It was around 3:30 pm in the noon. A lazy stroll on the opposite road of the new Tannirbhavi beach would direct us to Sultan battery Mangalore. The narrow road holds few cafes and stalls along the sides. Sipping juice and munching on lays, we started to walk towards Sultan Battery. Pradeep said me that Sultan Bathery is a place in Kerala, and this must be some other place we are confused. So, I rechecked google maps and reconfirmed that this place is called as "Sultan Battery" and not be confused with Sultan Bathery of Kerala. Maps also showed me "Sultan Battery Ferry line" across the river and made me more curious :O
[caption id="attachment_6177" align="alignnone" width="2258"] "Sultan Battery Ferry line" - I was curious to found out[/caption]
The first view of the backwaters
[caption id="attachment_6187" align="alignnone" width="1182"] The first sight of backwaters[/caption]
Within 10 mins, we reached the end of the road to witness the calmly spread backwaters of Mangalore. The tranquillity of waters was a great sight to watch. I had been to Alleppey, but what bothered me in Alleppey was the cleanliness of the backwaters. This was much better compared to Alleppey in my opinion :|
[caption id="attachment_6178" align="alignnone" width="1182"] Queue to board the ferry[/caption]
We looked around and there was a small sheet bridge to enter the backwaters and a ticket counter to cross the river via ferry and reach the other end. The charges for the boat ride is as cheap as Rs.5 per person. We obtained the tickets counting 5 people and stood in the queue with 20 people. Meanwhile, It was a special day in the friend circle. It was the birthday of Pradeep (who was with us) and Abhi (who was in Germany). Instead of waiting in the queue, we called Abhi and wished him. It was great to make a group call and wish a friend on his birthday :)
A short ferry ride
Soon, the boat arrived with a loud jinkjak music playing on it. The boat operator looked like a local DJ, with a colourful scarf on his head, shining goggles and a lungi in that sunny afternoon :D As the boat landed, the people rushed in to find the seats. I assume the boat had a capacity of 30 people at a time. Loud music playing in the background and the boat started.
[caption id="attachment_6179" align="alignnone" width="1182"] The tranquillity of backwaters[/caption]
The backwaters stretch looked excellent. The sky was clearer and the water seemed peaceful. Palm trees swaying at a distance and few apartments peeping into this view. It was another aspect of Mangalore to behold :)
[caption id="attachment_6181" align="alignnone" width="1182"] Beautiful stretch of backwaters[/caption]
Just in 2 mins, we reached the other end. We got down and started walking towards Sultan Battery. This stretch had many boats harboured at rest. We saw sailors repairing and cleaning the boats. In fact, later I learned to know that there is small boat manufacturing industry nearby.
The glimpse of Sultan Battery Mangalore
[caption id="attachment_6192" align="alignnone" width="1082"] The first sight of Sultan Battery[/caption]
In few minutes, I noticed a fort like structure and I realised that was the Sultan Battery. It looked like a miniature fortress with a bastion having cannon mounting points. I went near and stood at the entrance of this little structure. My eyes rolled over to the blue information board put up by Archaeological Survey of India. I just read it to know that this watch tower was built to prevent the entry of warships into Gurupur river. So, this is not a fort, it's a watchtower !! :)
A peep into the history
[caption id="attachment_6185" align="alignnone" width="1182"] The blue board is a saviour to know about the place[/caption]
Looking back into the pages of history, The Sultan Battery is a watchtower constructed by Tipu Sultan in Boloor Mangalore. Tipu Sultan was a brave ruler and well known for creative and thoughtful military expeditions. During his era, Mangalore was the chief port and was vulnerable to invasions via the Arabian Sea. So he cleverly, created this watch tower in 1784 to obstruct warships from entering the Gurupur river which was the major route for English invasion.
[caption id="attachment_6190" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Sultan battery side view[/caption]
The Sultan Battery was constructed from the stones of 23 churches destroyed by Tipu Sultan during the 15 years imprisonment and captivity of Mangalore Catholics and other Christians. It was the major dockyard and arsenal of the ruler. It was a naval station and was of great importance to the sultan as he used it to intercept enemy warships and prevent them from docking. Due to its structure, the watchtower looks like a fort with mounting places for cannons. The underground storage area under the watchtower was used to store gunpowder.
The moments at Sultan Battery
[caption id="attachment_6183" align="alignnone" width="665"] Staircase to the top of the watchtower[/caption]
We pulled the rusted gates and ascended the staircase of 30 steps that led us the top of the watchtower. The top of the tower had stones laid in an orderly fashion and grass around each grass naturally added beauty to the floor. Few mounting places to mount the cannons. Few cement benches here to sit and relax.
[caption id="attachment_6191" align="alignnone" width="1024"] View of the backwaters from the watchtower[/caption]
As we watched from this tower, we could view the entire stretch of Gurupur river. This would be a good place to hang out at evenings and watch the fantastic sunsets. It sets your whole mood up and the silhouette of the boats in the evening sun looks amazing so get your camera ready because you never know where you will get your “Picture of the day” :)
[caption id="attachment_6186" align="alignnone" width="1182"] Good place for photoshoot[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_6188" align="alignnone" width="1182"] I loved the rock fashion and green grass - Beautiful![/caption]
[caption id="attachment_6189" align="alignnone" width="1182"] Silhouette at its best[/caption]
I presume that a small gate at the entrance might be the entrance to the underground. Also, there is a rumour that there was a secret canal from here to Srirangapatna to transport the gunpowder required for the army. Better luck if you have time to find this secret canal :P
[caption id="attachment_6184" align="alignnone" width="665"] I assume its an entrance to the underground storage of gunpowder[/caption]
The plight of this monument
The saddest part which hurt me here is that there is not even a tweak of interest/importance about this place by locals. It's just treated as a ruined old building. With the busy crowd here, many of the tourists would fail to give a look at it. Moreover, the scribbling on the watchtower like Bashith loves Rahiya telling the whole world shows the unawareness of the historical importance of this place. It once stood as the dockyard of the Tipu Sultan and many soldiers would have fought here to defend the enemies. Understanding a little history and paying respect for the place is much needed. The surroundings are also littered and proper maintenance is really needed for the coming generations to know the history of an important place. The place can be much better if the concerned authorities would manage this watchtower :(
The way back to Tannirbhavi beach
The best thing I loved here was the ferry ride :) and many people reach the new Tannirbhavi beach from here via ferry. The last ferry is at 7 pm, make sure you don't miss it. The beach is not usually crowded, other than the weekend. Read the post - Tannirbhavi beach to know more on one of the gems of Mangalore.
It was nearing 5 pm when we departed Sultan Battery. Though the place is a great choice for many, a small evening visit and the ferry ride is a good option. We started driving to Kapu beach and I constantly warned Pradeep to drive little fast as I wanted to witness the fantastic sunset at Kapu beach. Stay tuned for my next post.
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Read other travelogues near Udupi and Mangalore:
1. Tannirbhavi beach – Pine trees, beach huts and a glimpse of fishing
2. Kateel temple – A True feel of divinity
3. Maravanthe beach – Bond of sea and river
4. Agumbe – Drive through Deadly Western Ghats
5. Kere Basadi – Bliss of Varanga Jain temples [ Udupi trip Part-2 ]
6. Udupi Sri Krishna Matha [Udupi trip Part-1]
Visiting tips :
- Where? – Sultan Battery is located 350km from Bangalore and 10 km from Mangalore.
- How to reach? –You have frequent Bus service and ferry service to the place from City and the beach section respectively. Boat ride to the beach side is enjoyable and cheap as Rs. 5 person
- When to visit? – The evening is the best time for beautiful sunsets and fantastic silhouettes.
- Facilities? – No facilities at all. Park at your own risk. Some stalls are found at the entrance. Please don't litter or scribbles on the tower walls.
- Nearby places? – Tannirbhavi beach via ferry ride. We missed out to visit Tannirbhavi Tree park which is set up in an area of 15 hectares. Please do check out, it’s worth it.