29 December, 2007

Gumbaz -- Srirangapattana Mausoleum

I have lighted a different fire in the heart.
I have brought a tale from the Deccan.
I have a shining sword on my side;
I am drawing it out gradually from the scabbard.
I speak a subtle point about the Martyr Tipu Sultan,
I fear the festival day may turn bitter,
I proceed to kiss his dust,
There I heard from his holy grave;
If one cannot live a manly life in this world
Then to sacrifice life, like a man, is life!

Excerpt from:
Javid-Namah (The Book of Eternity).
[In Persian].
[First publ. 1932, in Lahore].

Tippu built the "Gumbaz" at Srinagapattana in 1784 which is a square shaped mausoleum with ivory-inlaid doors and black marble pillars. Tippu is buried here by the side of his father Hyder Ali and mother Fatima Begum. Outside the tomb are the graves of his relatives and commanders. Nearby the "Mashit-e-Aqsa" mosque, with a pair of small minarets is located. A solar clock could be found outside this building.

Hyder's tomb in lal bagh gardens by Robert Home, 1704

Tipu Sultan built the Gumbaz mausoleum (1784) for himself and his father. It is laid out in the style of a formal cypress garden. The entrance is from the east.

The mausoleum is constructed in Bijapur style, basically a dome on a cube, whose ornate railings and turrets are decorated with ball-shaped finials.

The following text has been borrowed from the book "Indian Renaissance: British Romantic Art and the prospect of India" -- Hermione de Almeida and George H. Gilpin

Robert Home, Cornwallis's official military artist and surveyor did his sketches and descriptions of Srirangapattana as he and the British troops saw it in 1793. At one end of the city was the fort, palace and Daulata Bagh (royal garden) of Tipu Sultan. At the other end, and covering almost one third of the city's five and half square miles, was the largest garden of Mysore, the Lal Bagh or Garden of Rubies, a huge and intricately landscaped formal garden which combined designs from several Asian landscape traditions, and which housed the royal mosque and the ornate marble tomb of Tipu Sultan's father. The manicured intensity of such a large garden, and the extravagant intricacies of the decorations of the high-domed marble mausoleum with its gold crescent, overwhelm and astonish Home even as he describes them, and he focuses finally on the usefulness and productive variety of the lal bagh 'This garden was laid out in regular paths of shady cypress; and abounded with fruit trees, flowers and vegetables of every kind. But the axe of the enemy [the British] soon despoiled it of its beauties; and those trees, which once administered to the pleasures of their master, were compelled to furnish materials for the reduction of his capital'.

Home's ominous and righteous last sentence refers to a highly symbolic event that occured at the end of the III Anglo-Mysore war, just before Tipu capitulated and gave up half his treasury and land and two of his children to Cornwallis. British soldiers occupied the Lal Bagh and camped on its grounds; they cut down the 100 year old cypress trees surrounding Hyder Ali's tomb and used them for target practice; they turned the fakir choultries or chambered alcoves reserved for holy men into a 'hospital' for wounded foot soldiers; they used the elegant summer house as a troop mess-hall; they used the subsidiary meditation bowers as latrines for the troops occupying Srirangapattana; and even worse, they buried their dead common soldiers in the consecrated ground of the flower beds surrounding Hyder Ali's vault and the royal mausoleum. All this was done in sight of the palace and royal quarters. Tipu Sultan saw this desecration of his father's tomb and garden as a symbolic and soon-to-be staged descration and destruction of the garden that was the city of Mysore he and his father had built. He was correct in reading the signs. In 1806, when the military artist Charles Gold, a veteran of the Fourth Anglo-Mysore war, published his triumphant and always perjorative Oriental Drawings of sketches taken in the 1790s, he specifically showed lal bagh and Hyder's tomb rising in all their magnificence but as a backdrop to British military encampment scenes of British redcoats brandishing axes and in the act of curting down the cypress tress, supervising Indian coolies as they carry off the tree trunks, disturbing the flower beds with their exercises and, in general, dismantling the landscaped order. To his depiction of dismantled Indian order and British military necessity, Gold attached a statement describing the 'extensive and beautiful groves' of the mausoleumm and, quoting Alexander Dirom, what happened to this 'luxuriant and cultivated spot':

The Sultan's garden... became a melancholy spectacle, devoted to the necessities of military service and appeared for the first time as if it had suffered the ravages of the severest winter. The fruit trees were clipped of their branches; while the lofty cypress tress, broken to the ground by troops, to be formed into fascines, werer rooted up by the followers to be consumed as firewood.

5 May
4 pm. Burial of Tipu at the Gumbaz mausoleum - at the eastern extremity of the island of Seringapatam - with full military honours. His body was carried on a bier, accompanied by four (4) companies of European grenadiers, Tipu's son, Abdul Khaliq, (as chief mourner) leading Mysorean officials, as well as a large number of the remaining populace of Seringapatam. Severe thunderstorm at the time of Tipu's burial - two officers of the Bombay army reported as killed by lightning: Lieuts. Barclay and Grant.

Lieutenant Richard Bayly
(12th Regiment):
Description of the Burial of Tipu during a Severe Thunderstorm
[May 5 1799]

I must relate the effects and appearance of a tremendous storm of wind, rain, thunder, and lightning that ensued on the afternoon of the burial of Tippoo Saib. I had returned to camp excessively indisposed. About five o'clock a darkness of unusual obscurity came on, and volumes of huge clouds were hanging within a few yards of the earth, in a motionless state. Suddenly, a rushing wind, with irresistible force, raised pyramids of sand to an amazing height, and swept most of the tents and marquees in frightful eddies far from their site. Ten Lascars, with my own exertions, clinging to the bamboos of the marquee scarcely preserved its fall. The thunder cracked in appalling peals close to our ears, and the vivid lightning tore up the ground in long ridges all around. Such a scene of desolation can hardly be imagined; Lascars struck dead, as also an officer and his wife in a marquee a few yards from mine. Bullocks, elephants, and camels broke loose, and scampering in every direction over the plain; every hospital tent blown away, leaving the wounded exposed, unsheltered to the elemental strife. In one of these alone eighteen men who had suffered amputation had all the bandages saturated, and were found dead on the spot the ensuing morning. The funeral party escorting Tippoo's body to the mausoleum of his ancestors situated in the Lal Bagh Garden, where the remains of his warlike father, Hyder Ali, had been deposited, were overtaken at the commencement of this furious whirlwind, and the soldiers ever after were impressed with a firm persuasion that his Satanic majesty attended in person at the funeral procession. The flashes of lightning were not as usual from far distant clouds, but proceeded from heavy vapours within a very few yards of the earth. No park of artillery could have vomited forth such incessant peals as the loud thunder that exploded close to our ears. Astonishment, dismay, and prayers for its cessation was our solitary alternative. A fearful description of the Day of Judgement might have been depicted from the appalling storm of this awful night. I have experienced hurricanes, typhoons, and gales of wind at sea, but never in the whole course of my existence had I seen anything comparable to this desolating visitation. Heaven and earth appeared absolutely to have come in collision, and no bounds set to the destruction. The roaring of the winds strove in competition with the stunning explosions of the thunder, as if the universe was once more returning to chaos. In one of these wild sweeps of the hurricane, the poles of my tent were riven to atoms, and the canvas wafted forever from my sight. I escaped without injury, as also my exhausted Lascars, and casting myself in an agony of despair on the sands, I fully expected instant annihilation. My hour was not, however, come. Towards morning the storm subsided; the clouds became more elevated, the thunder and lightning ceased, and nature once more resumed a serene aspect. But never shall I forget that dreadful night to the latest day of my existence. All language is inadequate to describe its horrors. Rather than be exposed to such another scene, I would prefer the front of a hundred battles

28 December, 2007

Dariya Daulat Bagh -- Srirangapattana

Photograph, taken in the 1870s by Nicholas and Company, part of the Ramsden Collection of photographs, showing the Darya Daulat Bagh of Tipu Sultan at Srirangapattana (Seringapatam) in Karnataka state.

Of the Darya Daulat Bagh (The Garden of Wealth of the Sea), also known as the summer palace of Tipu, Rev Thompson writes, "After the fall of Seringapatam, the Duke of Wellington, then Colonel Wellesley, occupied the building for a considerable time when he held charge of the Mysore territories. There are some interesting paintings on the walls of the verandah which were executed at the order of Tipu and represent, among other things the defeat of the British Force under Colonel Baillie at Perambakam... ."

Rev Thompson goes on to say "half a century afterwards, Lord Dalhousie as Governor General, visited Seringapatam, he found the building unoccupied and dilapidated, and he spoke with an aged man who described Colonel Wellesley's stay there. The wall paintings are still traceable, though faded. Lord Dalhousie gave orders for the repairs and maintenance of the building and the restoration of the paintings with the help of those who remembered them in their completeness".

Dariya Daulat also known as the "Summer Palace" of Tipu Sultan is on the southern bank of Cauvery. Hyder Ali laid the foundation in 1778 AD and Tipu completed it in 1784 AD. Despite the fact that most of his time was spent in war, Tipu patronised art. This was 'Tiger' Tipu's favourite retreat. The graceful proportions and the arabesque work in rich colours covering the walls, render the palace very attractive. It is a fine specimen of Indo-Saracenic architecture, which was named Dariya Daulat, meaning "wealth of the sea".

The entrance is flanked by two domed pigeon houses which kept the valuable ‘letter carriers’.

As one walks forward on the pedestrian pathway, passing by royal palms, banyan and cypress trees standing tall against the azure sky, one comes across cannons alongside the fountain—a reminder of the turbulent times in which the garden was built.

The rectangular shaped Tippu palace stands on a raised (1.5 m high) platform. There are open corridors on all four sides of the elevated platform. With canopied balconies, audience halls, arches and concealed staircases, the Tippu summer palace is said to have been built in the structural style credited to the Moghal Governor, Dilvar Khan of Sira.

The salient feature of this place is that every pillar, wall and alcove is painted in rich hues of red, blue and gold on the white background. The designs are derived from nature and are mainly floral, with leaves and tendrils moulding the doorways. A low, wooden trellis-work runs around the room. The balconies have a cupola top that is a dominant feature of Islamic architecture.Around the main building runs a wide verandah standing tall on tapering, lotus-like teak pillars.

Drawing room by Edmund David Lyon, 1868

The palace is famous for the art work done extensively on its walls and ceilings. The outer and inner walls have scrolls, floral patterns, and the portraits of kings and courtiers. Wall decorations include impressive 18th century frescoes of battles the father and son fought against the British fields, armies in action and victory processions. These murals are considered to be rare visual documentaries of pre-independence war history.

Frescoes on wall;photo by Edmund David Lyon, 1868

The famous oil painting "Storming of Srirangapattanam" by Sir Robert Porter, depicting the defeat of Tippu and the fall of Srirangapattana on May 4, 1799 is said to be a painting of great artistic value and historic importance.

Apart from the murals depicting the great victory of the armies of Hyder Ali and Tippu Sultan in the battle against Col. Bailee in 1780, on the eastern side of the palace walls are historic murals of the darbars attended by powerful rulers Kittur Rani Chennamma, Krishnaraja Wodeyar II, and Palegars Madakarinayaka of Chitradurga, Magadi Kempegowda and many other kings and chieftains.

A lot of things which Tipu used for his daily chores are kept in the museum. It has artefacts, silver articles, furniture, coins, shields, swords and attires of a bygone era including Tipu’s blue-and-gold coat. It also has many ink drawings of Tipu and his family done by employees of the East India Company. Several sketches by Thomas Hickey and a 3D painting of prince Tipu are commendable!

Watergate -- srirangapattana

Sally port where Tipu fell

Water gate 1938

May 5, 1799: He was still trapped in the courtyard with a handful of faithful followers and surrounded by the British soldiers. They fought for a long time.Three horses were shot from under Tipu. He, along with four other bodyguards, killed a record 4,500 British soldiers-about fifteen British were left alive and Wellesley was thinking about surrendering when a British bullet hit Tipu on his arm. Another hit his temple and the Tiger of Mysore, the hope of Indian freedom, the great nationalist who sacrificed every thing for his dream of British-free India, fell. And along with him, shattered the dream of Indian independence-one that will not be able to be achieved till 150 years later by the endless efforts of Ghandi and Nehru and Jinnah-just because some greedy men sold their soul for a few gold. Tipu's body was given a military burial and he was buried by his father's side in Lal Bagh.

The following text is borrowed from:
On the evening of May 3rd, British guns breached the ramparts, and at half past one on the following afternoon, General Baird led the forward storming party.

The fighting was fierce. The Sultan himself stood with those who were attempting to hold the breach, firing with his own hand. When it became evident they could not stem the invasion, he turned abruptly, and attempted to force his way through the press on horseback, toward the Zenana. According to Rajah Khan, the only person to have been at his side the whole afternoon, the thought of the ladies of the household had been in his mind since the moment when he realised the fort was going to fall, and he had considered it his duty to put them to the sword with his own hand, lest they be exposed to outrage in the tumult.

The great gateway, when the Sultan and Rajah Khan reached it, presented already a scene of carnage. Trying to push his way through a melee, in which British soldiers and his own were closely mingled, the Sultan was wounded, first in his breast, then in his right side. Rajah Khan, seeing how heavily he was afflicted, cried out to him that he should make his identity known to the British soldiers, who would surely treat his person with respect.

"Are you mad?" shouted Tippu. "Be silent!" Rajah Khan attempted to disengage him from the saddle and they both fell to the earth together. Rajah Khan, wounded in the leg himself, was yet able to drag the Sultan a little to one side, and so prop him up under the relative shelter of a the arch of the great gate. An English soldier, catching sight of the rich gold buckle with which the Sultan's belt was fastened, stooped and tried to take it off him. Tippu, however, was not dead yet. So many bodies had fallen across his own that he could not get to his feet, being pinned amongst the dead and dying; but he reached out with his hand, laterally, plucked a sword from one of those who had fallen, and struck upwards, slashing the grenadier across the knee. The grenadier, incensed, raised his musket, put it straight to the Sultan's temple, not knowing who he was, and shot him.

Death of Tipu at the taking of Srirangapattana

Death of Tipu by Henry Singleton

Even in death, wrote one present, he carried such a vivacity of hatred that Arthur Wellesley, standing over him in the flickering torchlight, could not believe him dead till he had felt the heart and pulse.

He was dressed in a white linen jacket, and loose drawers of flowered chintz, with a crimson cloth of silk and cotton round the waist. He was of small stature, a trifle corpulent, very dark of complexion, with aqualine nose, bold eyes and prominent chin. His brows were finely arched, and his hands and feet remarkably small and delicately shaped.

Finding body of Tipu -- coloured engraving by Samuel William Reynolds London 1800

Sir David Baird discovering the body of Tipu Sultan; by Sir David Wilkies

The following day, four companies of Europeans marched with his bier. It was borne by his personal attendants, and accompanied by the Kazi, chanting verses from the Koran. Thousands of the faithful prostrated themselves as the Sultan passed on his last journey through the streets toward Lal Bang, where they laid him with his father; the occasion of the last obsequies being rendered more awful by the bursting of an almighty thunderstorm.

The foregoing was quoted from the book:
"Noor-un-nisa Inayat Khan, GC, MBE, CdG, by British Author,
Jean Overton Fuller.

There are several stories as to how Tipu was defeated. One version of the story portrays Mir Sadiq as the traitor who sold his mother land while another version portrays Purnayya as the traitor who negotiated the life of his Muslim ruler with the British.

The British promised Mir Sadiq that in return for helping them, they would make him the ruler of Mysore. Also involved in this plot was Pandit Purnia, Tipu's Secretary of Treasury. He was promised the post of prime-minister. They tried various things on Tipu. During a highly important conflict, Purnia told the soldiers to come collect their wages. The soldiers left the cannons and went for their pay and the British were able to destroy parts of the fort wall. Also, empty cannonballs were provided to the soldiers. In the fort, Mir Sadiq declared that Tipu had abducted. However, one of Tipu's loyal followers attacked and killed Mir Sadiq.

In actual fact, Tipu's minister of finance, Mir Sadiq, who was a muslim, informed on Tipu to the British. Tipu did have a confidant, a Brahmin minister named Purnaiah, who remained loyal to him until the very end and who was appointed by the British to rule Mysore after Tipu's death until the legitimate Hindu King of Mysore came of age.

According to historical facts, Tipu did inded suspect Mir Sadiq of treason and intended to hang him before the fortress fell, but did not succeed. Forrest confirms that it was Mir Sadiq who betrayed Tipu to the British. He also believes that Mir Sadiq was killed by his own troops as a traitor and his corpse savagely mangeled.

The following text is borrowed from:

Ordinary soldier:
When we speak of traitors or betrayers, the name of Mir Sadik comes to our mind instantaneously. He was an ordinary soldier in the army of Hyder Ali. By hard work and courage he attained superior position in the administration. Mir Sadik showed the same courage during Tipu's regime. Unsuspecting Tipu promoted him and made him the chief of revenue and finance. He remained faithful to Tipu till 1792. When British gained an upper hand, Mir Sadik understood that Tipu was not a winning horse and that there is no use in supporting him any longer. Overnight he changed his loyalty to the British but kept it as a secret and pretended loyalty to Tipu. He selected his own men and sent secret information to British Governor Cornwallis. He used code words and if by chance the messenger was caught, he would be killed immediately.

Evil designs:
Tipu was a sharp and shrewd Sultan and he came to know of the evil designs of Mir Sadik. He was arrested and kept in prison. But Mir Sadik explained that this was the work of some other soldiers and he was following them to find out the truth. Thus he pleaded his innocence and took an oath to be faithful and obedient to Tipu. Unfortunately Tipu believed him and released him from prison.

Breach of trust:
As soon as he came out of the prison, he continued his breach of trust against the Sultan with greater caution. He told the Sultan that he would be freely moving with the British officers and soldiers only to find out their secrets. Actually he was acting on the contrary. The British promised him wealth and the headship of the Mysore kingdom if Tipu was defeated. Again Tipu came to know of this treachery and prepared a list of persons to be hanged. The first name in this list was that of Mir Sadik. One of his friends informed this to Mir Sadik. He immediately became alert and before Tipu could act, the British were made to attack and Tipu could never come out of the fort of Srirangapattana.

On 22, May 1799 when the battle was going on, Mir Sadik invited all the soldiers of Tipu Sultan who were guarding the fort of Srirangapattana, to come out for a negotiation regarding the increase in their salary as per the order of Tipu. The soldiers believed it and left the fort and went out for negotiations. Now the British had no opposition except for Tipu and some commanders. Tipu was taken aback by this development. Immediately Mir Sadik as planned earlier gave the signal through a white handkerchief to the British soldiers to enter the fort. Immediately the British entered the fort.

Tipu look – alike:
As a strategy many soldiers were dressed like Tipu to confuse the British. It was difficult for them to identity the real Tipu and were struggling to find out the truth. At this juncture Mir Sadik told the British officers that he would go near the real Tipu in the battlefield and bend before him as if showing respect to the Sultan and the British should take the clue from this. He did like this and the British had no difficulty in recognising Tipu Sultan on the battlefield and killing him. Thus Mir Sadik fulfilled his desire of helping the British to eliminate Tipu, his own master who trusted him and promoted him, and even released him from prison, and saved his life. But Mir Sadik showed his gratitude in this way!

But the soldiers of Tipu and people came to know of the treachery of Mir Sadik, attacked him and killed him when he was on his way to join the British. British intervened and buried his body in Srirangapattana itself. But the people were so furious against Mir Sadik and decided that this treacherous person should not be allowed to rest in peace even after death. They exhumed his body from the grave and showed their indignation by throwing human excreta on the body. At this juncture the British intervened and reburied the body at the same place. This is how contemporary people showed their anger and contempt against Mir Sadik who symbolized treachery and betrayal against his own kingdom, master and mentor.

Mir Sadikism:
Even today when tourists go to Srirangapattana to see the Palace of Tipu and his tomb, the guide who explains the history of Tipu Sultan shows the tomb of Mir Sadik and vividly describes the betrayal of Mir Sadik in a highly emotional way. Some tourists even throw stones on his grave and feel justified in doing so. Thus Mir Sadik has become a symbol of treachery or betrayal in our history.

Mir Sadik is dead but his character “Mir Sadikism” still continues in various forms. If a friend or a relative behaves in a treacherous way and betrays the trust deposed in him or her, such a person is referred to as Mir Sadik. Thus Mir Sadik has unfortunately become immortal in history for his notorious character. That is the defect of history. The betrayer is dead but betrayal continues just like the demon Raktabijasura of our puranas!

Prof. A.V. Narasimha Murthy,
Former Head,
Department of Ancient History & Archaeology,
University of Mysore.

27 December, 2007

Lal Mahal -- Tipu's palace -- Srirangapattana

A short distance from Water Gate was the Lal Mahal, one of Tipu’s palaces. The British desccribed this palace as "very handsome". It had a regal audience hall or the durbar hall with three rows of magnificient pillars supporting a roof two stories above, a library and zenana. The palace also had sophisticated underground piping. It is said that Tipu had chained four tigers near its entrance. Col Wellesley destroyed lal mahal after the seige of Srirangapattana.

Could these flight of steps have led to the zenana?

It is said that in Tipu’s large zenana were, in addition to purchased slaves from such places as Istambul and Georgia, two sisters of the Raja of Coorg and a niece of none other than Purnaiya, who was Tipu’s Diwan http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=152&page=13

The zenana could have also been where Tipu's body was set after the British killed him in the last battle of Srirangapattana. Henry Singleton has painted this imaginary portrait. Moorish columns and archways form the dark scene and sleeping veils hang down from the ceiling. Tipu Sultan's body lies on a diwan, limp and robed. His arm hanging down lifeless, his head lolled back and only recognisable by its distinctive curled moustache. Women in diaphanous French empire style gowns surround the body in various poses of distress: one kneels and kisses his feet, with her back to the viewer; another stands with arms outstretched and open-mouthed head thrown back, in a pose that suggests the image of a maiden wailing for her demon lover. Two distraught young children in white gowns, clearly the hostage princes stand at Tipu's head; other Mysore attendants, in poses of distress or indifference, stand in the shadows.

Tipu's wives and children, and over 800 women from the royal zenana, were transported from Srirangapattana to Madras (present day Chennai) shortly after the capital fell to Baird's troops. They were all then imprisoned at Vellore Fort that was surrounded by moat filled with alligators of a very large size.

Ghulam Mohammed, Tipu Sultan's oldest and only surviving son, wrote a passage to his keepers in 1854 that revealed how very far both the Sultan's family and the British empire had traveled since the Romantic and revolutionary days of the 1780s, before Cornwallis, before Wellesley, and before the storming of Srirangapattana:

In the year 1799 AD, my father, the once powerful sovereign of the South of India (may his tomb be sanctified), fell subdued by the force of the invincible arms of Great Britain. With his downfall fled the greatness of his family, and the glory of his house was extinguished; but if in his wisdom, an Almighty Providence thought proper to crush him, I, his now only surviving son, can praise that One and only Being, who, in his bounty, has also thought fit to vouchsafe to us such merciful conquerors. I can now, with a sincere and true heart, offer up prayers for the safety and good health of her Majesty, our most Gracious Queen Victoria, and I can bless the Prophet, on whom be peace, that successive Sovereigns of her mighty Empire have entrusted the Government of this country, and the care of Britain's fallen foes and their descendants, to that just and even upright body, the Honourable the Court of Directors."

26 December, 2007

Sriranganatha Temple -- Srirangapattana

Legends linked to Sriranganatha Temple

It is said that Cauvery is in fact Ganges flowing at the bid of Kashi Vishwanatha. There was severe draught in Dravida desha that lasted for 12 years. Parched lands, dried up water sources, people and animals perishing in large numbers moved sage Sayana who did penance on Brahmagiri mountain to please Lord Maheshwara. Lord Maheshwara was pleased by the sage's penance and bade Ganga to flow in this land.

Though Ganga acquired new name and flowed in new land, she could not snap her connections from Vaikunta or Lord Vishnu. She wanted to wash the feet of her Lord eternally. So she created three islands and Srirangapattana is one of them. Theists erected temples dedicated to Sriranga on these islands. Great rulers donated liberally for conducting prayers regularly on a grand scale in Sriranganatha temple at Srirangapattana.

According to another legend, river Cauvery is the daughter of Kaveru who married sage Agasthya and took the form of River Cauvery to cleanse the people of their sins. Image of Cauvery in "garbha griha" is a testimony of gratitude of the people whose lives were enriched by her nectarine water.

Ranganatha in sanskrit meaning "Protector of the place of assembly" is a resting form of Lord Vishnu. This form of the Lord is of importance to the Vaishnavites. Sri Devi and Bhu Devi the consorts of Lord Vishnu are not present in the "garbha griha". Instead, River Cauvery is installed in sitting posture at the feet of Lord Ranganatha holding a lotus in her hand.

History of the temple

Tirumalaraya a Ganga chieftain built the temple in 894 AD with imposing tower and enshrined Sriranganatha. He named the flourishing town around the temple as "rangapattana" or "rangapura". Later Udayadithya, brother of King Vishnuvardhana renovated and expanded it in all directions. Three centuries later, Vijayanagar rulers renovated the temple. Wodeyars took the possession of this temple from the Vijayanagar viceroy and passed it to Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. Hence it is a remarkable medley of different styles (Vijayanagar and Hoysala style) of architecture. The temple remained a place of worship receiving adoration from all the rulers.

Legend of Talakadu

The religious belief is that Srirangaraya was a Vijayanagar representative from Srirangapatna. Srirangaraya's wife Alamelamma was a devotee of Ranganatha. She used to send her jewels every Friday to decorate Goddess Ranganayaki in the Srirangapattana temple.

Raja Wodeyar was established as the ruler when Srirangarayan died. Raja wodeyar asked Alamelamma to hand over the jewellery, but she was adamant and refused. She committed suicide by jumping into River Cauvery. Locals believe that before dying she cursed the town -
"Talakadu MaraLagali,
malangi maduvagali,
wodeyar doreyarige makkaLagadirali
--May Talakad be filled with sand,
may Malangi become a whirlpool,
May the Wodeyars never have children.

Strangely, it's all come true.