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Srirangapatna is the largest of the three islands in the Kaveri River and is about 2 miles long and a little more than a mile wide. By road it is about 140 kilometers or 87 miles from Bangalore and 15 kilometers or 9 miles from Mysore. It derives its name from the deity of the temple located on its western side. The Kaveri River splits to form this island and the western side of the island is revered by local people. They hold special Puja (prayer ceremonies) in this area regularly. While the British forces had plundered the city after the final battle and destroyed the palace of Tipu Sultan and his Fort, they left the religious structures intact. The temple of Shri Ranganatha is constructed in a blend of Hoysala and Vijayanagar architecture. The temple is very popular among local people. The Jain Basdi, dedicated principally to Adinath, houses images of all the 24 Jain Tirthankaras. The Jama Masjid nearby was built by Tipu Sultan and has two minarets that dominate the landscape.
Winter is the best time to visit this place as the humidity during summer makes traveling uncomfortable. Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary on a group of islands in the Kaveri River is about two miles upstream and eleven miles from Mysore. From May to November it is a breeding ground for waterfowls. Many migrating birds from as far as Siberia and North America migrate to this sanctuary to nest and breed in winter. One can view Cormorants, Herons, Egrets and Spoonbills in this bird sanctuary. Crocodiles lazing in the winter sun can also be seen in the sanctuary.
All the major dynasties of the Southern India have left their relics and monuments on this island. The Hoysalas of the 11th century, the Vijayanagar kings of Chandragiri in the 17th century, the Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan clan that came after them, and finally, the French and the British have all left their mark on this island. Srirangapatnam was the main scene of battles that took place in the second half of the 18th century between the French and the British to get the hold over southern India. By 1787, much of the Carnatic region was ruled by Tipu Sultan until the British defeated him with the help from the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Marathas. The defeat of the Egyptian expedition of Napolean also dealt a death blow on French ambitions in India. Unfortunately Tippu Sultan sided with the French in the hope of defeating the British and taking control of most of southern India. The Srirangapatnam Fort, defended by a double wall, is the center of attraction here. It was built in 1454 by Thimmanna, a local chief and it was later renovated by Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. The river Kaveri skirts one side of the fort forming a natural moat, which is fed by water from the river. The original bridge that was the only link with the fort is still in use. Near the bridge one can still see the breach on the fort wall made by the British forces. The fort has four gates. Along the battlements, there are two dungeons in which prisoners of war were kept. Lalmahal, the residence of Tipu Sultan within the fort, was razed to the ground and is now just a mound marked by a notice board. It is interesting to take a walk along the fort walls to view its military architecture.
The Summer Palace of Tipu Sultan is in the center of a garden outside the fort and across the main road. The garden is called Darya Daulat Bagh (the garden of wealth of the sea). The most interesting feature of this palace is the series of murals that depict scenes from the military career of Tipu Sultan, particularly the battle of Pollilur (near Kanchipuram) in which he crushed the British forces under Colonel Bailey. The kings who owed allegiance to Tipu are also featured in these paintings. This lavishly ornamented building now houses a museum of Tipu memorabilia. Near this palace is a church distinctly European in style that was built by Abbe Dubois, a French missionary. The tomb of Tipu Sultan lies next to his father at Gumad-e-Ala near the fort. The mausoleum is adorned with intricate stuccowork. The three doors made of ebony and inlaid with ivory were gifted by Lord Dalhousie. Ironically he earned the respect of his enemies, the British after his death. On either side of the road leading to the river there are two Islamic domed buildings that were built to house pigeons. Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan were both enthusiastic about pigeon racing. Monuments of the British are spread all over the island. On a high point opposite the summer palace is a tall pillar put up to honor the memory of British officers who died during the siege of Srirangapatnam. The garrison cemetery close by contains many interesting epitaphs to the British who died between 1800 and 1872. Near the tomb of Tipu Sultan, by the roadside is the grave of Colonel Bailey constructed in a blend of Saracenic and colonial architecture.
One can have a panoramic view of the whole island from the Karighatta Hill that is about five kilometers or 3 miles away. On top of the hill is a small temple. The British had placed their cannons during the siege of Srirangapatnam on this hill according to some contemporary chroniclers.
The Krishnaraja Sagar Dam is 16 kilometers or 10 miles from Srirangapatnam. It was built over the Kaveri River and just beside the dam are the famous Vrindavan Gardens that are illuminated on weekends.
Somnathapur is 32 kilometers or 20 miles from Srirangapatnam. The Hoysala temple dedicated to Lord Kesava and other structures here have elaborate carvings and miniature sculptures.
Talakad is 48 kilometers or 30 miles from Srirangapatnam. It was the capital of the Ganga dynasty. The Vaideshwara Temple is located among the sand dunes on the banks of River Kaveri here.
The temple town of Melkote is 35 kilometers or 22 miles from Srirangapatnam. The town is the center of Shri Vaishnava sect and the headquarters of Shri Ramanuja, a Vaishnava saint. A Sanskrit academy is located here. The Melkote Wolf Sanctuary is less than a mile away from this town.
The tourist visiting Srirangapatnam mostly stay overnight in nearby Mysore where there many hotels in various categories.
Distance from Srirangapatna in Kilometers and Miles:
Bangalore: 140 Kilometers or 87 Miles
Mysore: 15 Kilometers or 9 Miles