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Gumbaz, the mausoleum of Tippu Sultan

If you are traveling by road, this appears like one of those non descript towns you wriggle past. If you travel by train Shrirangapatna (Station Code: S) appears like an unassuming railway station. But that was not the case some 200 years back. Formidable and cosmopolitan , Srirangapatna was the citadel of Mysore Kingdom for many decades. What had been happening and not happening at Srirangapatna was profound in deciding India’s colonial past.

Welcome to the capital of Tipu Sultan!

Srirangapatna is located ner to Mysore, on the SH17 to Bangalore
Srirangapatna is located ner to Mysore, on the SH17 to Bangalore

Geographically , Srirangapatna is a rocky island formed by Cauvery River.That made it significant from a military as well as religious point of view. The religious history of Srirangapatna dates back to 9th century AD when the Gangas ( Ganga dynasty ) ruled this region from their capital at Talakkadu. They built the Sri Ranganathaswamy temple in this island and hence the name Srirangapatna.

Signpost directing to Attractions in Srirangapatna and other tourist places nearby
Signpost directing to Attractions in Srirangapatna and other tourist places nearby

Later when the region came under the power of Vijayanagara Empire, Srirangapatna was the base of the Vijayanagara’s viceroys. This continued till about 1610 when the ruler of Mysore refused continue the vassal status of Vijayanagara and captured Srirangapatna. The Wodayar king moved his capital (of Mysore) to Srirangapatna. Later the capital was moved out of Srirangapatna to the present day Mysore City.

During the rise of Hyder Ali, the general of Mysore king, Srirangapatna again came into prominence. Hyder Ali and his much famed son Tipu Sultan converted Srirangapatna into a fortified city. That continued for many decades as the power center of south India. Between 1766 and 1799 four wars were fought between the English East India Company and the Mysore, known in history as the Mysore Wars.

The first two were decisive against the Company forces. In that third Mysore War, Tipu Sultan suffered greatly and in the treaty that ensued he had to relinquish a great part of his kingdom (Mysore) to the allied forces of East India Company. The fourth and that last of Mysore war saw the fall of Tipu. The final battle , “Siege of Seringapatam” ,was fought in this island. After a long siege the fort of Srirangapatna was breached. Tipu Sultan was killed in the pitch battle that followed the siege. The English reinstalled the Wodeyars of Mysore as the ruler of Mysore. After the fall of Tipu, Srirangapatna lost its significance as a capital. The English troops used it as a garrison for some times before moving it out to Bangalore.

Sri Ranganathaswamy temple
Gateway of Sri Ranganathaswamy temple in Srirangapatna

This island is sprinkled with numerous historic and religious monuments. The spiritual sanctity of its religious landscape saddles beautifully with the nostalgic air of its valor past. There are over four dozen such spots in Srirangapatna. However the general tourist crowd that visit Srirangapatna seems satisfied with a few ‘popular’ attractions. Thanks to the proximity of the glittering Mysore, Srirangapatna is often marked for a quick detour, that is if time permits!

Visitors with ample time in hand can take a full days tour of Srirangapatna. If that is not possible cover the triangle comprising of Sri Ranganathaswamy temple, Gumbaz and the Darya Daulat.

The Bangalore-Mysore road (SH17) passes right through the Srirangapatna island. That is if you are traveling from Bangalore to Mysore by road, you will cross Srirangapatna town. When you enter Srirangapatna from Bangalore, attractions like Sri Ranganathaswamy temple, Masjid-E-Ala, Tipu’s place of death, the fort etc are on your right. Take a right deviation at the town square for Darya Daulat, Gumbaz, Nimishamba Temple, Gosai Ghat etc.

The railway station of Shrirangapatna ( Code:S) is located right behind the Sri Ranganathaswamy temple.

Probably the oldest attraction in Shrirangapatna is the Sri Ranganathaswamy temple, after which the place is named. The loft tower of the temple dominates the sky.

City Bus from Mysore at Srirangapatna
City Bus from Mysore at Srirangapatna

Dungeon, Jibi Gate,Ranganatha Temple,Narasimha Temple, Palace, Ghat,Gamgadharesware Temple, Water Gate,Tipu’s Death Place , Masjid-e-ala,Bangalore Gate,Flag staff Cavalier, Mysore Gate, Daria Daulat Bagh,Obelisk,Abbe Dubois church, Bailee’s Tomb,Gumbaz,Cauvery confluence (Sangam),Gosai Ghat.

Rice fields lined by coconut plantations in Srirangapatna
Rice fields lined by coconut plantations in Srirangapatna
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