This is continuation of my Mysore, Ooty and Kodaikanal Trip with KSTDC. In Bangalore, to reach the Karnataka State Tourism office at Badami House, you have to instruct your auto/cab driver to drive to the Corporation Circle. There anyone can direct you to the tourism office and most probably you’ll be greeted by a fleet of white-blue KSTDC tourist buses. We left Bangalore city by 07:20 AM to catch the nail-polish smooth state highway to Mysore (renamed as 'Mysuru' on November 1, 2014). After 65 kilometers of drive from Bangalore we reached the town of Channapatna. Channapatna is renowned for its wooden dolls, toys and lacqueware, earning it the title of "Toy town of Karnataka". The time-honored art of wooden toy making, the origin of which can be traced back to the period of Tipu Sultan who invited Persian artists to train his local wooden toy-makers, is presently protected under Geographical indication under the World Trade Organization, administered by the Government of Karnataka.
|A typical KSTDC tourist bus parked outside the Karnataka State Tourism office in Badami House.|
In olden days, these wooden toys at Channapatna were made from Ivory-wood, Rosewood and Sandalwood but presently due to cost and availability factors, woods of Pine, Teak, Cedar, Rubber etc are also used in the toy-making by local toy-makers. If you’re ready to pay, you can purchase wooden toys colored with organic dyes which is safer for kids but I noted the price is quite steep. I would have loved to explore Channapatna, especially see toy-making in progress but we were only allowed half an hour break in front of a toy emporium. Certainly they had a huge collection of diverse wooden crafts but never enough for the traveler who wanted to see an artist making it. We had breakfast after that in some roadside inn and I was pleasantly surprised by the way they served me Idli!
|I was pleasantly surprised by the way they served me Idli at Channapatna!|
By 11 O’clock we reached Srirangapatna, the ancient fortress capital city of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. The heritage city of Srirangapatnan is situated in the banks of River Cauvery and bordered by stone fort with four dilapidated gates preserving the ruins of Tipu’s Palace, water gate, dungeons, mosques and temples. Places of tourist interest in Srirangapatna include- Summer Palace of Tipu Sultan (Daria Daulat Bagh), Ranganatha Swamy Temple, Tipu’s death place, Jama Masjid, Colonel Bailey Dungeon and Gumbaz. In my opinion, the entire fort area is most rewarding when explored around on a horse. Yea, there are plenty of horses to give you that royal feel.
|Channapatna is renowned for its wooden dolls, toys and lacqueware, earning it the title of "Toy town of Karnataka".|
The Summer Palace of Tipu Sultan was built in 1784 to celebrate Tipu’s two consecutive victories over British invaders. It’s popularly known as ‘Dariya Daulat’ which means "The wealth of the sea". All the walls and ceilings of the entire palace are exquisitely painted depicting the victories of Hyder Ali and Tipu over the British led by Colonel Bailee, the Nizam of Hyderabad arriving in the battlefield, and the durbar scenes of Tipu’s contemporaries like the Rani of Chitoor, the Raja of Tanjore, the Raja of Banaras, the Peshwa Balaji Rao II, Magadi Kempegowda, Madakari Nayaka of Chitradurga and Krishnaraja Wodeyar III. After the death of Tipu Sultan in 1799, Dariya Daulat was occupied by Colonel Arthur Wellesley. Unfortunately photography inside the palace was prohibited and I behaved myself.
|All the walls and ceilings of the entire palace are exquisitely painted depicting the victories of Hyder Ali and Tipu over the British Empire.|
Next we were taken to the Ranganatha Swamy Temple which enshrines Lord Vishnu as Ranganatha and the largest Hindu temple of south India. Ranganatha Swamy temple was built by Tirumalaraya in 894 AD and later expanded by Hoysalas, Vijayanagara monarchs, Mysore Wodeyars and Hyder Ali. The presiding deity is a colossal statue of Lord Vishnu as Ranganatha, reclining on the huge coils of the serpent Sesha, with multiple hoods. Now few words about its architecture- The Navaranga doorway is guarded on either side by two large Devarapalakas. Most of the pillars in courtyard are in Hoysala style. The main entrance has four pillars of the Vijayanagara period sculpted with the 24 forms of Lord Vishnu.
|The Summer Palace of Tipu Sultan was built in 1784 to celebrate Tipu’s two consecutive victories over British invaders.|
There are many other shrines like Ranganayaki, Narasimha, Sudarshana, Gopalkrishna, Srinivasa etc in the complex. Due to its immense popularity among tourists, the outside space of the Ranganatha Swamy Temple has been converted to a mini-fairground. If you walk around the temple you’ll be surrounded by a dozen of hawkers (trying to push-sell you their wooden handicrafts) and another dozen of handicapped beggars. Our next destination was Mysore city, almost 15 kilometers away from Srirangapatna. As a sincere endeavor to continue of my tale of Mysore, Ooty and Kodaikanal trip I’ll talk about my glimpses of Mysore in the next travel post.
|Ranganatha Swamy Temple enshrines Lord Vishnu as Ranganatha and is the largest Hindu temple of south India!|