Local lore has it that Tipu Sultan shared a close relationship with Lord Sri Ranganatha Swamy and had constructed a fairly big tunnel connecting his palace to the temple. He had also constructed other small tunnels to be used during war time emergencies.
Officials of the Indian Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) claimed on Tuesday that they’ve unearthed at least five underground ancient tunnels in the town once ruled by the Mysore Wodeyar dynasty and Tipu Sultan.
Dubbed the most “sensational archaeological discoveries” in the history of Srirangapatna, the tunnels lend credence to untold stories of how they were used by members of the royal family and their military generals.
The first tunnel, which measured 3ft in diameter, was found by workers on January 29, 2013 while reviving a Gajendra Moksha holy pond near the famous Sri Ranganatha Swamy temple. ASI officials visited the spot and took up excavation work. A day later, workers discovered another four tunnels.
“We’ve found underground tunnels which are interlinked and diversify in various directions. As of now, we cannot say what these tunnels are, their usage and when they were constructed. It will need more time,” said an officer, pleading anonymity.
According to officers, the first tunnel found near Ranganatha Swamy temple may have been used to draw water from the Bangara Doddi Canal to fill the pond. However, the reasons for constructing the other tunnels, found near Tipu’s Palace, are yet to be established, they said.
“All the tunnels were found very close to Tipu’s Palace and Sri Ranganatha Swamy temple. Unearthing of these tunnels could mean many historical tales were not just fiction,” an officer said.
Reference: Times of India, B’lore Edition, 31 January, 2013
The Hindu, B’lore Edition, 2 February, 2013