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Published: August 19th 2018
Today we wanted to go and see the fort town of Srirangapatnam, built on an island 16km out of Mysore. According to the lonely planet you can easily get a train there (you can’t - most of the trains to Bangalore no longer stop there), or a bus taking 30mins (only it takes over an hour these days!). Bored of tuk tuks we decided to hire a bike each from the hostel and cycle over. Possibly not the most sensible idea in monsoon season and given this meant cycling down a main highway...
Getting there was actually quite easy, after successfully navigating a couple of terrifying junctions we hit the highway and it was pretty much a straight line from there. Just off the highway we could see a farmer ploughing with oxen. We turned off the main road just before it reached the island and took the old bridge across the river - even if you don’t cycle its worth a look.
Once there we started off by seeing the Sri Rangsnthaswamy temple, built in 894 AD. It is a magnificent building, with large stone pillars and lots of ornate stone carvings. I thought it looked like something
from tomb raider. Unfortunately Stephen agreed but only because all the barriers meant you could only go in one direction, like a computer game!
Resisting the persistent tuk tuk drivers we then headed toward the main attraction - the summer palace. En route we were shown around Jamia Masjid, a pretty mosque built from sugar cane, honey and sand! It has an old sundial (the dial is missing after the British stole it) and a clean well (that the British built). Behind it is an Independence Day celebration place which has steps up to the top and good views of the area.
The Daria Daulat Bagh (summer palace) is only 25 ruppees if you are Indian but is a staggering 300 if you are a foreigner! Unlike the Mysore palace this price doesn’t include any kind of audio guide. The grounds look tired and in need of some tlc - there was almost no grass despite it being the rainy season and the fountains and ponds were all empty. The palace isn’t much to look at from the outside as it’s covered by green blinds to protect the art work inside.
Inside it is magnificent. Tipu Sultan
built it to celebrate a defeat over the British and the walls are covered in murals of the battles. Every inch of the teak interior is covered with decorative paintings and is well worth a visit. It seems slightly unfortunate that not long after it was built Tipu Sultan was killed by the British and the Duke of Wellington moved in instead....
We walked a different way back to our bikes and got to see more of the fort walls and gates, where Tipu Sultans body was found on the battle field, the water gate, Colonel Baileys dungeon and the stairs to Thomas Inmans dungeon (which is currently under water).
The guidebook states that you need a tuk tuk to see all the sights. The only area of interest we didn’t see was the Gumbaz (Tipu Sultans) mausoleum but we probably could have walked it if we hadn’t cycled.
The return cycle seemed busier and more uphill than the way out, but it was quicker. I can’t pretend that it’s a pleasant cycle but it made a nice change. It was somewhat bizarre that half the roads seem to just stop and become building site without much
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