For those Sharpe fans (like Lawrence) you may have read about the Battle of Srirangapatnam in Bernard Cornwell’s novel Sharpe’s Tiger, you haven’t, no neither had I!
The town gets its name from the famous Ranganathaswamy Temple and the historical element of the town is partly down to Tipu Sultan who once ruled over Mysore and built up the Fort which would later be used to battle against the British forces in 1792 and 1799. It was this final fight in 1799 against the British East India Company and the Nizam of Hyderabad which finally defeated The Tiger of Mysore.
Our first stop was Tipu Sultan’s summer palace which was built entirely of teak and stands adorned with pillars, arches and balconies and with no walls around the side to keep the breeze coming through.
We went to see Tipu’s resting place which is at the grand gumbaz of Srirangaptna which holds the remains of Tipu Sultan, his father Hyder Ali and his mother Fatima Begum.
All around the grounds there are tombs of other relatives and we learnt that if there was a rounded top to the tomb then there was a female inside.
Now onto Sri Ranganathaswamy, the temple that the town is named after. It is one of the five important pilgrimage sites along the river Kaveri for devotees of Ranganatha. This one is the first temple starting from upstream so it is often known as Adi Ranga (“first Ranga”).
This was one of Lawrence’s highlights of the trip as we entered with our shoes off and were submerged into the throngs of people presenting their cracked coconuts up for worship. Something very special to be a part of.
On the way down we stopped at the Bull Temple and you see the steps which go all the way from the bottom of the mountain and up to the temple on the top which would be quite a mission for the pilgrims. We luckily had our driver to take us up!
On our way back to the hotel our guide stopped us at the Water Gate where Tipu Sultan was apparently found dead before he was then moved to the tomb.
There was also the cells were the British prisoners were held which was very eery with the cuffs attached to the wall and marks that looked like scratch marks in the relevant areas, rather poignant!
This completed our time in Mysore and next up was a very peaceful few days on a coffee plantation.