Tipu Sultan Armoury alongside the Rail track survives Shift of Time to make way for Bengaluru-Mysuru Line

SRIRANGAPATNAM: The life of Tipu Sultan has always been a matter of debate and intrigue for historians and politicians alike. But, more so, when one of the most significant shift of the armoury of the ruler, who fought against the British, is done.

Tipu Sultan’s 200 years old armoury, which is now shifted from a railway path has brought the heritage building into focus again.

The 1.7 K.M. stretch of doubling work near Kaveri Bridge at Srirangapatna, which was pending due to the location of Tippu’s Armoury right in the way of proposed alignment of Double track, will soon be takenup and completed. With the completion of doubling of this stretch, the entire Mysuru-Bengaluru line will become double line.  This is made possible as the Tippu’s Armoury, the masonary structure weighing 900 tonnes has been shifted using International expertise by about 130 metres well beyond the limit required for the 2nd Line.

A request was made to Govt. of Karnataka to arrange to shift the monument within the available Railway land.  In turn Govt. of Karnataka has agreed the proposal of shifting of monument through cabinet approval and conveyed their decision that the “shifting of the monument has to be carried out by Railways with their own cost”.

Though the Govt. of Karnataka has accorded approval for shifting, the new location was required to be cleared by National Monument Authority of India as the area is a restricted area (100 to 300 metres from the monument).  Railways sought the permission in writing for the same and the permission granted by the Competent authority on 14-03-2013 with a validity of 03 years from the date of issue, subsequently extension was granted for one more year.

This being unique work, executed for the first time in India, no agency was readily available and the methodology for the shifting was also not known.  Construction organization of South Western Railway has engaged Institution of Engineers (India) for providing consultancy services. Institution of Engineers (India) has submitted their report.  In addition, Railways, also has taken the available literature from internet and interacted with the agencies in USA who are executing similar shifting/translocation works through email, Phone and one of the interested working agency of construction organisation has arranged a private visit of the “Expert House Movers”,USA to the monument, interaction could be done with them.  With all these inputs, methodology for shifting could be formulated.  Approval of Department of Archaeology, Govt. of Karnatka was obtained for the methodology of shifting.  Tender schedule also formulated based on the above inputs.

Tender for the work invited first time received no response.  Two agencies who made JV arrangements with the agencies abroad (with experience of translocation of buildings) participated in the tender floated second time.  The work was awarded to M/s. PSL Engineering (India based) – Wolfe (USA based) (Joint Venture).

The shifting was very sensitive and critical work as the same is close to existing Archeological Survey of India (ASI) heritage monuments, running Railway line, Cauvery River, old/new Railway bridges over the river.  Extensive precautions have been taken by protecting the work site with due barricading.  Preparatory work for shifting has been started almost two months back.


PROTECTION TO EXISTING RAILWAY TRACK:  The monument is located at 10.1m from the center line of existing Broad Gauge track, to facilitate excavation of 4m from the formation level at the edge of formation 40 numbers 1m dia bored cast in situ piles are driven at 1.2 m c/c parallel to the existing track.

Zones of load:  The building is divided in to 03 zones as per the actual load distribution, and the requirement of jacks to be inserted underneath the structure were arrived based on this analysis.

Carry line of the building:  As per the approved plan 2’-0” above the floor level is called as the carry line.  Armoury building will be carried only above this carry line, the portion underneath this carry line must be reconstructed at the new location.  Armoury building is having an irregular boulder filled foundation grouted with sand.  For insertion of beams the holes must be cut in the wall, the same can’t be done in the boulders hence the same is done in the main brick masonry walls underneath the carry line.

Insertion of Load frames:  For lifting and moving the building above carry line, Load frames consisting of 05 numbers of Main beams, 11 numbers of Cross beams and 31 numbers of needle beams as per the approved drawing.

As per the load distribution of zones of loads there are 37 jacks to be inserted underneath the load frames.  All these jacks are connected to the Unified jacking system for simultaneous and synchronized operation to prevent any unequal lifting and damages to the structure.

Lifting of the structure: After insertion of all the beams, the structure to be lifted using Unified Jacking system by 2’-0” and supported on wooden cribs for insertion of roll beams, rollers and Push rams.

Movement of structure:  The location approved for shifting of the monument by ASI, is diagonally located from the current location.  Due to the geometry of the building the building can’t be moved diagonally, the structure must be moved in two mutually perpendicular location to its final location to keep the orientation same.  The move involves movement of100m length along the first direction and 30m long in the second direction.

Lowering of Structure: The building will be lowered and integrated on the pre-laid foundation at the new location.

First such work in India completed successfully . 

1 Dimensions of Armoury 10 m x 13 m
2 Weight of the Armoury 900Tonnes
3 Age of Monument Over 200 Years
4 Structure Lifted by 2 Ft.
5 Distance moved 100 m + 30 m = 130 m
6 Distance moved day wise  1st Day : 40 m

2nd Day : 42 m

3rd Day  :18 m

4th Day  :30 m

7 Shifting  started on 06.03.2017
8 Shifting completed on 10.03.2017
9 Cost of shifting Rs.13.6 Crores
10 Work executed by South Western Railway through

M/S PSL – Wolfe JV in  co-ordination with  Archeological Dept. (Government of Karnataka)

11 Man power involved 20 Railway officials along with

26 Technicians

(6 – M/s. Wolfe & 20 – M/s. PSL)

12 Method of lifting Unified jacking system
13 Method of shifting Hydraulic body push Rams
14 In charge (Railways) Shri K Ravichandran,

Dy.Chief Engineer/Mysuru

15 In charge (Firm) Shri  Jamin Buckingham
16 Scope of shifting Work

(I)        Preparatory Work

(2 months)

§ Detailed feasibility & investigative studies

§ Protection to existing Railway track.

§ Making foundation ready at new location

§ Excavation work around the structure

(II)        Actual Work

(4 days)

§ Insertion of load frames

§ Lifting of structure

§ Movement of structure

§ Lowering of structure

(III) After Shifting

(1.5 months)

§  Separating  structure from beams

§  Building Compound wall around the structure

§  First such translocation of a structure in India – very important given the historical value of monument involved.

Extremely sensitive as the site is adjacent to existing Railway line, A SI protected monuments, Cauvery River, Railway bridges over the river etc. The shifting of the armoury has not been an easy task. Built with lime, stone and mortar which has been lined and compacted with a mixture of eggs, jaggery and soapnuts had made the armoury the toughest in the history of such buildings, making it impenetrable.

The armoury was almost half under the ground to keep the gunpowder cool as it may explode due to the rising temperatures.

Even when the proposal to move the armoury was made, the engineers and historians working were astounded by the engineering genius. Months were spent digging up the mud around the armoury to get to the base of the structure. Such an excavation has never been attempted in India, and this effort has also indicated how several of the historical structures can be saved from decay.

  • The armoury is 13.33 metres by 10.12 metres
  • Weighs 90 tonnes
  • Walls are four feet thick
  • Foundation was found to be filled with boulders

The biggest challenge has been to shift the armoury 450 metres away from its present location to a new place identified by the Archaeological Survey of India Tipu’s eight armouries are spread across Srirangapatna, which was his capital and there was enough ammunition to keep his army always on toes. Historian said that a hole was built to drain the water during rains. But, one of the generals in Tipu’s army blocked the hole and just when he needed huge amount of explosives to fight the enemy, his armoury was soaked with water.

After digging through tonnes of mud around the armoury, beams were inserted to lift the massive structure from underneath.

Five main rams and 11 cross beams have been used to make the makeshift frame. The entire structure was lifted by two feet with the help of thirty seven lifting jacks.

The jacks were removed and replaced by rollers and the structure would be shifted 340 feet ahead and later another 100 feet to the right.

The entire shifting was done with the help of a joint venture team called Wolfe House Movers and PSL engineering team to excavate the area. Indian Institute of Science and a Mumbai-based consultant STUP drafted the plan which was approved by the Archaeological Survey of India and later by the Indian Railways.

But, till today these armouries have stood the test of time as well the wars that were fought merely due to the engineering strength by which it was built.


  • Last stretch of 1.7 Km pending for translocation of Tippu’s  Armoury
  • Track linking to be completed by : 31.03.2017

Inspection of Commissioner of Railway Safety and sanction will follow

  • The entire doubling of 139 Km section will be completed.
  • Doubling was done in phases
  • Will help in dealing more trains and reduce running time of trains
  • Will be immensely helpful in connecting Bengaluru and Mysuru – two most important cities of Karnataka

Ramanagaram-Mysore doubling (93km) with electrification of Kengeri – Mysore (125 km) -Target in 2015-16 is 28 km

Cost sharing pattern: Doubling Government of Karnataka: Railway – 2/3 : 1/3,

Electrification Government of Karnataka:Railway – 1:1

Year of sanction – 2007-08

Anticipated cost – Rs.874.57 Cr.