My sister visited me recently, and I grabbed the opportunity to travel away with her from Bangalore to SriRangapatna.
All I had to say was, "There is this awesome age-old Perumal temple near Bangalore, let's hire a taxi, go in the morning and come back by noon."
She immediately got lured into the honey trap, and off we went to SriRangapatna.
We started at 6 am when the roads were pretty empty. I was eagerly looking out to catch some sight of Harley Davidsons and Royal Enfields speeding up the way, but no! Nothing was in sight!
It struck me that India vs. South Africa match was going on that day, which is why the roads of the Mysore Bangalore highway were deserted that day.
It was a sad sight to see no biker boyz around! Anyways Srirangapatna, here we come...
Including a good half an hour break for breakfast, we reached SriRangapatna by 9.30 am.
SriRangapatna is an island formed by the river Cauvery. With the roadways connected pretty well and the river dried up at places, I couldn't quite make out where the Srirangapatna island starts and where it ends.
A cluster of places is located near the Ranganatha temple and another set near the Tipu palace. We decided to cover the temples first as they are closed down by noon and are later opened in the evening by 4 pm.
Kasi Vishwanathan Temple, SriRangapatna/ Gosai ghat
This was our first stop.
One has to follow the route of Gosai ghat to get there. The place was extremely calm. In the bright sun, the respite in some tree shade was so pleasant. Serene and beautiful Cauvery flowed along, and a cool breeze engulfed the ambience.
However, Kashi Vishwanathan was not ready to give darshan as the temple was closed. As it happens in Kashi, people here were performing religious rites for the dead at the banks.
From within the temple complex, one can see the river taking a turn and gushing down further. This place is called Paschim Vahini, and one can reach there by a drive.
There wasn't much water in February. Some coracles were lying around, and I presumed that when the river was complete, they should be using the coracles then. On the other side of the river were some ruins.
This is primarily a quiet, peaceful place to spend some time.
Further away from Gosai ghat is the Goddess Nimishamba temple dedicated to Goddess Parvathy. There is a shrine for Lord Shiva as well.
The temple was pretty crowded on Sunday. This temple is also located on the banks of Cauvery. It got a little crowded, with several people taking a dip in the river.
There was a shrine for Lord Anjaneyar too. I am not sure how He joined this family. Haha!
A distant bridge made me realize that this bridge could be connecting the island to the mainland.
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple / Srirangapatna Temple
Our leading destination for the day was the Srirangapatna temple, and we reached there by 10.30 am.
The temple is enormous and constructed in Hoysala architecture. It reminded me of walking towards the Virupaksha temple of Hampi.
Here there was a massive ground to the right, which must have probably been the local market and a stable back then. To the left is the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple. On the backside, there are ruins of the Tipu palace ( I could make out from the map. It is ruined and not accessible).
The temple complex has one inner praharam and a mandapam full of pillars, passing through, which leads to the inner sanctum. The inner praharam has a massive idol of Garuda Bhagawan (really huge, almost the size of a man). The restricted line leads straight to the inner sanctum sanctorum, which has Lord Ranganathar in sayana (lying down) position.
The colossal statue of the Lord had a beautiful smiling face and at the end of His feet was a tiny idol of Goddess Laxmi as well. The door to the shrine has the Dasavatharam (the ten incarnations) carved intricately.
The pillars do not have incredible carvings as such. They are a part of the Hoysala architecture, the round lathe manufactured ones. Foreigners are allowed to the inner shrine to get the blessing, but I don't know if it is worth standing in the queue and get pushed and shoved by the crowd. Sad reality!
The outside praharam has statues of all the Alwars, Lord Rama as a youth, Lord Rama in sitting posture with Goddess Sita, Lakshmi Narasimhar, Chakrathalwar, Aandal, Ramanujar, Goddess Lakshmi, huge Anjaneyar, Krishna, and Venkatachalapathy.
There is an open kitchen, and the cooks were making sambar and rice. The offering was constantly coming out of the kitchen. The outside pragaram was extensive with a neatly maintained lawn. A huge Tulasi maadam with Dasavatharam (the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu) carved on it added more to its beauty.
Make a trip to Melkote from Srirangapatna - https://masalabox.co.in/melkote-and-around/
Lakshmi Narasimhar Temple:
At a walkable distance from the Ranganathar temple is the Lakshmi Narasimhar temple.
This is a small temple. It has shrines similar to that of the Ranganathar temple. Its main deity is Lord Lakshmi Narasimhar. The other notable shrine was that of Lord Krishna.
Here He is seen as a crawling baby holding a butterball in His hands.
Sound of Lights
Back on the way from Srirangapatna temple falls the new museum. It is a replica of SriRangapatnam.
It is enclosed between two fort gates and some ruined fort wall. At night, a light and sound show is depicting Tipu's life.
Apart from the gates Nothing much to see there.
Tipu Sultan Summer Palace aka Dauriya Daulat Bagh
This happens to be the summer palace of Tipu Sultan and is a must-visit.
Even if your destination is just Mysore, stop by to see the beauty of this palace. It is instead a house with few rooms that look Nothing great from the outside. It is covered with mats to preserve the paintings on the wall from the weather.
A well-maintained garden leads up to the doors, and the moment I entered, I was in complete awe! There is not even a centimetre of space where you cannot see colour! There are frescoes all over the wall and ceiling, and doors. Most of it is still intact.
The walls depict various wars, and a detailed description is mentioned below. One side of the wall shows his durbar and people who have visited it from time to time.
There was a depiction of the Chitoor Rani, the Tanjore king, and many more nawabs, ranis, the French, and the British. There was one painting of women enjoying the hookah along with singing and dancing in the durbar.
I was disappointed at the level of 'advancement' we have made in the 21st century! We now judge women for everything, while they enjoyed so much freedom back then!
A burqa-clad Muslim woman standing next to me seemed to have read my mind. She added, "He was also a Musalmaan, you know, and these are the women from his durbar!"
We shared a moment of silence and parted ways.
Inside the palace are various paintings of Tipu, the wars he fought, the battle of Srirangapatna, the surrender of his sons, and a lot more. There were also clothes used by him which show that he was probably short and stout.
Ammunitions used in the war, a wide array of guns and swords were on display. There were also silver cups that were given to the Ranganatha temple. It was terrific to find Tipu's ruined palace so close to the temple.
Disappointment set in again! This time I thought of the advancements humanity has made on the religious front.
After looking through all the nook and corner, I came out content with the rich history he has left behind.
Photography is not allowed inside as the paintings may be harmed. As I walked out of place, I saw the map of SriRangapatna and was moved to tears. I thought there are many more ruins like the dungeon.
Tipu's death place is close to the temple, and I had not seen them since my sister had to catch a bus, and we had no time to hunt it down.
This place is a burial ground, and I think it is also a holy place for Muslims.
If you have been to Bijapur, you would have seen many similar structures around the tombs with almost the same architecture. But this one is very well maintained. I am not sure if it was freshly painted shortly before my visit, but the bright creamish coloured walls and the intricately carved black windows and doors were beyond beautiful.
Inside of the structure is Tipu's tomb, along with the grave of his father and mother. I was already overwhelmed after visiting the palace, and hence I diligently offered my prayers and thanked the great Tiger of Mysore. Inside of the gumbaz is beautiful frescos, the colours of which are still intact. Though Muslims were offering prayers, Hindus are also allowed there.
Around the gumbaz are the royal family's tombs, including distant, distant uncles and aunties. To the right, there is the mosque.
This is a must-visit place.
SriRangapatna Kauvery Handicraft Factory
We also stopped at the Kauvery Handicraft factory outlet, which is right opposite Dauriya Daulat Bagh.
The factory is located a few kilometres away on the main road. They had lovely sarees, handicrafts, unique wall hangings, and of course, sandal soaps and cosmetics.
There were detailed carved wooden wall hangings, and I picked up a splendid painting made up of organic colours that glow in the night! We also got a small demonstration of different types of silks and the cocoon that produces them. We purchased some soft Mysore silk sarees.
Other places to visit that I could figure out from the Srirangapatna map were— Tipu's death place, dungeon, mosque, and obelisk. On the way to Bangalore, I even noticed a place called Pandavpur. Google says that the Pandavas stayed there for a while.
I wanted to visit the holy Sangam, but my driver disapproved of it, saying it's filled with trash. That day was auspicious to perform the religious rites for the dead to have been more crowded. I did not want to spoil the memories from the morning of Cauvery; hence I skipped it.
Here is the map of SriRangapatna:
Overall, it is a lovely historical town which has its old charms retained. Your thoughts will retrace the history.
It is only 340 km to and fro from Bangalore. Do visit it.
Happy Traveling. :-)
Overall it is a nice historical town which has retained the old charm, letting your thoughts ponder over history. To and fro was around 340 kms from Bangalore. Happy Traveling. :-)