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Tipu Sultan's palace was carved entirely of teak wood and elaborately decorated

The last of the kings of Srirangapatna, Tipu Sultan fought like a Tiger against British Imperialism in the 18th century. He succumbed to the East India Company's power in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War, and is survived by the immense architecture and legacy that dots Mysore in places today. He was succeeded by the Wodeyars of Mysore, who currently inhabit the Mysore Palace.

Tipu's summer palace in Srirangapatna is a well-crafted example of Indo-Islamic architecture. The walls are carved from teak wood, and lined with gold, silver, and precious stones. It houses the remains of the dynasty that Hyder Ali, Tipu's father, established in the princely state. Coins, artillery, clothes, and paintings are displayed in the ground floor of the palace, while the first floor is reserved for the view of the gardens from the pristine balconies.

The balconies of the summer palace overlook the stunning gardens Image source: wikimediawikimedia

The weapons that Tipu's army used in the Anglo-Mysore wars were sourced from the French, with whom Tipu Sultan was affiliated. His treaty with Napolean Bonaparte aided him immensely in protecting his authority over the state of Mysore. But the British managed to outsmart his efforts. The large wooden cannon that stands the end of the museum is perhaps the only surviving artifact of Tipu's army.

Outside the summer palace, elaborate, expansive gardens are maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. Back in the day, Mysore was known for its climate and natural beauty. Near the palace stands Ranganathittu bird sanctuary which is considered a paradise for thousands of bird species that migrate here every year to breed. It sits near the banks of the Cauvery River sangam.

The wooden walls are decorated with elaborate motifs and designswikimedia

After Tipu's death, the palace was briefly used by the British Administration as its Secretariat. Later on, it was converted into a museum which is open to the public every day between 8.30 am and 5.30 pm. Tipu's fort in Bangalore is sometimes confused with his summer palace owing to its large size, but it is only the fort that protected against invasion into the capital of the Kingdom of Mysore. Between the bordering hills and the state of Mysore, there is a place called Tipu's drop, where it is believed he used to drop the criminals from a great height, or hang them off a metal rack. It is believed that he himself died on the roadside, owing to injuries from battle. The most famous painting of his bravery is the Storming of Seringapatnam (Old name of Srirangapatna) which is displayed in the darbar (court) room of the summer palace.

Keywords: Tipu Sultan, Kingdom of Mysore, Srirangapatna, Summer Palace


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