Located at about 140 kilometers from Bangalore and 15 kilometers from Mysore, Srirangapatnam is the biggest of the three islands in the river Kaveri. The island, five kilometers long and two kilometers wide, derives its name from the deity of the temple located on its western side.
The island has something for everyone. For those who are turned on by history, there are many monuments here spanning a thousand years. All the major dynasties of the South have left their relics and monuments here-the Hoysalas of the 11th century, the Vijayanagar kings of Chandragiri in the 17th century, the Hyder Ali-Tipu Sultan clan that came after them, and finally, the French and the British.
For the naturalist and those contemplative ones who seek quiet spots, this island is a delight. And for the devotees, there are temples, mosques, a church, and a Jain basdi. You could hire an auto-rickshaw and go around, and if you have the time, walk around.
Being in the tropical region of the country, it has a languid tropical atmosphere, hot and humid during summer and comfortably cold during winter season. Winter is the best time to visit this place as the humidity during summer makes traveling uncomfortable.
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 Carnatic. By 1787, much of the Carnatic region was ruled by Tipu Sultan. But with the arrival of the British, Tipu was finally defeated in the year 1799.
Best Time to Visit
Located near Mysore, Srirangapatna known for its cultural, religious and historic significance, is best visited between the months of September and March. During the winter season in Srirangapatna, the weather lies between 16 and 30 degrees Celsius. These months boats of a pleasant and cool weather when tourists can indulge in sightseeing. If you wish to avoid heat and sweat try not planning your visit to Srirangapatna between April and mid-June as the temperatures rise above 35 degrees Celsius. This is a warm time in the city. From second-half of June up till August, rains bring respite from heat, if you like rains, you can come here but your movement might get restricted due to rains.
How to Reach
BY AIR -The nearest airport to Srirangapatnam is Bangalore, about 140 kilometers away.
BY RAIL -There is a railway station at Srirangapatnam, which has a good frequency of trains running to and from Bangalore.
BY ROAD -The island is on the Bangalore-Mysore road, 140 kilometers from Bangalore and 15 kilometers from Mysore. The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation buses ply between Bangalore and Mysore very frequently. Motoring from Bangalore takes about 2½ hours.
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 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, which 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, Tipu's residence within the fort, was razed to the ground and is now just a mound marked by a notice board. To view the military architecture, take a walk along the fort walls.
Outside the fort, across the main road, is a garden in the center of which stands Tipu's summer palace. The garden is called Darya Daulat Bagh (the garden of the wealth of the sea). The most interesting feature of this palace is the series of murals, which depict scenes from Tipu's military career, 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.
Not far from this palace is a church distinctly European in style. The church was built by Abbe Dubois, the 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.
Outside this monument, on the either side of the road leading to the river, stand two structures with typical Islamic domes on top. These are lofts for the birds made during the reign of Hyder Ali, as both Hyder and Tipu were keen on racing pigeons.
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 Tipu's tomb, by the roadside stands the grave of Colonel Bailey, an interesting combination of Saracenic and colonial architecture.
About three kilometers upstream, lies Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary, a breeding ground for thousands of waterfowls during the period from June to November. The Kaveri River, which divides itself to form the island, rejoins on the western side. This spot is looked upon as sacred and prayers and pujas are held here regularly.
While the British forces had plundered the city after the final battle and destroyed Tipu's palace and fort, they left the religious structures intact. The temple of Shri Ranganatha is a blend of Hoysala and Vijayanagar architecture. This shrine attracts thousands of devotees. The Jain basdi, dedicated to Adinath, houses images of all the 24 tirthankaras. The Jama Masjid built by Tipu has two minarets that dominate the landscape for miles around.
The Karighatta Hill, which lies about five kilometers away, provides a complete view of the island. There is a small temple on top of this hill. Legend has it that it was on this hill that the British had placed their cannons during the siege of Srirangapatnam.
Places Around Srirangapatnam
Vrindavan Gardens and Krishnaraja Sagar Dam.
Built across the Kaveri River, Vrindavan Gardens and Krishnaraja Sagar Dam lie about 16 kilometers away from the town. The garden is illuminated on Saturdays and Sundays.
Somnathapur - About 32 kilometers from Srirangapatnam lies Somnathapur, a place well known for its elaborate carvings and miniature sculptures. A Hoysala temple dedicated to Lord Kesava is also located here.
Talakad, once the capital of the Ganga dynasty, lies 48 kilometers away from Srirangapatnam. Here you can find the temple of Vaideshwara located amidst sand dunes on the banks of River Kaveri.
Melkote - The temple town of Melkote lies about 35 kilometers from Srirangapatnam. The town is the center of Shri Vaishnava sect and was the headquarters of Vaishnava saint, Shri Ramanuja. The Sanskrit Academy is located here. The Melkote Wolf Sanctuary is just a kilometer away from the town.