General Harris House of Seringapatam, the legacy of early colonial rule in Mysore

colonial Harris's House, Seringapatam, KA

Lord Harris’s House, also known as The Doctor's Bungalow or Puraniah’s Bungalow, is a historically significant residence located on the river banks near the path between the Garrison Cemetery and Scott’s Bungalow. This house served as the residence of General Harris following the Siege of Seringapatam (also spelled Srirangapatnam)), now in Karnataka state in 1799, and subsequently became the headquarters for the commanding officer of Seringapatam.

Historical Significance

General George Harris, Colonial India

Above image: His success  at Seringapatam, won the appreciation of the English Co and  he got  the offer of an Irish peerage which he humbly declined..  After his trip back home in 1800,Lord  Harris continued to serve the army and in 1812 he became full army general...........

General Harris’s Residence:

 After the British victory over Tipu Sultan in 1799, General Harris briefly lived in this house. It marked a pivotal period when the British were consolidating their control over the Mysore Kingdom and reinstating the Wodeyar dynasty.

  1. Mutiny of 1809: In 1809, the house was the site of a notable mutiny by officers of the Madras Army, led by Colonel Bell, against Sir George Barlow, the then Governor of Madras. This event is a significant part of the early 19th-century history of British India.

  2. Purnaiah’s Tenure and Death: Post-retirement, the house became the residence of Dewan Purnaiah, an esteemed administrator who had served under Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan before being appointed the first Dewan of Mysore by General Harris due to his exceptional administrative skills. Purnaiah lived here until his death on 28 March 1812.

Notable Incidents:

  • Purnaiah’s Retirement and Death: After retiring in 1811, Purnaiah moved into this house and spent his final days here. Shortly before his death, he wrote a poignant letter to his friend Colonel Hill, expressing his readiness for the end of his journey. Colonel Hill, in response, acknowledged their shared fate, stating that he was on the same path, and he too passed away shortly after Purnaiah.

  • Diwan Purnaiah of Mysore

A tablet on the wall Harris's House, Seringapatam, KA

Commemorative Tablet:

A tablet on the wall of the house commemorates its historical significance, particularly highlighting the connections of Lord Harris and Purnaiah to the house. This serves as a tribute to the prominent figures associated with the house and their contributions to the region’s history.

This bungalow not only stands as a witness to the colonial military and administrative activities in the early 19th century but also reflects the transitions in leadership and governance in the aftermath of Tipu Sultan’s defeat.