Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Srirangapatna: Of river islands, a Vishnu temple and Tipu Sultan’s Capital

Beautiful ivory work on the doors of Gumbaz, Srirangapatna

Just a couple of hours from the busy metropolitan of Bangalore is located a tiny river island called Srirangapatna. Today, this town that is sandwiched by the Cauvery river, might be small, but in its hey day, it was an important part of the Ganga dynasty, the Hoysala empire, the Vijayanagara empire and last, but not the least, it was the stronghold of Tipu Sultan, one of the mighty rulers of Karnataka and whose battles with the British are an epic part of history.

For some reason, Srirangapatna is not so famous on the tourist trail or weekend getaway list from Bangalore. May be, it is because, there are other awesome getaways like Bandipur, Ooty, Mysore, Kabini, Coorg and Shivanasamudram nearby. While these destinations are fantastic getaways, I think Srirangapatna has enough history, natural beauty and old world charm to stand out as a holiday destination in itself.


The beautiful view of Tipu Sultan's tomb Gumbaz as you enter the premises in Srirangapatna, Karnataka

When someone mentions Srirangapatna, it is the temple and sacred river that usually comes to mind, but the true monument of Srirangapatna is the mausoleum that holds the ashes of its favorite son – Tipu Sultan. Built by Tipu Sultan as a mausoleum for his father and mother, this Persian styled monument is where one can offer their respects to Tipu Sultan and his family. After all, he was an integral part of India’s Independence movement from South India. The temple is surrounded by a Persian styled garden, a mosque and is located on the quieter side of town.

Daria Daulat Bagh

School girls takes a stroll at Daria Daulat Bagh, Srirangapatna

The Daria Daulat Bagh or the summer palace of Tipu Sultan is another iconic location. It would have been great if the government took better care of this monument and may be allowed clicking photographs without flash inside, but nonetheless, this 18th century palace built in Indo-Sarcenic style using teakwood is a sight to behold. The murals and the paintings inside the palace portray a lot of stories from the era, but they are not in the best of conditions.

The Walled City

Inticate work on Gumbaz, Srirangapatna

The cities ruled by Tipu Sultan were known for its walls, moats and other fortifications and that is why most of his cities are referred to as walled cities. Srirangapatna is one such city too and when you explore the city slowly, you will find garrison cemetery, deserted bungalows and houses from the colonial era, the fort, the dungeon, the cannons and many other elements in ruins from the glorious past.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

Entrance to Gumbaz, Srirangapatna

A medley of Hoysala and Viajayanagar styles of Temple architecture, it is the 9th century Sri Ranganathaswamy temple that lends its name to Srirangapatna. Along with Srirangam and Shivanasamudram, it is one of the most important Vaishnavite centers of pilgrimage in South India. And a great place to find some peace.

Pristine Nature

The river island of Srirangapatna and its surroundings is made up of lush green paddy fields, swaying coconut palms and sugarcane plantations. Even though Ranganathitu is known as a bird’s haven, Srirangaptna’s river banks too attract a lot of birds. The river side, the sangamam (the confluence of the holy rivers) and the entire town in itself is known for its idyllic look and feel and rich nature. If you feel like pristine nature and a view, then head to Karighatta viewpoint, which provides a spectacular view of Srirangapatna and Mysore from within gooseberry and tamarind orchards.

As you can see, Srirangapatna offers that perfect combination of idyllic countryside coupled with rich culture, history and beautiful rustic nature. And its proximity to Bangalore ensures that more of us Bangaloreans can explore this place at will during any weekend or on any other holiday.

How to reach Srirangapatna:

Srirangapatna Gumbaz shining in the setting sun

Srirangapatna is well connected by road and rail. Mysore at 15 kms away is the closest airport and large city hub, while Bangalore, about 115 kms away is the closest metropolitan and with the best connected international airport.

Where to Stay in Srirangapatna:

There is a Karnataka Tourism property called Hotel Mayura River View that is located by the river Cauvery and there are smaller hotels near the temple, bus stand and railway station, but if you are looking for nicer properties, Mysore or Bangalore would be better bets.

Attractions beyond Srirangapatna town:

Locals having a chat on the Gumbaz gardens, Srirangapatna

1) The Ranganathitu bird sanctuary (10 kms away) on the cauvery known for its rich collection of terrestrial and migratory birds. Also, popular place to see nests and young ones.

2) Channapatna (About 55 kms away) is the town of toys and one that makes for a stunning visit, especially if you are with kids.

3) Mysore is only 15 kms away and that means Mysore Palace, Chamundi Hill, Mysore Zoo and Brindavan gardens are pretty close by.

4) The gorgeous Hoysala era Chennakeshava temple of Somnathpur is only about 30 kms away.

5) The underground city of Talakadu is just 45 kms away.

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