Founded in the 9th century by the Ganga dynasty, Srirangapatna is a small town surrounded by the river Kaveri to form an island in Karnataka. The distance between Srirangapatna to Mysore is just 18 km. And from Bangalore, Srirangapatna is 124 km away, making it a great weekend getaway or a day trip from either of these places. The town is an architectural masterpiece of Hoysala and Vijayanagar styles evident in its monuments that came into the limelight during the reign of the Vijayanagara Empire. The town takes its name from the Sri Ranganathaswamy temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
The monuments on the island town have been nominated as a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) world heritage site. Owing to several spectacular waterfalls, Srirangapatna gloats in its astounding scenic beauty. With its interesting mix of tourist attractions like tombs, temples, palaces, and military warehouses, it holds historical as well as religious importance. The best time to visit Srirangapatna is in winter from October to March.
Here Are Some Must-Visit Places And Things To Do In Srirangapatna
1. The Largest Functioning Temple In The World: Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, situated at a distance of 500 metres from Srirangapatna Railway Station, is a famous temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu’s avatar of Ranganatha. It is one of the largest temples in Karnataka, located inside the Srirangapatna fort on the banks of the river Kaveri. Innumerable architectural intricacies make the temple an enthralling architectural marvel. It’s protected by the Archaeological Survey of India as a monument of national importance and has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, featuring on its tentative list. It is one of the most important Vaishnavite shrines in South India.
According to history, the sanctum of Ranganatha is said to have been built in 817 CE by Ambi, a dancer, in a blend of Hoysala and Vijayanagara architectures. The main shrine holds the idol of Vishnu reclining on the coils of the Adishesha Naag with its seven hoods forming a canopy over him. The goddess Lakshmi is seen at his feet, while idols of some other deities are seen around him. According to mythology, the river Kaveri accumulates all the sins from devotees who take a holy dip. The best time to visit the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is between the months of July and September. It’s visited by devotees all through the year, and there are long queues almost every day, but the temple gets extremely crowded during weekends. It is open from 7.30 AM to 8 PM, and there is no entry fee.
2. Often Called The ‘Envy Of Heaven’: Daria Daulat Bagh
Daria Daulat Bagh also known as Tipu’s Summer Palace is located at a distance of 3 km from Srirangapatna Railway Station. Its construction was commenced by Hyder Ali in 1778 and completed by his son Tipu Sultan in 1784 CE. The palace is raised on a 5-foot tall platform, made with teakwood in Indo-Saracenic style, and is surrounded by a large garden on the southern bank of the river.
The pillars, arches, canopies, walls, and corridors are graced with several murals that depict scenes of warfare carried out by Hyder Ali and Tippu Sultan and the Nizams of Hyderabad. The top floor houses the Tipu Sultan Museum which exhibits many of the ruler’s belongings along with many European and Persian paintings and manuscripts. Its magnificent balconies and stairways create a perfect shot for photography buffs. The palace is open from 9 AM to 5 PM, with an entry fee of INR 20 for Indian citizens and INR 250 for foreigners.
3. Famous For Its Ethereal Beauty: Brindavan Gardens
Brindavan Gardens is a famous and beautiful garden laid out below the Krishnaraja Sagar Dam at a distance of 16 km from Srirangapatna. Its construction started in 1927 and it was completed in 1932. The garden was designed by Sir Mirza Ismail, the Diwan of Mysore, based on the design of the Shalimar Gardens of Kashmir in the Mughal style. Brindavan Gardens is considered one of the best gardens in India, spread over an area of 150 acres, enriched with running and cascading water channels, fountains, lush green lawns, and flower beds.
Located in the north, the musical and dancing fountain is the main attraction of the garden. The best time to visit is after sunset when the colourful fountains come alive. The garden also has a wonderful palace which has now been converted into a 4-star luxury hotel Royal Orchid. Boating is accessible between the southern and northern ends of the park. It is open from 6.30 AM to 9 PM with an entry fee of INR 15 per person and boating charges of an additional INR 15. The musical fountain is open between 6.30 PM to 7.30 PM on weekdays and 6.30 PM to 8:30 PM on weekends.
4. Home To 170 Bird Species: The Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
At a distance of 3 km from Srirangapatna, the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is the largest bird sanctuary in the state, and one of the main places to visit in Srirangapatna. The sanctuary comprises six islets on the banks of the Kaveri River. The sanctuary is a breeding ground for many migratory birds from all over the world and a paradise for bird watchers. Out of the 170 species of bird that reside here, the most notable are the black-headed ibis, painted stork, Asian openbill stork, common spoonbill, and woolly-necked stork.
This biodiversity hub also houses many small animals such as the flying fox, and bonnet macaque, and small mammals like the common palm civet, monitor lizard, and Indian grey mongoose. You can take a boat ride to the six islets crowded with a number of species of birds. Plenty of crocodiles can be easily spotted here. The best time to explore the raw nature of the sanctuary is between September and May. The scenery of the local vegetation coupled with the colourful species of birds makes it a unique learning experience for visitors of all ages and interests. This destination offers an opportunity to click on some good old nature photography. It is open from 9 AM to 6 PM, every day. The entry fee is INR 50 for Indian adults, INR 25 for Indian children, and INR 300 for foreigners.
5. A Double-walled Formidable Fort: Srirangapatna Fort
Srirangapatna Fort is situated at a distance of 1 km from the Srirangapatna Railway Station in the town of Srirangapatna, which was the capital of the Mysore state under the legendary King Tipu Sultan. This place is one of the popular tourist places to visit in Srirangapatna and an important historical site in Karnataka. The fort was originally built in 1537 by Kempe Gowda. It has a double wall defence system and four main entrances, which is what makes it one of history’s most impenetrable forts. Most of the fort was demolished by the British during the Fourth Mysore War in 1799.
The architectural style of the fort is Indo-Islamic and there is a Persian inscription on the gateway that displays the date of its construction. Tipu’s residence was housed within it, and it also has two dungeons in its lower chambers that were used to imprison captured British officers. It is open from 8.30 AM to 5.30 PM and has no entry fee.
Also read: 8 of the most stunning forts in India
6. The Largest Domed Structure Of India: Gumbaz
Gumbaz is the mausoleum of Tipu Sultan, his father Hyder Ali, and his mother Fakr-Un-Nisa, situated at a distance of 5 km from Srirangapatna Railway Station. It was built as the final resting place for his parents by Tipu Sultan in 1782-1784 CE. After his death in the Siege of Srirangapatna in 1799, Tipu was allowed to be buried here by the British. Having a path leading to the mausoleum, it is designed in Islamic style, with a large rectangular garden and an interior painted in lacquer with tiger stripes. The importance of this place lies in its well-shaped large dome with ivory inlaid doors and carved stone windows full of inscriptions. It is open from 8 AM to 6.30 PM with an entry fee of INR 20.
7. Featuring A Blend Of Islamic And Hindu Architecture: Jama Masjid
Jama Masjid also known as Masjid-e-Ala is situated near the Bangalore Gate of the Srirangapatna Fort. At a distance of 1.5 km from Srirangapatna Railway Station, it was constructed by Tipu Sultan in 1787. Featuring an interesting blend of Islamic and Hindu architecture, it is a grand structure with two large octagonal minarets that stand on a high platform with an open court in the front. On the walls of the prayer hall, 99 names of Allah are inscribed. This cream-coloured mosque has about 200 steps leading to the top of the minarets from where you get a splendid view of the place. The ceilings and walls of the masjid are well-decorated with Persian ornamentation and scriptures. It is open from 9 AM to 5.30 PM every day and has no entry fee.
8. The Shrine Of Goddess Parvati: Nimishamba Temple
At a distance of 5 km from Srirangapatna Railway Station, Sri Nimishamba Temple is located on the banks of the river Kaveri on the road leading to Sangam. There is a belief that the goddess Parvati clears the troubles of her devotees within a minute here, and the temple is therefore named Nimishamba, where Nimisha means one minute. The temple was built 400 years ago by Mummadi Krishanaraja Wodeyar, the king of Mysore. According to legend, the Suryavamsha king Muktaraja had got a ‘srichakra’ carved on a stone and performed his penance here. The stone is currently kept in front of the Nimishamba deity inside the temple. Along with the idols of other gods and goddesses like Hanuman and Lakshmi, the carvings on the temple tower are the main attraction here. It is open from 6 AM to 8.30 PM and has no entry fee.
9. Popular For Outdoor Picnics: Balmuri And Edmuri Waterfalls
At a distance of 12 km from Srirangapatna Railway Station, the Balmuri and Edmuri Falls are man-made waterfalls on the way to the KRS dam. Balmuri Falls is actually a small waterfall created by a check dam constructed on the river Kaveri. The water flow is not heavy during the dry season and it is safe to enjoy and play in the water here. Typically visited in winter, it makes for a good picnic spot too. It is the more famous of the two waterfalls and is a favourite spot for shooting films too.
The cascade of water sparkles in the sun and the surrounding green coconut palms adorn the shores making it a scenic spot—perfect for many song sequences in Kannada and Hindi films. About 500 feet east of Balmuri is the Edmuri Falls where one can swim and play in the water. The best time to visit is between March and August. The water is at a safe level and so perfect for a quick dip to escape the heat of the sun. It is open from 6 AM to 7 PM and has no entry fee.
10. A Place Of Historical Importance: Kunti Betta
At a distance of 14 km from Srirangapatana, Kunti Betta is a picturesque hill situated in Pandavapura Taluk of Mandya district in Karnataka. It is said that the mother of five Pandavas, Kunti stayed here during their exile (hence the name, which translates to ‘Kunti’s Hill’). The Kunti Betta trail is a short but fairly challenging one that includes steep ascents and descents. A popular destination for pilgrims, there is a temple with a pond at the foot of the hill. There are rooms to be left for pilgrims who plan an overnight stay at the temple. The steep and rocky hill offers a challenge for adventure seekers and is a perfect place for rock climbing and rappelling too. It is open 24/7 and has no entry fee.
Read more: A complete guide to trekking at Kunti Betta
How Can You Make The Most Of Your Trip To Srirangapatna?
Known for being as popular as its neighbour Mysore, the historical town of Srirangapatna can be covered in a day trip. Ideal for tourists from all walks of life, an old-world charm invites you to visit this place.
One of the greatest rewards we have, when we travel to such places, is that we get an opportunity to learn about different cultures, times, and religions. It is always important to show respect for local customs and traditions when we travel anywhere. One of the best ways to make a positive impact is by ensuring we do our best to be a responsible traveller, by managing our waste. If the distance you need to go isn’t too far, you can choose to walk and do your part in leaving behind less of a carbon footprint. One should always remember that small actions can have a big impact on the world while we travel. So let’s make sure it is a positive one.