Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace

On my last day in Bangalore, before heading off to the airport, I called at Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace (or what remains of it).

The palace was originally built by Kempe Gowda, the founder of Bangalore, but was extended by Tipu Sultan when he was the Emperor of Mysore.  The palace is made of teak and the arches are carved in the Islamic style.  There are balconies that look out each side onto gardens, and Tipu Sultan used to conduct the affairs to state from the upper balconies.  

Tipu was an enemy of the British East India Company and fought against them for many years.  He seems to have been a visionary leader, planing up the Lalbaug botanical gardens as well as building roads and public buildings and making numerous other improvements including a new money system.   Tipu eventually died defending his capital against the British (people in India regard him as a martyr).

Tipu is known as the Tiger of Mysore and when urged to flee and save himself in the 4th Mysore War against the British said "One day of life as a tiger is far better than thousand years of living as a jackal".   He refused to flee and therefore died.

In the palace was a photo of Tipu's Tiger - the original is in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.  This was a toy/musical instrument of a tiger savaging a British soldier.  The man makes a wailing sound and the tiger growls.  The flap in the side folds down to reveal the keyboard of a small organ.

Next to the palace is a temple dedicated to the god Vishnu.  I went to visit that temple too.

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