Neglect brings down Tipu’s armoury in Srirangapatna

Neglect brings down Tipu’s armoury in Srirangapatna

From an anti-colonial hero to a treacherous tyrant, Tipu Sultan is hailed by some and condemned by a few others.

Perceived largely from the eyes of contemporary politics than his historical stature, Tipu is at the centre of a political slugfest.

Eager to host his birthday in the form of a statewide Jayanthi, the state government seems to be cavalier in protecting his legacy in his own native Srirangapatna despite spending several crores on its upkeep.

A whopping Rs 14 crore was spent a year ago just to shift the two-century-old armoury to make way for the second railway line connecting Bengaluru and Mysuru.

Today, the historic monument, covered in bushes and weeds, has become a hideout for antisocial elements.

The armoury, located just a stone’s throw from the Srirangapatna Railway station, is used by a few as a public toilet. 

DH visited the structure last week and discovered that the armoury and premises have become a hub of illegal activities. Empty alcohol bottles and garbage were strewn all over the place.

The premises are covered by bushes and weeds, calling for urgent attention by the archaeological department. Locals revealed that the armoury turns a centre of activities late in the evening with many choosing the place for a game of cards over drinks.

“Initially when they shifted it, they did not even allow people to go anywhere near. But today it is a den of illegal activities. Did the government spend so much to convert a monument into a recreation spot,” questioned Mubarak, a resident. Anwar Pasha, a tourist guide at Srirangapatana, said the department has failed to maintain the armoury. “The least they can do is to deploy a few security personnel to regulate visitors and lock it up after evening hours.”

When DH brought the issue to the notice of the Department of Archaeology, its commissioner T S Venkatesh admitted that he has received similar complaints. “A few days ago, it was brought to my notice that people are misusing the place. We will deploy some security personnel to maintain and supervise the armoury,” he said. The department will soon install nameboards at the site declaring it as a heritage structure in possession of the state government, he said.

The armoury, built in the 18th century, was used to store arms and ammunition of Tipu’s army during the Anglo-Mysore wars.

Structure’s dimensions

The structure, measuring 13.33 metres by 10.12 metres, weighs approximately 900 tonnes. Built on a foundation of boulders, each wall is four-foot thick and built with mortar and lime. Paving way for the doubling of railway track between Bengaluru and Mysuru, the structure was moved from its earlier location by 500 metres.