Sunday, November 5, 2006

Water Gate, Dungeon

The defaced notice at Water Gate.

Srirangapatna is a prime tourist spot. It's reasonably well maintained, though there seems to be some disconnect among people who are responsible for it. That's what one believes as one sees some areas very well maintained, while others are just left to rot. One problem could be that the monuments are scattered over a wide area. But definitely there can be one single authority in charge of taking care of them all, if there'sn't already one.

The notice on the wall of the archway ‘Water Gate’ is hardly readable. Someone has defaced it. I guess it is: ‘At the northern end of this archway fell Tipu Sultan in May 1799.”

As one enters the archway, our mind races into an imaginative mode trying to visualise how it would all have been then. The place, obviously
under the care of Archaeological Survey of India, is sadly neglected. The walls of the fort -- each stone of which will have a story to tell -- are just left to the mercy of spoilers.

The banks of what must have been once an overflowing Cauvery, have been turned into a sort of ‘dhobi ghat’, a laundry. If one looks at the stones, we can see priceless engravings on them. A little away from Water Gate is a monument, much better kept, that denotes the “place where Tipu’s body was found”. It is very sad that our tourism department focuses on just a few well-known places.

Engravings on the ruins of the fort being used as laundry
Nearby is Col Bailey’s Dungeon, which seems to have got a fresh coat of poor quality whitewash: nevertheless a better place than the Water Gate. But here too someone has defaced a write-up on the historical significance of the dungeon, which was used by Tipu Sultan to imprison the British.
Each visit to a historical place, reinforces my feeling that there is so much the tourism department can do in such a diverse country like ours. The tourist promotions that we see are just a miniscule of what can actually be done. If money is the problem, it can easily be generated by introducing a token fee of something like Rs 5 or Rs 10 for admission to these places. The fee shouldn't prohibitive that it'll discourage visitors. Over a period of time, a good sum can be collected and ploughed back into the upkeep of these places. (Photo above: The defaced notice at the entrace to Col Bailely's Dungeon.)

3 comments:

  1. Same story holds good for a majority of tourist sites. To know more about modern day vandalism visit Hampi even though it is under world heritage list. God save lesser known monuments!

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  2. sir,
    honestly,i have been reading the last few posts and they r really interesting and i must say, i learnt a lot... :-)

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  3. Kishore.....: O, is it. Well, I haven't been to Hampi yet. Have been planning for ages.

    Poornima.....: Thank you.

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