The Scott's Bungalow, Seringapatam, of Karnataka a historical vestige of East India Co

Scott's Bungalow, Srirangapatnam, KA

The town  of Seringapatam (also Srirangapatnam) once the seat of power of Tipu Sultan near Mysore of  Karnataka, is a treasure trove of Indian heritage, boasting numerous historical and architectural marvels that captivate visitors. Among these relics are the Ranganatha Swamy Temple, the formidable Seringapatam Fort, and several colonial-era structures, one of which is the renowned Scott's Bungalow. This old bungalow, situated on the banks of the Kaveri (Cauvery) River, stands as an enduring example of British colonial architecture and holds significant historical value.

2016 Scott's bungalow, Seringapatam, KA 

In November 1999, photographer Jason Scott Tilley embarked on a road trip with his grandfather and Vicki Couchman, searching for Scott's Bungalow in Seringapatam. His grandfather believed that the bungalow was connected to their family heritage. After navigating challenging dirt roads, they finally arrived at the bungalow, where they were greeted by Yvette, the current resident. Although Yvette did not permit them to enter the house, she allowed them to explore the grounds. The trio discovered a nearby colonial graveyard, the Garrison Cemetery, which included graves marked with the surname Scott. These graves belonged to the wife and infant child of Colonel I.C. Scott, leading the visitors to conclude that the site had no direct connection to their family.

Location map Seringapatam,

Colonel I.C. Scott was a notable figure in the history of Seringapatam, having participated in the decisive siege of the city in 1799 during the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War, which resulted in the death of Tipu Sultan and the restoration of the Wodeyar dynasty under British suzerainty. Following the war, Scott was assigned to supervise a gun factory in the village of Ganjam, where he earned commendations for his skills and dedication, eventually rising to the rank of Colonel. He developed a close friendship with the Maharajah of Mysore, who commissioned the construction of Scott's Bungalow as a token of their friendship and in recognition of Scott's service.

The bungalow, located about half a mile from the historical Mysore Gate of the fort, was a beautiful structure in the English architectural style, featuring lush green surroundings and luxurious interiors. However, tragedy struck in April 1817 when Scott returned from an inspection to find that his wife had died in childbirth and his two daughters had succumbed to cholera. Devastated, Scott reportedly either drove himself and his horse carriage into the Cauvery River or disappeared without a trace. The Maharajah, grief-stricken by the loss of his friend, ordered the bungalow to be preserved in the hope of Scott's return, a tradition upheld by subsequent Wodeyar rulers.

The story of Scott's Bungalow was later immortalized in a poem titled "The Deserted Bungalow" by Aliph Cheem in 1875, which vividly described the abandoned state of the house and the sorrowful events that transpired there. Contrary to local legend, Colonel Scott eventually resigned and returned to England, where he died in 1833. The bungalow, left untouched for decades, became a time capsule of a bygone era, with its decaying furniture and silent pianos bearing witness to its storied past.

In 1931, Constance Parsons' book "Seringapatam" provided a detailed description of the bungalow, highlighting its enduring yet melancholic charm. By the 1990s, the bungalow had changed hands and was owned by Yvette, who maintained it as her residence. Jason Tilley's visit in 1999, while not uncovering a direct family connection, served to rekindle interest in this historical site and its poignant legacy.

Scott's Bungalow remains a testament to the rich and often tumultuous history of Seringapatam, encapsulating the intersection of British colonial and Indian cultural heritage. Its legacy, marked by friendship, tragedy, and mystery, continues to intrigue and inspire those who visit, reflecting the profound and multifaceted history of the region.

The records detail the death of Caroline Isabella Scott and her infant child in Seringapatam in 1817:

Grave Inscription:

Caroline Isabella Scott (and infant child), wife of Colonel I C Scott, Commandant of Seringapatam, died in child-bed on 19th April 1817.

Blackwood's Magazine (1818):

Mentions Mrs. Caroline Scott, wife of Colonel J G Scott of the Madras Artillery, died on 19th April 1817 in Seringapatam.

Other Records:

Report the birth of a stillborn child to Colonel Scott’s wife on 14th April 1817.

Daughters' Graves:

Constance Parsons (1931) notes that the graves of Scott’s two daughters could not be found in the Garrison Cemetery, Seringapatam.

There are minor inconsistencies in Colonel Scott’s initials, but the records consistently document the tragic deaths associated with childbirth during that period. The daughters' graves remain undiscovered, possibly due to lost or incomplete records.

Through the efforts of the descendants of the Scott's family, the graves were restored to their old glory at the cost of INR 3 million in consultation with the Karnataka State Archaeology Department. Lime and bricks were mainly used in the restoration, with the lime coming from a local quarry. 

It was  handed over to the de Meuron family in November 2008.