Saturday, 3 July 2010

Siege at Srirangapattana /Seringapatam



Srirangapattana (Kannada: ಶ್ರೀರಂಗಪಟ್ಟಣ) (also spelled Srirangapatna; anglicized to Seringapatam during the British Raj) is a town in Mandya district of the Indian state of Karnataka. It is located near the city of Mysore and is of great religious, cultural and historic importance.
Although situated a mere 19 km from Mysore city, Srirangapattana lies in the neighbouring district of Mandya. The entire town is enclosed by the river Kaveri to form an island, northern half of which is shown in the image to the right. While the main river flows on the eastern side of the island, the Paschima Vaahini segment of the same river flows to its west.


Ranganatha Temple




Srirangapattana has since time immemorial been an urban center and place of pilgrimage. During the Vijayanagar empire, it became the seat of a major viceroyalty, from where several nearby vassal states of the empire, such as Mysore and Talakad, were overseen. When, perceiving the decline of the Vijayanagar empire, the rulers of Mysore ventured to assert independence, Srirangapattana was their first target. Raja Wodeyar vanquished Rangaraya, the then viceroy of Srirangapattana, in 1610 and celebrated the Navaratri festival in the town that year. It came to be accepted in time that two things demonstrated control and signified sovereignty over the Kingdom of Mysore by any claimant to the throne:
Successful holding of the 10-day-long Navaratri festival, dedicated to Chamundeshwari, patron goddess of Mysore; Control of the fort of Srirangapattana, the fortification nearest to the capital city of Mysore. Srirangapattana remained part of the Kingdom of Mysore from 1610 to after India's independence in 1947; as the fortress closest to the capital city of Mysore, it was the last bastion and defence of the kingdom in case of invasion.



View of the Hoally Gateway, where Tipu Sultan was killed, Seringapatam (Mysore).





Srirangapattana became the de facto capital of Mysore under Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. When Tipu finally dispensed with the charade of deference to the legitimate Wodeyar Maharaja who was actually his captive, and proclaimed the "Khudadad State" under his own kingship, Srirangapattana became de jure the capital of that short-lived political entity. In that heady period, the state ruled by Tipu extended its frontiers in every direction, encompassing a major portion of South India. Srirangapattana flourished as the cosmopolitan capital of this powerful state. Various Indo-Islamic monuments that dot the town, such as Tipu Sultan's palaces, the Darya Daulat and the Jumma Maseedi (Friday congregational mosque), date from this period.



Flintlock Blunderbuss Tipoo Sahib Seringapatam 1793 1794



Srirangapattana was the scene of the last and decisive battle fought between Tipu Sultan and a combined force of 50,000 men provided equally by the Nizam of Hyderabad and the British under the overall command of General Harris. This battle was the last engagement of the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War. The Battle of Seringapatam, 1799, was truly momentous in its historic effects.


In any event, Tipu Sultan was killed within the fort of Srirangapattana, betrayed infamously by one of his own confidants; the spot where he ultimately fell is marked by a memorial. For the last time in history, Srirangapattana had been the scene of political change in the Kingdom of Mysore. The joint forces of the victorious army proceeded to plunder Srirangapattana and ransack Tipu's palace. Apart from the usual gold and cash, innumerable valuables and objets d'art, not excepting even the personal effects of Tipu Sultan, his rich clothes and shoes, sword and firearms, were shipped to England.
While most of this is now to be found in the British Royal Collection and in the Victoria and Albert Museum, some articles have occasionally become available at auctions and have been retrieved for their native land. The sword of Tipu Sultan has been acquired by Vijay Mallya, a liquor baron from Karnataka, who purchased the same at a Sotheby's auction.



Tippu Mausoleum



The fall of Srirangapattana to the Wodeyar dynasty in 1614 is much celebrated in local ballad and legend, one of which concerns a curse put upon the Wodeyars by Alamelamma, the lamenting wife of the defeated Vijayanagar viceroy. In fulfillment of that curse, no ruling Maharaja of Mysore has ever had children; the succession has inevitably devolved upon brothers, nephews or adopted heirs, or on children born to the Maharaja before his accession, but never has a child been born to a ruling Maharaja.



Daria Daulat ,The Palace of Tipu Sulthan

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