Colossal bull at French Rocks. [Near Shrirangapattana.]
Photographer: Pigou, William Henry
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a Nandi bull at French Rocks near Srirangapattana (Seringapatam) in Karnataka, from Taylor and Fergusson's 'Architecture in Dharwar and Mysore', taken by William Henry Pigou in 1856. Srirangapattana, formerly the capital of Haidar Ali and his son and successor Tipu Sultan, rulers of Mysore and adversaries of the British, is situated on an island in the Kavery River. Haidar Ali greatly strengthened the existing fortifications of the island, with the advice and assistance of French military officers. To the north and east were a triple defence of bastions, ditches and cavaliers, while to the east and west, was a line of redoubts (since destroyed). The ramparts had strategically sited batteries, and powder magazines and an arsenal were constructed. These defences lasted for about 40 years, and the names 'Lally's Bastion' and 'French Rocks' survive as a reminder of Mysore's European allies. The fortress, the formidable stronghold of Tipu Sultan, was finally taken in 1799. After its capture and Tipu's death in the fighting, Srirangapattana came under British rule. Besides being the capital of both the Hindu and Muslim rulers of Mysore, the island had long been a Hindu pilgrimage site, primarily because of the 10th century Sriranganathaswamy temple, dedicated to Vishnu, from which it derives its name. This view shows a huge monolithic sculpture of Nandi, the sacred bull which is the mount of Shiva, and symbolises virility and strength, the brute power in man.