Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bijapur Calling - Gol Gumbaz, Bara Kaman and more

Gol Gumbaz - Bijapur
  I reached Bijapur around one in the midnight; to my surprise railway station was very much crowdy. I walked towards an empty chair in the platform and comfortably positioned myself there. One train came and went taking majority of the people along with. I tried to close my eyes and sleep in the same chair.

After a couple of hours I woke up only to see the white light coming from the CFL lamps which keeps the station away from the clutches of darkness. Waited there for some more time, slowly the message of sun shining thousands of kilometres away reached the station. A group of dogs running like horses and a cow also entered the station. I walked towards the exit... outside stands the beautiful Gol Gumbaz and broken walls of the Bijapur fort!!!

I turned left and followed the road, after one turn I reached MG road. A couple of hundred metres away I saw the sign board for Gol Gumbaz. Time was around 6.30 and the area was open for visitors. After buying the tickets I walked towards the famous Gol Gumbaz.

Between me and Gol Gumbaz stands the beautiful structure of Bijapur Museum (open at 10am only) with a number of old cannons in front of it. Before we enter Gol Gumbaz, let me tell you the history of the city.

History of Bijapur

The city was established by Chalukya's of Kalyani (then known as Vijayapura); later it came under the rule of Khilji sultanate of Delhi; in 1347 the city was conquered by Bahmani Sultanate of Gulburga. After the dismemberment of Bahmani sultanate in 1518 the city fell into the hands of Adil Shahi dynasty. Their rule lasted till 1686 when the emperor Aurangzeb annexed Bijapur to Mughal Empire.

Bara kaman

In 1724, Bijapur fell into the hands of Nizams of Hyderabad; after defeating the Nizam Marathas annexed the city in 1760. The story doesn’t stop here; British East India Company got Bijapur after defeating the Marathas in Third Anglo-Martha war (1818 AD). From here onwards the city was administrated by princely state of Satara. After the death of Satara king - without any male heirs - British East India Company annexed the entire Satara (including Bijapur) to Bombay presidency. Following independence Bijapur became a part of Bombay presidency and later added to Mysore state.

Gol Gumbaz (Round Dome)

This is the Mausoleum of Muhammad Adil Shah II - the 7th sultan of Adil Shahi dynasty. This mausoleum, built in 1659 AD, has an internal diameter of 37.92m covering a floor area of 1703.5 sq.m, making it one of the largest domed buildings in the world.

The massive brick dome is supported by a set of eight intersecting arches which bear the load of the dome. There is a whispering gallery around the dome, here even the faintest sound echoes 10-12 times and reverberates around 26 seconds. I made various sounds – tried heavy breathing as well - and all reverberated!!! On the centre of the dome, there are tombs of Muhammad Adil Shah, his son, daughter and his mistress Rambha - the dancing girl.

From the top of the dome you can see the city area. After coming down from the Gumbaz I went to the next building and then back to MG road.

After having breakfast from nearby Udupi hotel, I walked through MG road. Ambedker stadium was on the right hand side then came Ambedkar Circle. From here a road (DC Office road) on the left side will take you to Gagan Mahal (located opposite to the local Doordarshan Kendra). I reached there only to see its closed gates!!! This place is open to public in the evening. Next Destination was Bara Kaman.

Bara Kaman

After coming back to Ambedker circle I continued through MG road. Close to Basaveshwara circle (near to a petrol bunk), there is a small road in the right side to Bara Kaman - the unfinished mausoleum of Ali Adil Shah. Here you can see a number of big arches without roof. After taking a round around the elevated platform, I climbed the steps and reached on top of its rectangular platform. Tomb is on the centre surrounded by a number of arches which basically support nothing.

Taj Bawadi

Taj Bawadi was constructed by Ibrahim Adil Shah I in 1620 in honour of his wife Taj Sultana. There is a big arch entrance in front of this water body. Unfortunately people are still dumping waste to this otherwise beautiful well.

Jod Gumbaz

View from the top of Gol Gumbaz
This group of monuments (located close to Taj Bawadi) - aka Dargah of Abdul Razzaq Qadiri - was built by Mughal emperor Aurangazeb in 1687 in the memory of Khan Muhammad and Abdul Razzaq Qadiri for their help in defeating Adil Shahi ruler Sikandar. I went inside and walked around the monuments; at one place there was board. As I was just reading the board a friendly voice from left told me “You can go inside”.

Bijapur KSRTC bus stand is close to this area. Well, at that point of time there was no direct bus to Badami. But one conductor assured me that, he could drop me a point from where I can catch a direct bus to Badami. We went through Gulburga-Bijapur-Hubli highway (NH 218) and crossed Krishna River on the way. Krishna is very much wide in this area.

Some other important buildings in Bijapur are Juma Masjid, Ibrahim Rawza, Upli Buruj, Asar Mahal etc.



1. Bijapur - Wikipedia
2. Archaeological Survey of India

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