From this fort, built on a long island in the Cauvery River only 16km from Mysore, Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan ruled much of southern India during the 18th century. In ruins since the British came through like a whirlwind in 1799, the ramparts, battlements and some of the gates of the fort still stand.
Close to the bus station is a handsome twin tower mosque built by Tipu Sultan, and within the fort walls you can also find the dungeon where Tipu held British officers captive, and the handsome Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple (7.30am-1pm & 4-8pm).
Srirangapatnam’s star attraction is Tipu’s summer palace, the Daria Daulat Bagh (252023; Indian/foreigner Rs 5/US$2; 9am-5pm), which lies 1km east of the fort. Set in ornamental gardens, the palace is notable for its beautiful interior decoration. Not one inch has been left unadorned, with fascinating floor-to-ceiling murals depicting courtly life and Tipu’s campaigns against the British. The man himself can be glimpsed in a portrait by John Zoffony, which was painted in 1780 when Tipu was 30.
About 2km further east the remains of Hyder Ali, his wife and Tipu are housed in the impressive onion-domed Gumbaz (252007; 8am-8pm). Again it’s the tiger-striped interior of this mausoleum that dazzles most.
Head 500m east of Gumbaz for the river banks. A short coracle ride runs for Rs 25 per person. Resist dangling your hand in the water; a crocodile could have it for lunch.
Three kilometres upstream from Srirangapatnam, the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary (0821-2481159; Indian/foreigner Rs 10/60, camera/video Rs 20/100; 8.30am-6pm) is on one of three islands in the Cauvery River. The storks, ibises, egrets, spoonbills and cormorants here are best seen in the early morning or late afternoon on a short boat ride (per person Rs 25). There’s also a maze made from herbal plants and a restaurant on site.
Last updated: Mar 2, 2009
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