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  • Naseef T. P

The Historical Relics at Srirangapatna

Srirangapatna is a small island like a green pendant draped by the Kaveri, 16 km north-east of Mysore town. Kaveri divides into two branches at the north-west corner of this dip, as if a moat is made all around it, and then goes around the dip and joins again at the south-east corner.


Srirangapatna was under the control of the Vijayanagar King. Later in the 17th Century it became the capital of the Mysore State. Hyder Ali was the Commander-In-Chief of Mysore's army and was very powerful. After his death in 1782 A.D, his son Tipu became the Commander-In-Chief. He drove the King out and became the Sultan. In 1799 A.D, the British troops attacked Tipu Sultan and conquered Srirangapatna.


Rows of "fir" trees greet guests like sentinels on both sides of the walkway that leads from the entrance to the mausoleum
Rows of "fir" trees greet guests like sentinels on both sides of the walkway that leads from the entrance to the mausoleum

Gumbaz, the Tomb of Tipu Sultan.


After a long motorcycle ride, we reached the at the ‘Gumbaz’ the tombs of Tipu and Hyder Ali. The Gumbaz is built in the Indo–Islamic architecture style, with a dome situated on a cubical framework, decorative railings, and turrets ornamented with spherical-shaped finishes. This royal mausoleum is at the centre of a vast field surrounded by fruit trees in a serene atmosphere away from the turmoil of the fort. Rows of "fir" trees greet guests like sentinels on both sides of the walkway that leads from the entrance to the mausoleum's courtyard. You will enter a courtyard with white sand after crossing the steps where this walk finishes. To enter, shoes must be removed. This rectangular structure features a silver-colored arch. Shaheed Tipu Sultan had to be laid to rest within this shrine, which Tipu Sultan erected to bury his father, Hyder Ali.


Entrance gate of Gumbaz the Tomb of Tipu
Entrance gate of Gumbaz, the Tomb of Tipu

The Tomb of Tipu Sultan in Srirangapatna
The Tomb of Tipu Sultan in Srirangapatna


Detail of the dome of Gumbaz
Detail of the dome of Gumbaz

Tipu wished to replicate the splendour of the Taj Mahal. Even if it did not succeed, his artistic intuition and aesthetic appreciation were evident in its design. When we sight the 36 marble pillars, as smooth as mirrors, standing on Gumbaz's verandah, we are reminded of the burial procession carrying the coffin. Inside, the walls are decorated with tiger stripes, the colours of Tipu Sultan. Carvings adorn all of the doors and windows.


Doors and Timbers adorn with carvings and Calligraphy
Doors and Windows adorn with carvings and calligraphy

Marble pillars standing on Gumbaz's verandah reminds of the burial procession carrying the coffin.
Marble pillars standing on Gumbaz's verandah reminds of the burial procession carrying the coffin.

By the time we entered the verandah, both gates of the tomb had been opened with a mournful chant. We approached carefully, as though entering a divine presence. Three identical graves can be seen side by side. Tipu Sultan is buried on the westernmost side in a yellow silk-covered tomb. To the east, Hyder Ali, covered in violet silk, and his begum, Fatima Fakhrunnisa, clothed in green silk, are fast asleep. On the plinth of Gumbaz, the tombs of Tipu’s children and other family members can be seen. The silk canopy hanging from the tomb's roof floats in the air like a scarlet cloud. ‘Kudamulla’ flowers left by the visitors on their feet smiled palely. An old man with a grey beard like a silver thread, opens the door to the group of visitors to these tombs. He also tells those there about the bravery of Shaheed Tipu and Hyder Ali.


Tipu Sultan is buried on the westernmost side in a yellow silk-covered tomb. To the east, Hyder Ali, covered in violet silk, and his begum, Fatima Fakhrunnisa, clothed in green silk, are fast asleep
Tipu Sultan is buried on the westernmost side in a yellow silk-covered tomb, to the east, Hyder Ali, covered in violet silk, and his begum, Fatima Fakhrunnisa, clothed in green silk.

Tomb of Tipu Sulthan
Tomb of Tipu Sultan

On the plinth of Gumbaz  the tombs of Tipu’s children and other family members can be seen
On the plinth of Gumbaz the tombs of Tipu’s children and other family members can be seen

The murals on the tomb's roof are incredible. The inside walls of the Gumbaz are painted with tiger stripes, the colours of Tipu Sultan. Marble which might have been brought from other areas is used in the Gumbaz.


The Dome detail of the Gumbaz are painted with tiger stripes, the colours of Tipu Sultan
The Dome detail of the Gumbaz are painted with tiger stripes, the colours of Tipu Sultan

There is a mosque on the west side named Masjid -E – Aqsa, built by Tipu Sultan. On all the four sides there, are L- shaped arcaded buildings.


Angle view of Masjid-E-Aqsa
Angle view of Masjid-E-Aqsa


L shaped arcaded buildings on the sides of Gumbaz
L shaped arcaded buildings on the sides of Gumbaz

For the monuments, brick is the main building material. Lime is used as the mortar. Granite is also used, for example in the construction of the fort walls, because it is widely available in the locality.


Daria Daulat Bagh


Tipu created a massive garden on the south bank of the Cauvery River, which he named the Daria-Daulat, which refers to the "the wealth of the sea". In 1784, he built a summer residence in the centre. The palace is a grand edifice with ornate arabesque design in vibrant colours. The structure, a magnificent example of saracenic architecture, rests on a square platform with wooden pillars and trefoil arches.


Entrance of Daria Daulat Bagh
Entrance of Daria Daulat Bagh

The exterior view of Daria Daulat Bagh
The exterior view of Daria Daulat Bagh


The carved semi arches in the interors of Daria Daulath Bagh
The carved semi arches in the interiors of Daria Daulath Bagh

This beautiful summer palace is built on a five-foot-high square platform. A wide verandah runs round, borne on a tapering lotus formed with timber pillars with trefoil arches. This is a magnificent structure with painted pillars, largely of gold leaf and various colours. The wooden stairwells are also finely carved and painted. Tipu used to host diplomats and other dignitaries in this palace. Some rooms are utilised for dwelling purposes on the east and west sides. He is supposed to have designed this palace after the Moghul palace erected at Sira in the Tumkur district. The abundance of paintings on the walls, pillars, and arches is the most notable feature of this mansion. The designs are very intricate and balconies are excellent works of art. There are interesting paintings on the walls, depicting battle scenes.





This is a magnificent structure with painted pillars, largely of gold leaf and various colours
The interiors of the magnificent structure with painted pillars, largely of gold leaf and various colours.

There were several fighting scenes that Tipu enjoyed seeing since they displayed his dominance against the British. Col. Bailey who was sure of the British defeat, is sitting with his finger on his chin in dismay. In another picture, the victory of Palilur is depicted. The capture of Bailey and the flight of Munro should have given great satisfaction to Tipu. In another artwork, Nizam, who came to the British's aid, is depicted as if he came like a cow and joined the British like a boar. Mir Sadiq's face is painted black in another treacherous image. Most of the contemporaneous rulers, such as Magadi Kempegowda and Madakari Nayaka, are featured in Durbar paintings. Thus, via a flood of light, these paintings depict the present political scenario, including the battles of Hyder and the seven sons of Tipu. These paintings were created by Mysore painters, yet foreign influences may be observed. As a result, these paintings have significant historical and artistic importance.





Interesting paintings on the walls depicting battle scenes
Interesting paintings on the walls depicting battle scenes

This building was used as a residence by Col. Wellesley during his command of the Mysore forces. It was very well looked after by the Estates and Gardens Department of the Mysore government and now by the ASI. In the durbar hall is framed the order of Lord Dalhousie for its preservation, containing extracts from a letter of Lord Wellesley, who later became the Duke of Wellington.


Juma Masjid (Masjid-E-Ala)


This mosque, built in 1787, is a landmark in the city. It is Tipu Sultan's favourite mosque. The mosque includes an east-facing prayer hall preceded by a four-pillared verandah and a platform. The Juma Masjid is a grand structure with two lofty minarets noted for their majesty and grace. Juma Masjid is situated to the north-west of the Bangalore gate. The mosque contains three inscriptions. Of these, the Arabic inscription mentions the nine titles of the Prophet Mohammad. The Persian inscription gives the name of Tipu Sultan as the builder of this mosque, called Masjid-E-Ala, and also the date A.H. 1215 (1782 AD).



View of Juma Masjid - Masjid-E-Ala
View of Juma Masjid - Masjid-E-Ala

The hall of the mosque has a number of trefoil arches and a Mihrab (a hollow vertical niche) in the west wall, symbolising the light. On the walls of the hall are found stone inscriptions with quotations from the Quran, etc. The shafts of the minarates are ornamented with cornices and floral bands, while near the top are two narrow terraces with ornamental parapets.


We headed from Daria-Daulath Bagh to Tipu's Lal Mahal. We immediately came to a halt on the bike when sighted a board. It was the place where Tipu Sultan was assassinated. It is place where the pile of corpses of several soldiers on 4 th of May, 1799. We were greeted by an elderly man. His first query was, "Where are you from?" A warm smile crept over his face as soon as he heard the statement that we were from Kerala. Later, he detailed on the place and Hazrat Tipu Sultan, the brave warrior who shook the British people.


Spot where Tipu Sultan was assassinated
Spot where Tipu Sultan was assassinated

Then, he began narrating the sorrowful incident...


The Sultan learned with sadness that Syed Gaffar, his faithful warrior, had been slain in a skirmish with the British. He raced to the warfront with his horse before completing the lunch that had been served. His horse was shot down as he advanced against the British force that had infiltrated the fort through the Watergate. Sultan fell to the ground. Faced with death, he fought again with his small army. Finally, a soldier's bullet mark was found. Sultan was assassinated. A marble plaque says 'Tipu Sultan's dead body was found here' at the location where Tipu's body was found. The place where the greatest bravery the country has ever seen is burned to flames. Hearing the old man's words, eyes were filled with tears.


He went into detail yet again. “The shot dead bodies were pulled out one by one and examined. In the meantime, they saw the name of an apprentice who was shot through the ear, on the ring and on the sword hanging from his waist - that was Tipu Sultan. What happened next was unparalleled cruelty. All those who were seen in front were shot down regardless of whether they were soldiers or villagers. The women of Anthapuram were brutally raped and killed by taking them to Daria Daulat”. Cauvery became a river of blood with piles of corpses. In the streets of Srirangapatna, the corpses began to rot.


According to historical documents, after Tipu's death, an eight-day treasure hunt and raids took place at Srirangapatna. All of the temple riches were plundered. The golden arches and doors of the Lal Mahal Palace were dismantled. All of Tipu's valuable jewelled swords and treasures were smuggled in with the jewels.


Interior view of Daria Daulath Bagh
Interior view of Daria Daulath Bagh


Intricate carvings on the walls, balconies and pillars
Intricate carvings on the walls, balconies and pillars

Lal Mahal Palace


It was almost dusk when we reached Lal Mahal Palace, near Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple. The Lal Mahal Palace was the residence of Tipu's father, HyderAli, who fought till his last breath against British imperialism. The eyes will well up when you see the present condition of this royal palace where HyderAli's memories are bound. Today, just crumbled walls and brick blocks remain. The Sultan spent the majority of his time herewhen he is at at Srirangapatna. Tipu adored and respected Lal Mahal Palace since it was his father's residence.




Crumbled walls of Lal Mahal Palace
Crumbled walls of Lal Mahal Palace

In 1791, Tipu Sultan's Lal Mahal was renovated and built. It was Tipu who added the golden arches and doors. Howerver, after Tipu's sons were exiled by the British as part of the Srirangapatna treaty, Tipu Sultan, who led a tranquil life, utilized the Lal Mahal Palace only for sleeping at night. The Sultan did not wear coloured garments once his sons were exiled. After two years, the children returned, but Tipu continued to live the life of a ‘fakir‘.


The British took away the palace's primary artefacts after Tipu's death, but the structure of the palace remained. But following reports that Tipu's heirs would claim the right in the future, which would result in disputes, the British government, fearing even the memory of Tipu, ten years after Tipu's death, on the advice of Lord Wellesley, demolished most of this palace too.


Exterior view of Sri Ranganathaswami Temple
Exterior view of Sri Ranganathaswami Temple

The photographs were captured by T.P. Naseef.


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