Explore 500 Years Of Deccan History At Bijapur In North Karnataka
The perfect example of a melting pot of faith, culture and heritage, Bijapur (now called Vijayapura) in North Karnataka is known for its impressive historical monuments built during the Adil Shahi dynasty (1489-1686). Think magnificent mausoleums, minarets, mosques and watchtowers that take you back to the days of yore. Unfortunately, since the reins of the city kept changing hands, there are only a handful of monuments left in the city that you must visit for a slice of history and beautiful architecture. Here are some of them:
The most magnificent mausoleum in the city is that of the seventh ruler of the dynasty, Mohammed Adil Shah. With an area of 18,222 sq. ft, the Gol Gumbaz has the distinction of being the second largest space covered by a dome in the world (the first being the St. Peter's Basilica in Rome). It also has the 'Whispering Gallery' inside the mausoleum, where the softest sounds can be heard. Don't go here with someone who knows the spoilers to your favourite TV show.
Believed to be the tomb that was the inspiration behind the iconic Taj Mahal, Ibrahim Roza is the mausoleum of Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah II and his queen. The structure is built out of a single slab of rock, and the ornate carvings on its minarets and gateways set it a class apart.
One of the largest surviving medieval cannons in the world, the Mallik-E-Maidan (aka Monarch Of The Plains) weighs a whopping 55 tons and is approximately 4 metres in length. Legend has it that it took 10 men, 10 elephants and 400 oxen to bring it all the way to Bijapur from Ahmednagar. What's more, the gunners would have to take a dip in the water tank to protect their ears from the sound of the explosion!
Located about 2 kms from Bijapur, Bara Kaman is the unfinished mausoleum of Ali Adil Shah II and his queens. Although nobody knows why it was left unfinished, it is speculated that the construction was stopped because the shadow of the Bara Kaman would touch that of the Gol Gumbaz. Either way, there is something haunting beautiful about the place and its seven arches.
Built by Adil Shah to celebrate his victory in the Talikota battle, the Jumma Masjid is the largest mosque in the region, spanning over 10,000 sq. ft. Surrounded by 33 domes, the middle of the mosque has a fountain, a hall and another dome. Interestingly, the gateway of the mosque was designed by the last Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb himself.
The fort may be crumbling in ruins today, but at one point, it was the motif of the town and was built by Yusuf Adil Shah, the founder of the Adil Shah dynasty himself. Walk through the fort and you'll find yourself looking at towers and cannons from every angle. There are five massive gateways and it is said that it used to be guarded by 2000 men, plus 1000 cannons made of brass and iron!
Built by Mohammed Adil Shah to serve as a hall of justice, this graceful structure apparently once housed two hairs from Prophet Muhammed's beard. The rooms on the upper storey are decorated with frescoes, and you'll find a square tank adorning the front. Unfortunately, it's out of bounds for women.