There is one common feature in the tombs of Mohammedan rulers and it is that there will be a garden around the mausoleum and a path with trees on both sides lead to the tomb. You can notice this in many monuments like The Taj Mahal or Humayun’s Tomb. Islamic belief says that the way in front of the mausoleum will lead the the dead to the Heaven and the trees on either side provides a pleasant travel. The Gumbaz is no exception.
This tomb and mosque was built by Tipu Sultan as a tribute to his illustrious father, Hyder Ali (1782 – 1784 A.D), after his death. The Gumbaz is situated at the eastern end of Srirangapatna. It enshrines the cenotaphs of Hyder Ali, his wife Fakr-Un-Nisa and Tipu Sultan, after his death in 1799 A.D.
Once you go near the building, you will be welcomed by a cool breeze and once you raise your head to look at the top of the dome, you will see the true beauty of the tomb, the exquisite designs carved. It is built on a stone plinth, with polished black granite pillars that run around the corridor around the inner chamber. There are tombs of many of the family members inside this corridor.
A special mention need to be made about the entrances to the chamber. They are made of stone with very intricate carvings on them. There are several verses written in Urdu on the top panels. The doors are made of ebony and inlaid with ivory. When we go inside we see that the entire walls decorated with stylised tiger-stripe babri decoration. The doors were given by Lord Dalhousie in the 18th century.
Inside there is a small enclosure in which the Tiger of Mysore and his parents lay in peace. We can easily identify Tipu’s tomb by the tiger striped-cloth laid on it. Just beside Tipu lies his father and then his mother. A magnificent dome crowns the building. Just beside the mausoleum there is the Masjid – E – Aksa. It resembles the Gumbaz in terms of the architecture but the most notable feature of this are two long minarets.
At the eastern entrance of the Mausoleum is a tablet in Persian script that speaks of the martyrdom of Tipu Sultan in 1799 A.D.
There are numerous cenotaphs of the relatives of Tipu family inside the same compound. More than 100 family members of Tipu are buried over here including his seven sons and his sisters. Even the garden outside is a house for the numerous tombs. Not only this family, but also his chief generals are buried here. This is a place best visited in the evening for the cool breeze and the gardens are a pleasure.
We then proceeded towards the Srirangapatna Fort.