Armoury of Tipu Sultan, Bangalore

Thanks to GoUnesco’s #makeheritagefun event, a bunch of history lovers in Bangalore could participate in heritage walk around the historical monuments of 18th century. This post is 3rd in the series of posts on the walk. A quick look on what was covered before this. We assembled at 8 in the morning at Bangalore Fort. After an hour and half’s tour of the place and a quick breakfast we proceeded to Tipu’s Summer Palace. All of us were so engrossed listening to Mansoor Ali, especially about the exploits of Tipu Sultan. I had read about all these in history classes of school days, wonder why it didn’t seem or sound so interesting then.

The next destination armoury of Tipu Sultan was just 10minutes walk from the Palace. Tipu had built four armouries during his regime in late 18th century. These were lifelines during the long wars he fought against the British. The location of armoury of Tipu Sultan can be traced along the dotted path in the map below. It is in a bylane near Kalasipalyam police station, behind Bangalore Medical College Research Institute, in the heart of KR Market.
map Bangalore Fort 1Entrance to Armoury
These pics for Tex’s Good Fences.

Tipu’s Rockets in 18th Century

To live like a lion for a day is far better than to live for a hundred years like a jackal. ~ Tipu Sultan. And he lived like one till the last day of his life.

Hyder Ali, the 18th century ruler of Mysore, and his son and successor, Tipu Sultan were the first ones to develop and use Mysorean rockets in the war against the British. These ‘missiles’ were fitted with swords. On firing them, the rockets traveled several meters through the air before coming down with edges of the sword facing the enemy. Even before they hit the ground and exploded the swords managed to silence some soldiers. The use of iron tubes for holding the propellant at one end of the sword enabled higher thrust and longer range for the missile (up to 2 km range). This rocket technology was later used to advance European rocketry. Our own Indian scientists Abdul Kalaam and Dr. Gowariker too studied this rocketry during their work on Indian rockets in Indian Space Research Organization.

Armoury of Tipu Sultan

Interiors of Armoury of Tipu Sultan

This armoury was the most neglected monument till some months back. The area around it taken over by residential buildings and school and the monument itself was turning into dumping ground. Luckily the authorities woke up to the situation in time. Today we get to see a cleaner place, police patrolling the area at nights. Yet, a vital thing like a proper gate is missing. There are no doors to the armoury or a proper fence surrounding it. Anybody can sneak in. A register is maintained to mark the entry and exit of visitors, that’s about it.

The armoury seems submerged below the ground, a staircase leads us down. The entrance to the armoury has no door, the interiors is just a hollow space with dimensions 12ft by 30ft approx. and just one small window for ventilation and light. Another note worthy point about the place is no matter how much it rains water gets drained out quickly through a small hole behind the armoury. Nobody knows where the outlet leads to.

Mansoor Ali has good practical ideas of how the monument can be turned more interesting and must visit place for tourists. The interiors of armoury can be converted to a painting gallery or a place for small exhibitions. A nominal charge for tickets can easily be put to good use like maintenance of the monument.

Armoury of Tipu Sultan 1

Mansoor Ali, architect and member of Facebook group Bygone Bangalore, shares a special relationship with the armoury of Tipu Sultan. “My grandmother’s house stood diagonally opposite to it. I was not even born then. My sister Rizwana Banu, who was hardly six or seven years old, used to play with her friends inside the armoury. There was a tunnel linking it to the fort and palace. Once, Rizwana got lost inside the tunnel. My parents were lucky to find her. Finally, the tunnel was closed,” he said.

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39 Responses

  1. Cloudia says:

    Another treasure!

  2. Bob says:

    Isn’t it fantastic, to see and to be the lesson learn.

  3. Bibi says:

    Your posts always teach me so much.

  4. I have been to this place, nice pics

  5. its always interesting to know the history behind any historical place. thanks for sharing. you always come up with something amazing.

  6. I am a big Tipu fan!! so just loved it!!!

  7. ladyfi says:

    Fascinating place!

  8. It is a wonderful read on the history of Mysore and Tipu Sultan. Enjoying the series.

  9. Amazing facts and info!
    Thank you Indrani:)

  10. A hidden gem in heart of the city! It’s saddening to read that how this was ignored all these years! Hopefully this won’t be the case in future!

  11. Jeevan says:

    Very interesting place and I have read about Tipu’s rockets in abdul kalam’s wings of fire… I liked your idea of opening a gallery inside the armory and it will sure help preserving the armory and make other learn.

  12. Jyothi D'mello says:

    Fascinating History !!

  13. Maniparna Sengupta Majumder says:

    Should be an experience to witness it… 🙂

  14. Sarika says:

    Thanks for these glimpses of Indian history.

  15. A nice Post.. I have to recollect how many times, we visited this place.. Thanks for sharing the same, indrani!

  16. bettyl-NZ says:

    What a great historical place. I enjoy learning new stuff.

  17. Wonderful, Thanks for sharing.

  18. Interesting and fascinating place!

  19. Sri Kri says:

    Hidden Gem in Bangalore.Thanks for sharing.:)

    Sriram & Krithiga

  20. vatsala mallya says:

    Interesting historical place and fascinating rocket technology that was used then !

  21. This is a nice program. I am not a history buff per se, but I am very interested.

  22. Very historical place. I enjoyed reading about it.

  23. An interestiing post. Have a HAPPY EASTER.

  24. TexWisGirl says:

    interesting place to tour. ‘lion for a day’. 🙂

  25. Very interesting place!

    I used to play in the tunnels under my elementary school when I was a kid. They were amazingly long and intricate.

  26. Gr8 post !! Will definitely bookmark this post for the Things to do in Bangalore for my Visit.

  27. sapana says:

    i am always keen to know and visit places that hold history in itself and there are a lot of the places in India that doesn’t need any introduction but this one is surprising , thanx for sharing .

  28. Sounds like an interesting walk. I love when you can combine exercise, culture, and learning. I’ll have to check out your other posts on the walk.

  29. Carol Colborn says:

    Great story. Lots of personal touches to a historical Tipu Sultan.

  30. Nisha says:

    A hidden gem in the heart of the city. It is always interesting to know the history behind any historical place. I love your kind of articles.
    I’m wondering what Rizwana’s parents would have gone thru. 🙂

  31. I love finding out the history behind places, a very interesting place, a bit of a hidden gem too

  32. Thanks for sharing this about the armory of Tipu. With so many wonderful historical sights to see in India, this is a glimpse of a smaller, more local gem. 🙂

  33. Vicki Louise says:

    Thank you for educating me about the armory of Tipu. It sounds like a wonderful spot full of history and that the heritage walk was a lot of fun!

  34. The armory looks fascinating! I get the dangers, but I am a bit sad the tunnel is closed. It would be fun to follow it.

  35. How interesting and unique piece of history. Happy to hear that they have taken notice to preserve this monument and piece of history instead of letting it be a dumping ground!

  36. I love this quote… To live like a lion for a day is far better than to live for a hundred years like a jackal. great post, lots of great history.

  37. What a fascinating place to visit! It’s great that this piece of history has been preserved as many around the world get destroyed 🙁

  38. Great read for sharing history a glimpse of history about Armoury of Tipu Sultan. Its also nice to know that from a neglected monument, today, peopel are taking care of it. Is there any update about the plan of moving the monument to giveway for a railway track? Was it pushed through?

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