Over 1,000 War Rockets of 18th Century Indian Ruler Tipu Sultan Unearthed

Archeologists from the Indian Department of Archaeology have unearthed over 1,000 war rockets of 18th Century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan in India. These rockets are about 250–270 years’ old and were discovered from the silt of an abandoned well in a village named Nagara in Shivamogga region of Karnataka. The village is located about 385 km northwest of Bengaluru city.

A top official from the state archaeology department revealed that workers were digging an abandoned well in Nagara village when they saw hundreds of ‘iron-cased’ cylindrical type rockets. In 2002, researchers, in a chance discovery, had found 160 unused rusted rockets in this area. Detailed study of these rockets revealed that they were made in Tipu Sultan’s era. Since then, the state archeological department was trying to find more such ammunition in the region.

“Excavation of the open well in the fort at Nagara near Shivamogga led to unearthing of over 1,000 corroded rockets that were stored during Tipu’s time for use in wars,” state Archaeology Department Assistant Director R. Shejeshwara Nayaka told IANS from the site.

“Digging of the dry well where its mud was smelling like gun powder led to the discovery of the rockets and shells in a pile, each filled with potassium nitrate, charcoal, and magnesium powder used to fire or lob them using an artillery,” Mr Nayaka noted.

The rockets are not of the same size and measure around 23-26 cm or 12-14 inches in length.

Department of Archaeology commissioner Venkatesh told PTI that rockets would be exhibited at “Shivappa Nayak Museum Shivamogga” as “rocket gallery.”

Some rockets dating back from Tipu Sultan’s period are also exhibited at London Museum.

Tipu Sultan became the ruler of Mysore kingdom after the death of his father Hyder Ali. He is considered a pioneer in rocket technology and is credited for introducing modern warfare techniques in India. It was Tipu Sultan who first used mass attack rockets against the mighty British army. He took the help of the French army to make these rockets.

Experts say the “iron-cased rockets” used by Tipu Sultan’s army were designed as cylindrical iron tubes. It was very easy for a soldier to launch these rockets. Once launched, these rockets would accurately hit a target located at a distance of about 2 km. Tipu first used this rocket technology against the British Army in second ‘Anglo-Mysore’ war in 1780.

Tipu Sultan was killed at Srirangapatnam during the fourth Anglo-Mysore war in 1799.