Treasure trove of paintings

Tippu’s portrait

The era of Tippu Sultan is a vital chapter in the history of the state. The wars that date back to his time, the technology used in his war ammunition and his administrative style are important facets of Mysore’s history.

Tippu also built beautiful palaces in his time. All that remains of the Lal Mahal palace that was built in 1799, during the Anglo-Mysore war are ruins. Daria Daulat, the summer palace built on the banks of the Cauvery, built of wood, still stands.

This summer palace was built in commemoration of Tippu’s victory in the second Anglo-Mysore war in 1784. The main attraction of the palace are unique works of art painted on the eastern and western walls of the palace. On the eastern side are paintings of Mummudi Krishnaraja Wodeyar, Balaji Rao Peshva II, Magadi Kempe Gowda, Chitradurga’s Madakari Nayaka, Tanjavur royalty, et al. There are other paintings made of natural colours depicting treaties, and welcomes given to royalty at the palace.
The foot soldiers of Hyder Ali and Tippu Sultan, the elephants, the horses all lined up for war form the theme of the paintings on the western walls of the palace.

The paintings are life-like, and draw attention. One particular painting shows British soldiers armed with modern weapons standing in protection of Colonel Bailey. The painting by British artist Sir Robert Porter dated May 4, 1799, about the Fall of Srirangapatna draws attention.

The oil painting of Tippu Sultan on the southern wall by British artist GF Cherry in 1792 is an interesting one.

There are portraits of British officers General Bayard, Sargeant Graham and Colonel Dunlop. The inner wings of the palace has as many as 18 pencil sketches, which include as many as seven children of Tippu Sultan.

This two-storeyed palace was declared a national monument in 1957.  Today, it also serves as a museum.

However, what raises concern is the fact that the paintings in the palace which is 215 years old are fading. Cracks are appearing on the inner walls.

The Directorate of Archeaology had expressed concern about the fading beauty of Daria Daulat in a letter dated September 2008 addressed to the Mysore division of the archeaology department, and has indicated to them to take action.

A Belgium firm Johnson and Johnson visited the spot and inspected the paintings.
Ganangur Nanje Gowda
(Translated by SK)

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