Watergate at Srirangapatna and Tipu Sultan

water Gate,  Srirangapatna.ThinkBangalore - blogger

If you look at the gates in the palaces, cities, forts, etc., across the world such as Buckingham Palace Gate, London (1911), old city gate (1335) of Haarlem, Netherlands and others, some of them were part of history. The remarkable aspect of Indian gates is, many of them connect the present generation with the past. This is quite true of  countless gates across India, each one of which has some kind of historical, cultural or religious significance. Mention may be made of Khooni Darwaza, Ajmeri Gate, Delhi, Rumi Darwaza, Lucknow, Gate Way of India, Mumbai,  Daria Daulat Bagh Gate, Srirangapatna, Karnataka  Jamali Kamali Entrance, Mehrauli, etc.

Sensational watergate scndal, ushistorybrown.blogspot.in

The water Gate in the Srirangapatna Fort, Karnataka  may remind the old timers about the sensational "Watergate" political scandal that took place in the USA during the Nixon Administration, following an illegal  break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. on June 17, 1972. Multiple abuses of power by members of the Nixon administration came to the surface that ultimately led to the exit Richard Nixon, who was facing impeachment.

 Unlike  many gates in India, the Watergate at Srirangapatna  is neither architecturally impressive nor is it a huge one with sturdy doors, etc. But,
 its historical importance can not be overlooked.
Srirangapatna anglicized to Seringapatam (in the district of Mandya) near the city of Mysore is a historical place and played a great role during the British rule. Enclosed by the river Cauvery in the form a river island, Srirangapatna was the capital of Mysore under Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan only for a short period. After Tipu's death in 1799 in the final Angelo-Mysore war, his kingdom was taken over by the British and later restored to the early rulers of Mysore - the Wadiyars. Srirangapatna has several   Indo-Islamic monuments - Tipu Sultan's palaces, the Darya Daulat and the Jumma Masjid (Friday congregational mosque), Armory etc., are
 worthy of mention.

Tipu Sultan of Mysore,. a great warrior. MyShikshak.com

The Water Gate, is the place in the fort  and Tipu's body was found near it in the final Mysoren war. It is located in the northern fort wall, next to the Gangadharshwera Temple. The river is accessible through this gate and people used the gate to fetch water from the river Cauvery for their daily needs. The gateway has guard  houses. The Mysore Gate and Elephant Gate, to the south, are flanked by guardrooms. Sultan Battery, the dungeons where Tipu used to keep British prisoners, is to the north; nearby is the Water Gate, where Tipu was killed.


Above image: Tipu lying dead, Srirangapatna fort.
Sir David Bairs discovering the body of Tipu Sultan ( 20 November 1750 – 4 May 1799); by sir David Wilkie; a steel engraving by John Burnet 1843.   .....................................

 This centuries old gate is the silent spectator  to the fierce battle between Tipu's forces and the British army led by Arthur Wellesley, (the future first Duke of Wellington) in the final Mysorian war in 1799.  There is a likelihood that it was through this gate
 on that fateful day of 4 May, the well-trained English troops stealthily entered and charged into the fort. Despite the French Military advisors' warning, instead of escaping through the secret passage, Tipu decided to fight it out unto his death. Tipu Sultan said to the the French officers, "Better to live one day as a tiger than a thousand years as a sheep". In the sea-saw  battle, Tipu Sultan was found dead near the eastern  fort wall  (Hoally gate). The pathetic story is Tipu fought against the British valiantly till the last drop of his  blood and at that time he was wearing a thick gold ring with Devanagari  inscription RAM.  This gold ring was removed from his finger and British officer Wellesley kept it as a souvenir. This famous Tipu's  gold ring came up for auction  a few years ago in London as Wellesley's  descendants needed money to tide over their family  financial difficulties. Water gate  is  near  Sri Ranganathaswamy temple (dedicated to lord Vishnu)  and Lal Mahal Palace. Tipu  Sultan never interfered in the function of the near-by Hindu temple.  He was buried in the following afternoon, at the Gumaz, next to the grave of his father, Hyder Ali.


Many of the  of the structures within the fort fell into ruins, but for  the bridges across the two courses  of the Cauvery river. From here one can view  the bathing ghats and the ramparts. The polygonal bastion with turreted  parapet is surrounded by a broad moat to the east and the south.  The bastion was built by the French with whom Tipu had a military  alliance. It is believed that Karanata government is making plans to restore the missile launch pads and other structures that are in bad shape now!