Saturday, 7 March 2015

Srirangapatna : The Sultanate of Tipu Sultan!

As a last post in the series of Mysore Trip, i would take you to historical Srirangapatna, a place which has kept intact the legacy and heritage of it's erstwhile famous rulers, the land, which has been associated with the likes of Wodeyar Kings, Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan. Be it indefatigable spirit and valor of Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan, their rise and fall, betrayal for power or struggle with British rule, Srirangapatna has seen it all. If you have started thinking that the history of the place starts with these rulers, then you have made a wrong perception, as the city also boasts of the Ranganathswamy Temple, one of the oldest and the most important vaishnavite temples of South India. The city is surrounded by River Cauveri and has it's religious significance too.

On the last day of our Mysore Trip, we planned to visit Srirangapatna, which is 15 km away from Mysore city and falls in adjacent Mandya district of Karnataka. 

Honestly speaking, hearing the name of Srirangapatna, the first name, which comes to my mind is that of Tipu Sultan and the objective of our trip was also to discover his heroics and exploits. So, i along with my two friends went to Srirangapatna from Mysore by Auto and reached there in half an hour. The first spot, we visited was Tipu Sultan Summer Palace and Museum.

The Palace and museum is being maintained by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The site is open for public between 09:00 AM to 05:00 PM.

When i had entered the palace of Wodeyars at Mysore, i was mesmerized by it's grandeur and only thought, which crossed my mind was that how opulent the lifestyle of those kings was and how rich architecture, they had developed. In fact, the interiors of the palace and the artifacts kept at display were signalling towards the fact that they had less troubled life and they preferred to maintain cordial relationship with all. However, when i entered the palace of Tipu Sultan, the thought came to my mind that this palace must have been the centre of  many important activities of that era, from wresting control of Mysore by Tipu Sultan from the wodeyar rulers to the series of wars with the East India Company in an effort to keep Britishers at bay. Nothing would have been easy for this kingdom, as the enemies were mighty and cunning too. It would have been an uphill task for Haider Ali to wrest Srirangapatna from mighty wodeyars and sustain his hold over the regime amid prying eyes of British eagles looking to annex some territory and wodeyar kings with bruised ego, looking for an opportunity to snatch back their land. It would have been more arduous for Tipu Sultan to maintain the sovereignty of his sultanate extended to Mysore, for his heroics earned him more enemies (Britishers, Marathas and Nizam of Hyderabad) and more battles to win. Srirangapatna has been silent witness to both his victory and his decimation.

Summer Palace of Tipu Sultan

Inside the Palace
After having spent some time in power corridors of Mysore Principality, we visited the tomb of Tipu Sultan. There was huge gathering at the tomb that day. Some tiny shops selling wooden artifacts related to the local hero, such as sword, horses, guns and cannons were there, just outside the tomb premises, which meant, the tomb gets regular footfalls. As we went inside the tomb, we saw the cenotaphs of the illustrious trio, i.e. Tipu Sultan, his father Haider Ali and mother Fakrunnisa. Outside the main Gumbaz, there were cenotaphs of all the relatives of Tipu Sultan, his sisters, sister-in-laws, brother-in-laws and his step mother. The tomb is a grim reminder that nothing is eternal and permanent in this world, not even an empire. The Gumbaz was built by Tipu Sultan himself for his father and mother, who was oblivious of the future that someday, he will also be buried beside them.

Gumbaz: Tomb of Tipu Sultan

Picturesque Tomb amidst well-laid Garden

The Warriors resting in peace
From there, we proceeded to the Ranganath swamy temple and along the way, we came across the place, where the dead body of the Sultan was found. Not any big monument has been erected there, only a cement board displaying the information was found.
The place, where Tipu Sultan was found dead
After having some photographs of the site, we went first near River Cauveri (Kaveri), which is considered sacred in this region and then the famous temple of Lord Vishnu. The rivers have been held in reverence in all parts of India and river Cauveri is not an exception. The temple of Sri Ranganath Swamy Temple was also nearby and we went to offer prayers to Lord Ranganath, the manifestation of Lord Vishnu. The town of Srirangapatna has derived it's name from the temple and it's a major pilgrimage centre in South India. The temple was built in 948 AD in Vijayanagara Architecture and renovated during 12th century AD by Hoysala Kings.It is one of the five temples of Lord Ranganath, situated on the banks of river Cauveri. During my Mysore trip, this was the oldest temple, i visited and still it looked rock-solid. I was curious that how the temple has survived so long that too being located near a river, but this is the case with many temples in South India, which are centuries old and still going strong. The temple is being conserved by ASI as the monument of national importance. 

In the sanctum, there is idol of Lord Vishnu reclining on the coils of Sheshnaag with his wife Goddess Laxmi at his feet. This idol is considered one of the largest idol of Lord Vishnu. There are other smaller shrines too in the temple for other hindu gods. There are some other idols of Goddess Kali, which have been kept inside closed doors and devotees can only peep through small holes to have Darshana. The atmosphere at the temple was becoming highly spiritual with devotees chanting inside the temple premises. Spending some time in these tranquil abodes of God, one can feel the connect with the divine.
Ranganath swamy Temple
Now was the time to return to our hotel at Mysore and we started coming back with the satisfaction of seeing most of the Mysore in the last 5 days. But there was something, which we had missed so far and that came in our way only in fag end of our trip. St. Philomena Church, which is a gigantic and beautiful piece of Neo-Gothic Architecture. A brief halt at the magnificent church and our trip to Mysore was complete.

                                                                      St. Philomena Church, Mysore                                  

With this, we bade goodbye to a heritage city, which is also on the path of becoming one of the most modern city in India.

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Sunday, 1 March 2015

Mysore Trip: Musical Night at Brindavan Gardens

In the last post, you read about my trip to Mysore Palace and i do hope that you would have liked reading my travel account on picturesque and imposing palace. During third day of our stay in Mysore, the official work kept us busy whole day and we were too exhausted to venture out of our hotel rooms.  

Next day was reserved for field visit and we planned that after field visit, if time permits, we will travel to Brindavan Gardens-aka-Krishnarajasagar Dam, an architectural marvel  of South India. 

Early morning, we left for H D Kote, a place around 50-55 km away from Mysore and venue of our field visit, where we visited some villages and interacted with villagers, especially rural women to peek into their daily lives, as part of our field visit. The idea was to know, how rural women residing in remote areas were eking out a living by coming together to form a Self-help group and whether they were happy with the outcome of their joint efforts to attain prosperity. We were happy to see enthusiastic faces and hear them telling their success stories.It was heartening to observe that how a small group of rural and mostly illiterate women could prosper by adopting various livelihood activities with little financial support and hand holding by Government agencies. In rural India, driving auto and taxi for earning livelihood may be a liberating experience for a woman and it was satisfying to note that many women were driving vehicles in their villages and nearby places itself, as their income generating activities. We visited some other SHG members too and got to know the similar stories.

Before, i get completely derailed, let's come back on the track and come along on the journey of the ethereal Brindavan Gardens.While returning from H D Kote, we headed towards Brindavan Gardens. It was one and half hours drive and we reached there by 4:30 in the evening. The garden is near Krishnarajasagar Dam, which is built across Cauvery river, one of the major rivers of Southern India. The garden is around 18 km away from Mysore city and around 145 km from Bangalore.

After reaching there, we purchased entry tickets for Rs. 15/- per person and joined the heavy crowd rushing towards the largest attraction of the garden, i.e. Musical Fountain show. The show was to start on 06:30 PM and we had some time with us, hence we decided to enjoy boat ride. After our brief stint with boating, we also rushed towards the venue of musical fountain. There were many fountains along the way illuminating in colorful lights. And finally there we were, in front of dancing waters. A huge crowd was there, some sitting on terraced slabs and some latecomers like us, were standing to catch a glimpse of the musical magic unfolding before our eyes. The atmosphere was electrifying and audience was cheering constantly in appreciation of the wonderful synchronization of light, music and water. Some popular bollywood songs such as "Dhoom Macha Le" and kannada songs sung by S P Bala subramanyam were being played. It was quite an experience. Anybody travelling to Mysore, must visit Brindavan Gardens.

Brindavan Garden, Mysore

                                                      Musical Fountains                                                      

                                    Vibrant Colours at Brindavan Garden                            

                                                              Fountain at Brindavan Garden                                              courtesy :

About Brindavan Gardens 

Brindavan Garden is one of the most beautiful terrace gardens in the world. The idea of creation of Brindavan Gardens at the site of Krishnarajasagar (KRS) Dam was of Sir Mirja Ismail, then Diwan of Mysore State. The whole dam complex has been beautified on the lines of Shalimar Gardens of Kashmir. The KRS dam was built by Chief Engineer of Princely state of Mysore, Sir M Visweshwaraih in 1924 and the beautification of dam was started in 1927. The garden is spread over an area of 60 acres and it is laid out in the three terraces. The slopes are planted with colourful Bougainvilleas and ornamental plants. The garden is enriched with innumerable fountains decorated with colored lighting. The illuminated running waters and fountains with changing colours of lights is an event that the tourists must see in the evenings. The garden has many open spaces, lawns, illuminated flower beds and ornamental plants. It also has well laid out roads and pathways. The boating pond in the midst of the garden is a location where the visitors can enjoy a boat ride. The whole garden when illuminated is an enchanting site to see.

The Musical and dancing fountain, is the main attraction of the visitors. The water, coloured light and music are harmonized in the fountain to create a water ballet.

Garden opens for public from 06:00 am to 08:00 PM on week days, while Musical Fountain show is held from 06:30 PM to 07:30 PM on week days and from 06:30 PM to 08:30 PM on Saturdays and Sundays.

In the next post, my mysore trip will come to an end with the visit to Srirangpatna, the kingdom of Tipu Sultan. If you like reading my post, you may show you love through your comments on my blogpost or on facebook blog page Zindagi Ek safar Hai Suhaana.