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My sis visited me recently and I took the opportunity to travel away 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.” And there, she got lured into the honey trap and off we went to SriRangapatna. We started by 6am and the roads were pretty empty. I was eagerly looking out to catch some sight of Harley Davidsons and Royal Enfields but no! Then it struck me it was India vs South Africa match that day and hence the deserted roads of Mysore Bangalore highway. What a sad look with no biker boyz!
Note: This post is more of tourist destination highlights than travel exploration as I had a tourist with me doing sight seeing.
After a good half an hour break of breakfast we reached SriRangapatna by 9.30am.. SriRangapatna is apparently an island formed by river Cauvery. With roadways connected pretty well and river dried up at places, I couldn’t quite make out where the island starts and ends. A cluster of places are located near the Ranganatha temple and another cluster near the Tipu palace. We decided to cover the temples first as they close down by 12pm and open later in the evening by 4pm.
River Cauvery flowing around the town
Contents - Read all the way though.
Kasi Vishwanathan Temple, SriRangapatna/ Gosai ghat:
Kasi Viswanathar Temple on Gosai Ghat
This was our first stop. Situated on the banks of cauvery, one has to follow the route of Gosai ghat to get there. The place was extremely calm, just the sun, some tree shade, beautiful cauvery jingling along and cool breeze. Kasi Vishwanathar was not ready to give darshan, the temple was closed. Apparently like Kasi people were doing religious rites for the dead on 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 drive there too. There wasn’t mush of water in february. Some coracles were lying around and I presumed that when the river was full they should be using it. The other side of river were some ruins. This is primarily a quite peaceful place to spend some time.
Further a little away from Gosai ghat is Goddess Nimishamba temple dedicated to Goddess Parvathy. There is shrine for Lord Shiva as well. The temple was pretty crowded for a Sunday. There was a shrine for lord Anjaneyar too, not sure how He joined this family 🙂 This temple is also located on banks of Cauvery. But a little crowded with people taking a dip in the river. A distant bridge made me realize that could be connecting island to the land.
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple:
SriRangapatna, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
Our main destination for the day was Ranganathar temple and we were there by 10.30am. The temple is huge and built in Hoysala architecture. It reminded me of walking towards Virupaksha temple of Hampi. There was a huge ground to the right which must have probably been the local market and the stable. To the left is the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple and behind ruins of Tipu palace (this 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 inner sanctum. The inner pragaram has huge idol of Garuda Bhagawan (hugeee, the size of man) and the laid restricted line leads straight to the inner sanctorum which has Lord Ranganathar in sayana(lying down) position. The lord was again huge with a beautiful smiling face and at the end of His feet was a tiny Goddess Lakshmi idol as well. The door to the shrine has the dasavatharam carved in.
One of the carvings atop the mandapam
The pillars as such do not have great carvings but they are of hoysala types, the round ones. Foreigners are allowed till the inner shrine to get the blessing but I don’t know if it is really worth to stand in the queue and get pushed and shoved by the crowd. The outside pragaram has all the Alwars, Lord Rama as youth, Lord Rama in sitting posture with Goddess Sita, Lakshmi Narasimhar, Chakrathalwar, Andal, Ramanujar, Goddess Lakshmi, hugee Anjaneyar, Krishna and Venkatachalapathy. There is a open kitchen and they were making sambar rice and so the prasadam was constantly coming out of the kitchen. The outside pragaram was big with neatly maintained lawn. A huge tulasi maadam with dasavatharam (the ten incarnations of lord Vishnu) carved on it added more to the beauty.
Lakshmi Narasimhar Temple:
Lakshmi Narasimhar Temple
At walkable distance from the Ranganathar temple is the Lakshmi Narasimhar temple. This is a small temple. It has shrines similar to that of Ranganathar temple. The 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 butter ball in His hands.
Sound of lights/ New Museum:
Gateway of the Fort
Back on the way from Ranganathar temple is the new museum. It is a replica of SriRangapatnam. It is enclosed between two fort gates and some ruined fort wall. Apparently in the night they do some play with sounds and lights in the night depicting Tipu’s life. Apart from the gates nothing much to see there.
Tipu Sultan Palace aka Dauriya Daulat Bagh:
Dauriya Daulat Bagh / Tipu’s Summer Palace
This is the summer palace of Tipu Sultan and a must visit. Even if your destination is just Mysore stop by to see the beauty of this place. The palace or rather a house with few rooms looks nothing great from outside as it is covered with mats to preserve the paintings on the wall from weather. A well maintained garden leads up to the doors and the moment I entered I was in complete awe! There is just not one centimeter of space where you could not see color! There is fresco all over the wall and ceiling and doors. Most of it intact. The walls depict various wars and detailed description is mentioned below. One side of the wall depicts his durbar and people who have visited the same. There was chitoor Rani, Tanjore king and many more nawabs, ranis, french and the British. There was one painting of women enjoying the hookah among song and dance in the durbar.. I was just disappointed at the level of advancement we have made in the 21st century. Judging women for everything while they enjoyed so much freedom then! A burqa clad Muslim woman standing next to me, like she could read my mind added, “He was also a Musalmaan you know and that’s the women from his durbar!” We shared a moment of silence and parted ways.
A high zoomed out peek through the gaps – painted fresocs
Inside the palace are various paintings of Tipu, the wars he fought, battle of srirangapatna, the surrender of his sons and lot more. There are also clothes used by him which shows probably he was short and stout. Ammunition used in the war, range of guns and swords. And silver cups given to Ranganatha temple. It was amazing to find Tipu’s ruined palace so close to the temple and his offerings to the temple. Again pushed me to disappointment of advancement our mankind has made. 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 it will harm the paintings. As I walked out there was the map of SriRangapatna and I was in tears that there are many more ruins like dungeon, Tipu’s death place close to the temple and I had not seen them. My sis had to catch a bus and we had no time to hunt it down.
Gol Gumbaz with intricate carvings
This place is a burial ground and I suppose a holy place for the Muslims. If you have been to Bijapur you can see many similar structures housing the tombs and the architecture is the same. But this one is very well maintained. I am not sure if it was freshly painted before my visit but the bright creamish walls and black intricately carved windows and doors were just beautiful. Inside of the structure is Tipu’s tomb along with his father and mother. I was already overwhelmed after visiting the palace and hence I diligently offered my prayers and thanks to the great Tiger of Mysore. Inside of the gumbaz are beautiful frescos and the colors are intact. Though prayers were being done, Hindus are also allowed. Around the gumbaz is the tombs of the entire royal family including distant distant distant uncles and aunties. To the right is the mosque. This is a must visit place.
Kauvery Handicraft Factory Outlet:
We also stopped at the Kauvery Handicraft factory outlet which is right opposite Dauriya Daulat Bagh. The factory is located few kilometers away on the main road. They had nice sarees, handicrafts, unique wall hangings and of course sandal soaps and cosmetics. They detailed the making of wooden wall hangings and I picked up a radiant painting made of organic colors and it glows in the night!! We also got a small demonstration on different types of silks and the cocoon that produces it.
Types of Cocoon and The Silk
Other places to visit that I could make out from the map were Tipu’s death place, dungeon, mosque, obeslik and on the way to Bangalore I even noticed a place called pandavpur. Google tells me Pandavas stayed there for a while.. I wanted to visit the holy sangam but my driver promptly said it’s filled with trash and today is auspicious to do the religious rites for the dead, it is going to be crowded. I did not want to spoil the memories from morning of Cauvery hence I skipped it.
Here is the map of Sri Rangapatna:
Map of SriRangapatna
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. 🙂
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