to its past glory. Climate is pleasant throughout the year. However, November to April is best.
What to see
Daria Daulat Bagh: This was Tipu’s summer palace and was built in 1784 in Indo Saracenic style (other example being Victoria Memorial, Kolkata). The palace is made of teak. There are lush green lawns in surrounding the palace. Inside the palace, several paintings, coins, maps of the days of Hyder/Tipu are reminiscent of the battles of the father son duo. However, photography and videography are prohibited inside. The canal-pipes duo made me assume some kind of fountain, now defunct. Don’t really know whether there is/was any. But captured it in the photograph nevertheless.
Gumbaz: Inside the tomb Hyder Ali has been laid to rest in the middle and on either side are the tombs of his wife Fatima Begum and son Tipu Sultan. Gumbaz has splendid ebony doors inlaid with ivory. The walls inside are covered with Tipu’s favorite Tiger stripes. Tipu’s wife, sons and relatives are buried just outside the main structure. A guide inside Gumbaz will tell you some tales of the Tipu days, and in return, he expects INR 10/20. According to the guide, the housing structures adjoining Gumbaz served as Guest house for the soldiers. Next to the Gumbaz is a mosque Masjid-e-aksa.
Sangam: 1km from Gumbaz is Sangam, the place where the River Loakpavani joins the River Cauvery. From Srirangapatna you can take an auto to this spot. The way is pretty straightforward, so even if you are on a personal vehicle, it shouldn’t be difficult for you. This is a popular picnic spot and is a beautiful place. From here the river follows into the Mettur Dam in Tamil Nadu. You may tour the river on the circular vessels/handwoven rafts shown in the adjoining picture. The ride becomes adventurous when the Boatman shows his skills and moves the vessel in circular motion. Trust me, it is adventurous, and often scary. We also encountered such vessels (called parisal in Tamil) in my Hogenakkal trip.
Old Fort: Only ruins of the fort-walls remain to date. Vehicles are allowed inside, where there’s a mini township. The fort has 7 must-see places as pointed in the adjoining picture – mosque, temple, dungeon, water gate among others. It is from this Fort that Tipu’s soldiers launched attack against the British. There is an obelisk in the fort in the place where he died, after being betrayed by his own men. Inside the fort there is a mosque and the Ranganathaswamy Temple. You may also see some spots where Tipu’s men stored their gunpowder.
Jumma Masjid: Also known as Masjid-e-Ala, Jumma Masjid was constructed in Tipu Sultan’s reign, in 1784. It is a grand structure with two lofty octagonal minarets. The minarets stand on a high platform with an open court in the front. I also came across something very interesting – 99 names of Allah is inscribed on the walls of the prayer hall on the western side. Also, the ground floor of the Masjid has a porch (or verandah) where many pupils were studying when we reached there. The sight was, well, conducive to study. Oh by the way, I took this picture standing on a moving (and turning!) Tanga.
Ranganathaswamy Temple: The temple was built by Chieftain Thirumalaiah in 894 AD. The temple is enormous and its architecture is a mix of Hoysala and Vijaynagara styles. Vishnu, enshrined as Lord Ranganatha (Ranganathaswamy), is shown reclining on the bed laid out by the serpent Aadi Sesha. The Chaturvimsati (meaning 24 in Sanskrit) pillars before the inner entrance has the cravings of the 24 forms of Vishnu. The temple also has shrines of Krishna, Ranganayaki Thaayaar, Goutama Muni, Alwars and Acharyas of the Vaishnava faith. There is a gigantic Rath, placed just outside the temple. Once a year, devotees pull the Rath and encircle the Temple. The festival is a boiled down version of RathaYatra of JagannathaPuri.
Colonel Bailey’s Dungeon: Colonel Bailey died in these dungeons in 1780AD. It also imprisoned Captain Baird, Captain Rulay, Colonel Brithwite, Samson among others. A guide will tell you : British prisoners were kept standing, with their outstretched hands handcuffed for 22 hours a day, with a resting period of 2 hours. During the siege of Srirangapatna, one cannon rolled back, pierced the ceiling and fell into the dungeon. And to this day it is lying there. Also visible in the top-left of the picture are few steps protruding from the wall. These were used by night-watchmen to climb down during the day. Beyond the walls of the dungeon is the river Cauvery. Rocky riverbed and some vegetation make it a good sight.
Water Gate: People of the Fort township used to fetch water from river Cauvery using this secret gate. This was the gate through which British soldiers entered the fort and killed Tipu. Another version of the story says that the British spilled water in the basement through this gate where Tipu’s army stored gunpowder. This rendered all the gunpowder useless. You may read more about the Battle of Seringapatam here.
TravellersDiary leaves you with some pictures of other must-see places inside the fort. You’ll know enough history when you visit place – through a guide, tanga-wallah or a board outside the must-see place.
Getting there/Town Transport
From Bangalore – Car: Drive down the Mysore Highway via Maddur to Srirangapatna. A taxi to Srirangapatna costs INR 1,200 approx Bus: Services every 20 min from Majestic (Platform No. 17) for Mysore. Step down the bus at Srirangapatnam, 15 km before Mysore. Roam around for 5 hrs and then go to Mysore. This will save at least 4 hours if you had planned to stay at Mysore, then visit the island town and go back to Mysore.
From Chennai: Car: Srirangapatna is a comfortable 460 odd km drive on NH4 to Bangalore via Chittoor and Karnataka State Highway 17 via Maddur.
The town has a bus stand well connected to Bangalore and Mysore. All the buses in this route has a stop here. Local buses ply with 20min frequency. SUVs, Auto and the odd Tanga are available at the bus stop for city tour.
Where to stay
If you are on a single day tour, no need to stay. Return to Bangalore/Mysore on the same day. If you are on multiple days tour, best option is to stay in Mysore. However, if you really want to stay in the town, Karnataka Tourism lists two hotels here – Ambelee Hotel Resort (Tel: 91-8236-52326) and Hotel Mayura River View (91-8236-52114).
If you want to relive certain pages of Indian history, have just one day and live around Bangalore/Mysore, Srirangapatna is the preferred choice. The place will make you feel as if you were a character of the TV series ‘The Sword of Tipu Sultan‘. You can witness numerous characters and settings from the history books – Hyder Ali, Fatima Begum, THE SWORD, Tipu’s fort, Water gate, Colonel Bailey, Daria Daulat Bagh live here.
Reach Srirangapatna at around 10 am and take a tour of the fortress-island town on your vehicle. Autos are also available (@INR 70 per person). However, TravellersDiary recommends renting an odd Tanga (Horse carriage), where you can relive the old world charm. It will cost you INR 40 per person, will take more time than other means, but will give you two different experiences – ample time to see the locales so that the ‘places to see’ seep through, and the ‘tak tak’ tapping sound of the horse’s feet. The roads are good, so it wouldn’t be back-breaking. Plus, the Tanga-walla may agree to be your guide, free of cost. The picture here shows my parents, uncle and maasi on a tanga.
More about the Temple
More TravellersDiary pictures here
P.S. Let me know if the post was useful/useless to you. Bouquets/Brickbats are welcome