Srirangapatnam Island


Srirangapatna Island or Srirangapatna is also a town in the Mandya district of the Indian state of Karnataka. Located near the city of Mysore, Srirangapatna is of great religious, cultural and historic importance.

Although situated a mere 13 km from Mysore city, Srirangapatna Island lies in the neighbouring district of Mandya. The river Kaveri formed this Island; northern half of the river bounds the right and encloses the entire town. While the main river flows on the eastern side of the island, the Paschima Vaahini segment of the same river flows to its west. The Srirangapatna Island is easily accessible by train from Bangalore and Mysore and is also well connected by road, lying as it does just off the Bangalore-Mysore highway. The highway passes through this Srirangapatna town and special care was taken to minimize any impact on the monuments here.

The Ranganatha Temple is best-known site in Srirangapatna. The town takes its name from the celebrated Ranganathaswamy temple, which dominates the town, making Srirangapatna one of the most important Vaishnavite centers of pilgrimage in south India. The Ganga dynasty rulers of the area built the temple 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 Srirangapatna islands formed in the Kaveri River are sanctified to Sri Ranganathaswamy, and large temples have been built in very ancient times dedicated to that deity on the three largest islands. Adi Ranga at Srirangapatna, Madhya Ranga at Shivanasamudra and Antya Ranga at Srirangam are the towns dedicated to the same deity. 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.

Srirangapatna has since time immemorial been an urban center and place of pilgrimage. During the Vijayanagar Empire, this island became the seat of a major viceroyalty, from where several nearby vassal states of the empire, such as Mysore and Talakad evolved. When, perceiving the decline of the Vijayanagar Empire, the rulers of Mysore ventured to declare independence, Srirangapatna was their first target. Raja Wodeyar vanquished Rangaraya, the then viceroy of Srirangapatna in 1610 and celebrated the Navaratri festival in the town that year. Srirangapatna remained part of the Kingdom of Mysore from 1610 until India`s independence in 1947. It was used as the fortress closest to the capital city of Mysore and it was the last defender and defence of the kingdom in case of invasion.

River Cauvery in the city of Srirangapatna Srirangapatna was actually the de facto capital of Mysore under Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. Later, it was proclaimed as the "Khudadad State" and also became de jure the capital of that short-lived political entity. Srirangapatna flourished as the cosmopolitan capital of this powerful state. Several Indo-Islamic monuments that dot the town, such as Tipu Sultan`s palaces, the Darya Daulat and the Jumma Maseedi date from this period.

Srirangapatna is famous for a very ancient temples and their architecture. Other attractions of this island town include the Jumma Masjid (a Mosque) and the Daria Daulat Gardens. Near Srirangapatna is the Rangantittu Bird Sanctuary, which is the breeding site for several bird species, including the Painted Stork, River Tern, Open-billed Stork, Great Stone Plover, Black-headed Ibis and Indian Shag. The Karighatta (Black Hill) and its temple of Lord Srinivasa are situated a few kilometers from the town. The deity is that of Kari-giri-vasa. The famous Nimishambha temple of Srirangapatna is located in the near by area of Ganjam. The summer palace of Tipu Sultan is also a very interesting place. Srirangapatna is now one of the tourist spots of the district and also a scenic Island.