Mysore to Srirangapatna: a beautiful day trip
This post is a travel guide about a day trip from Mysore to Srirangapatna in Karnataka, India. Srirangapatna only lies 15 kilometers from Mysore. Being in the shadow of the bigger city, it is often overlooked by visitors.
There were times though, that it was the other way around. Srirangapatna was once the capital of the kingdom of Mysore. And even before that, the ancient Vishnu temple attractted thousands of pilgrims.
Because of its religious, cultural and historical importance, Srirangapatna is to become a UNESCO World Heritage site. So far, it is still an off the beaten path destination. There are few tourists around, but that might change in the future.
Getting from Mysore to Srirangapatna is very easy and it is one of the most interesting day trips from Mysore. Scroll down for information about how to get from Mysore to Srirangapatna.
Why visit Srirangapatna
Srirangapatna is a small town on a river island in the Kaveri river. Although Srirangapatna has lost much of its former glory, there are still a number of interesting things to see and do on the island.
Before Srirangatna became the capital of the kingdom of Mysore, it was already an important pilgrimage center. The ancient Ranganathaswamy temple was first built in the 10th century. During the Vijayanagar empire, the Hoysalas, also famous for the Hampi monuments, took care of the temple.
Srirangapatna developed into an important town in the region. It is therefore no surprise that once the Mysore kings took over they made it into their capital. Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan loved the scenic location and the tranquility of the river island. As a result, Tipu built bith his main palace and his summer palace in Srirangapatna.
Tipu Sultan also renovated the fort to protect his precious island. Unfortunately, in 1799 the British attacked Srirangapatna and killed Tipu Sultan in his fort.
At first, the British also loved the beautiful island and the ancient monuments left behind. What they did not foresee was that being surrounded by water and marshes meant they also had to share the island with mosquitoes. Outbreaks of malaria and dengue made the British move to Mysore or Bangalore.
Nowadays it is a peaceful small town surrounded by lush and green rice paddies. The Kaveri river is a heaven for birds too. A day trip from Mysore to Srirangapatna is therefore full of history, culture and nature.
Things to do in Srirangapatna
Sri Ranganathaswamy temple
The oldest building in Srirangapatna is the Ranganathaswamy temple. Ranganatha was a form of Vishnu. The Kaveri river was a sacred river for Hindus and there are four other temples along the river. All dedicated to Ranganatha and all important pilgrimage sites in South India.
The Ranganathaswamy temple in Srirangapatna is the first temple. Its construction started in the tenth century. It was then further developed by the Hoysala kings when it was part of the Vijayanagara empire. The Hoysala kings also built Hampi and therefore you might see some similarities in the architecture.
Daria Daulat Bagh
The Daria Daulat bagh is one of Srirangapatna’s most beautiful tourist attractions. Tipu’s Sultan summer palace is worth a visit. Both for its beautiful gardens as well as its stunning interior.
Tipu Sultan’s summer palace is mostly from teakwood. What I loved about the palace were its simple decorations of intricate mural paintings and floral patterns.
The Gumbaz mausoleum was built by Tipu Sultan for his parents. Both his father Hyder Ali and his mother were buried in the Persian style tomb. Tipu Sultan also built gardens surrounding the tomb and imported different plants and trees as far as France and Turkey.
When Tipu was killed, the British allowed him to be buried at the Gumbaz mausoleum as well. Most of the other graves within the mausoleum belong to his family members.
Srirangapatna fort was first built during the Vijayanagara empire. Throughout the years and subsequent rulers, the fort expanded. Tipu Sultan also put a lot of effort in making the fort stronger. Despite all his work and the thick fortress walls, the British managed to capture it.
The British killed Tipu Sultan and destroyed Tipu’s main palace that was within the fort. walls Although not very well maintained, some of the fort walls and dungeons are still there.
The Srirangapatna fort had two dungeons. Close to the Ranganathaswamy temple you can still visit Bailey’s dungeon. These dungeons were used for foreign prisoners, mostly British prisoners of war from the time that Tipu Sultan was fighting the Angly Mysore wars.
Lal Mahal palace
The ruins of Lal Mahal, the palace of Tipu Sultan are free to visit. Not much remains, but it is a good place to get a sense of the importance of Srirangapatna fort. There are some nice views on the Kaveri river too.
The Welleslrey bridge is a historical bridge over the Kavery river that connected the Srirangapatna fort with the mainland.
Not far from here is the place where The British killed Tipu Sultan. There is a stone tablet marking the place.
Ksanambhika Devi temple
Within the fort walls lies a colourful town with a number of important Hindu temples. One nice and colourful temple that is worth a visit is the Kshanambika devi temple
Besides temples there is also a big mosque from the time of Tipu Sultan. The mosque is still in use by the small muslim community in Srirangapatna.
Ranganathittu bird sanctuary
The Ranganathittu bird sanctuary is closeby Srirangapatna. It is one of the largest bird sanctuaries in Karnataka with more than 170 bird species. If you come early in the morning you will see and hear hundreds of storks, pelicans, egrets and herons.
Ranganathittu bird sanctuary organizes boat trips on the Kaveri river to take a closer look. The shared trips are rather short, but you will spot plenty of birds and crocodiles. If you are lucky you can maybe even see otters or bats.
Travel tips from Mysore to Srirangapatna
It is easy to visit both Ranganathittu bird sanctuary and Srirangapatna in one day. I recommend that you start early and visit Ranganathittu bird sanctuary first. You will see most birds just after sunrise.
Where to eat
Srirangapatna has lots of basic restaurants that serve South Indian food. I had a dosa at a place called Murali canteen near the mosque and main road
Where to sleep
Although there are some places to sleep in Srirangapatna you will have better options in Mysore. In Mysore I can recommend Mansion 1907. Most of all because of its great location in walking distance from the bus station, Mysore palace and Devaraja market.
This hostel has friendly owners, a great breakfast menu and female only dorms. During the tourist season they have free yoga classes in the morning and you can rent bicycles to explore Mysore and its surroundings.
When to visit
The best time to visit Srirangapatna is from September till March when the climate is pleasant. In April and May it starts to get very hot in Karnataka and in June it is the start of the monsoon season when rain becomes more frequent.
How to get around
Most historic sights within the Srirangapatna fort are within walking distance of each other. The Gumbaz mausoleum is a bit further away and you can take a tuk tuk.
How to get from Mysore to Srirangapatna
Mysore to Srirangapatna by bus
From the Mysore bus stand there are frequent KSRTC buses from Mysore to Srirangapatna. The journey takes about 30 minutes.
I first visited the Ranganathittu bord sanctuary. Ranganathittu is an easy daytrip from Mysore and because it is close to Srirangapatna you can combine both. Bus 307 departs from Laxmi talkies near the Mysore palace city bus stand to the entrance of the park. It is a short walk through scenic rice paddies to the actual sanctuary.
After the bird sanctuary I walked back to the main road and catched the next bus to Srirangapatna. The bus stopped near the Bangalore gate. Not far from Tipu’s summer palace and the fort entrance near the mosque.
Mysore to Srirangapatna by train
Srirangapatna has a train station that is conveniently located near the Ranganathaswamy temple. There are several daily trains from Mysore to Srirangapatna. The journey takes about 20 minutes. Because the times weren’t very convenient I chose the bus.
For the train from Mysore to Srirangapatna can check time tables and book your tickets online directly through the Indian railways (IRCTC). Unfortunately this is not always a straightforward process. For a small extra fee you can use 12goAsia or Makemytrip.
For another day trip from Mysore I can recommend Somnathpur temple.
Sustainable travel to Srirangapatna
Srirangapatna is a small town in Karnataka. Karnataka is a beautiful state, but to preserve its culture, it is important to be aware of the possible negative impacts mass tourism can have.
Support the local community: You can support the community by purchasing goods and services from local vendors, artisans, markets and restaurants. It is better to try South Indian cuisine that uses local ingredients rather than imported foreign foods. South Indian food is very vegetarian friendly and it is easy to follow a vegan diet.
Stay in small scale sustainable hotels: It is also better to stay in locally-owned guesthouses or homestays to support the local economy directly. These accommodations often have a more positive impact on the environment compared to large hotels.
Nearby Mysore has excellent homestays. Where possible, I can recommend staying in a homestay for an authentic cultural experience. You might want to bring a small book with pictures of your family to break the ice.
You can also try to look for guesthouses or homestays that prioritizes sustainable practices. That said, environmental awareness is still low. It’s up to you to use water sparsely, turn off lights, air conditioning, and heating when leaving your accommodation.
Use public transport: Mysore has a well-developed public transportation system with trains and buses and it is easy to reach Srirangapatna by bus. Opt for public transport, whenever possible, instead of private cars to reduce carbon emissions.
Respect the culture: Besides environmental concerns it is also important to respect the culture. Karnataka is a state with a Hindu majority that is just opening up to tourism. Therefore, learn about the local customs and traditions beforehand and be mindful of your behavior.
People will appreciate it, if you dress modestly, especially at religious sites. Learning a few basic phrases in Kannada, can go a long way in building meaningful connections and to learn more about the local culture. Not everybody is happy to have their picture taken. When in doubt, ask permission.
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