Tipu Sultan was the feared emperor of the Mysore Kingdom from November 1750 to May 1799. He was referred to as the “Tiger of Mysore”, hinting his tiger-like ways of leadership. He left behind so many reminders of his reign, and one of the most picturesque ones is the Tipu Sultan Fort located near the city market of Bangalore.
Mysore or Misuru city is now a leading tourist destination in the state of Karnataka in South India. Tipu Sultan’s reign of the Mysore Kingdom, however, was not limited to this city as it is today, but also included Bangalore, the capital of the state. Also known as the “City of Palaces”, the city of Mysore is about 140 km away from Bangalore, which, on the other hand, is known as the “Garden City”. The capital city gets more attention than Mysore, understandably, since it is the most important and economically significant city in South India. Known worldwide as the “Silicon Valley of India”, Bangalore is a modern metropolis that is bustling with technological advancements, making its IT and software industries the best in South Asia.
But what’s really amazing about this modern city is the presence of historic landmarks such as Tipu Sultan’s fort. The sultan also left behind a Summer Palace that is of equal importance and popularity as that of the fort. The sultan’s Summer Palace located in Nandi Hill is surrounded by a picturesque garden that was planed and maintained by the sultan himself. Tourists must see this beautiful summer lodge, but not without checking out the sultan’s fort as well. Near the iconic wooden summer lodge is the dreaded Tipu’s Drop, a 600-meter high, bloodstained cliff where the sultan pushed prisoners and criminals to their deaths.
It was in the Fort, however, that the Emperor spent much of his free time. The two-storied wooden palace inside the Fort was where Tipu Sultan spent and enjoyed the hot summer seasons. Its beautiful pillars, arches and balconies are primarily made of teakwood, which adds to the magnificence of the fort as truly one of the most important historical structures in the city. Also inside the fort are ancient artifacts that belonged to Tipu Sultan and his kingdom.
The fort was not Tipu Sultan’s original creation. It was first constructed by Kempe Gowda, the founder of Bangalore, and was later expanded and made more beautiful by the Emperor of Mysore. It dates back to 1537, and it was also here where Tipu Sultan’s father, Hyder Ali, imprisoned a number of British soldiers including David Baird. Hyder Ali was a high officer in the Mysore army that fought against the British for a number of years, and the Fort was a silent witness to that fighting.
The Fort is very Islamic-looking, especially with its intricately carved arches. Inside are the well-preserved Ganapati Temple and, of course, the Sultan’s Palace. The wooden palace was constructed in 1790, much later than the fort itself. It was on the ornately designed palace balconies where the Emperor conducted important political affairs. After his death, the British took control of the Tipu Sultan Fort and used the palace as their secretariat until 1867.