The Armoury Tipu Sultan Built
BENGALURU : It is amazing how history ceases to matter even when it is very much a part of the present. In Kalasipalayam, there exists such a relic from the past. It is called Tipu Sultan’s Armoury and this is where his famous rockets and cannonballs were once stored. It’s even said that there was a similar one in Taramandalpet in the Pettah area, but nothing remains of it today. Similar armouries can be found in Srirangapatna.
In Kalasipalayam, this structure lies hidden away behind the squalor in a lane running next to the local police station.
A nearby landmark is the rear end of the famous Bangalore Medical College. Originally this armoury stood in the South East corner of the Bangalore Fort. Much of the past has vanished except for four structures - Delhi gate, Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace, the Kote Venkateshwara temple and this armoury.
In 2002, The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) with the help of the Department of Kannada and Culture cleared the debris and vegetation cluttering the monument. In 2002, at a cost of `5 lakh, they also got rid of a public toilet on the southern side. This was causing damage to the structure due to water seepage. The locals tell of a time when gamblers, drunkards and pimps used to throng the monument. This was before the structure was spruced up. So far so good, but unfortunately a proposal to restore this monument to its former glory as well as have a museum dedicated to Tipu Sultan’s arsenal is on the back burner for the past decade. The reason for this callousness is that there is no one to fund the restoration and beautification, the budget for which was once projected to be around `15 lakh. Both the state and central Archaeological Survey of India bodies (ASI) don’t want ownership. While BBMP is rumoured to have a role, there are no clear documents showing who actually must own and start the renovation.I last heard that the state ASI was the actual owner of the armoury and that they had locked it up to prevent unlawful activities from happening here.
Today hardly anyone visits it as there are no clear directions to this place. The unbearable stench on the roads leading to it, also doesn’t help.
Hopefully some agency will claim its ownership and some corporate organisation or the state government will fund its restoration so that future generations can learn more about the legacy of Tipu Sultan, the man who rained destruction on the British invaders in the The Battle of Pollilur on September 10, 1780.
This in fact was one of the most humiliating defeats that the British suffered in India at the hands of a local ruler. In an ideal scenario, there can be models of Tipu Sultan’s rockets, cannons et al on display once the armoury has been restored and made into a mini museum. I am sure this will become a nice tourist attraction if restored with sensitivity.
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