An armoury of Tipu Sultan, the 18th century warrior-king who forged his reputation fighting British colonialists, is being moved to build new railway tracks between the Karnataka capital and Mysuru.
About 225 years old, the armoury is part of 10 built by Tipu to store gunpowder and weapons. The monument is a 1000-tonne structure, and it is being moved by a New Delhi-based engineering firm and the US company, Wolfe.
The semi-buried structure was raised on beams, moved and is being lowered at the new site about 130 meters away.
“It will take us till Friday to complete the shifting,” said Jaman Buckingham of Wolfe. Work to move the armoury began a month ago.
Discussions on the project began about five years ago when rail traffic between Bengaluru and Mysuru began to grow. The new tracks are expected to help reduce the travel time on the route. Some 4,000 passengers travel on this route daily.
“The proposed (rail track) doubling work exactly passes over the armoury,” said Ravichandra, Deputy Chief Engineer of the railway’s Mysuru division.
“We could not alter the line as there were other monuments that belonged to the Archaeological Survey of India.”
Some local people are upset with the move.
“How can we even think of moving a historical monument? Monuments are intimately attached with the place where they were built,” said Mahadev Nayak, who runs a tea shop on the busy Bengaluru-Mysuru highway in Srirangapatna where the Tipu Sultan fort is located.
“When it is a question of public property, our governments can do as they please,” said Nayak, who said he was a descendant of the Nayaks who once ruled parts of eastern Karnataka.