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Shrirangapattana (also spelled Shrirangapattana; 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.
The town takes its name from the celebrated Ranganathaswamy temple which dominates the town, making Srirangapattana one of the most important Vaishnavite centers of pilgrimage in south India. The temple was built by the Ganga dynasty rulers of the area in the 9th century; the structure was strengthened and improved upon architecturally some three centuries later. Thus, the temple is a medley of the Hoysala and Vijayanagar styles of temple architecture.
Tradition holds that all the islands formed in the Kaveri River are consecrated to Sri Ranganathaswamy, and large temples have been built in very ancient times dedicated to that deity on the three largest islands. These three towns, which constitute the main pilgrimage centers dedicated to Ranganathaswamy, are:
The presence of the Kaveri River is in itself considered auspicious and sanctifying. The Paschima Vaahini section of the Kaveri at Srirangapattana is considered especially sacred; the pious come from far and wide to immerse the ashes of the departed and perform obsequies to their ancestors in these waters.
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:
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.
Hyder and Tipu
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.
Battle of Seringapatam, 1799
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 George 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, Tipoo Sultan was killed within the fort of Seringapatam, betrayed by one of his own confidants; the spot where he ultimately fell is marked by a memorial. For the last time in history, Seringapatam had been the scene of political change in the Sultanate of Mysore. The joint forces of the victorious army proceeded to plunder Seringapatam 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 Tipoo 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.
Much of the site of the Battle is still intact including the ramparts, the Water Gate, the place where the Tippu Sultan's body was found, the area where the British prisoners were held and the site of the destroyed palace.
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