Bijapur which it is commonly known as and Vijayapura which is its official name is a city brimming with history dating back to the Chalukya Empire ( 10th – 11 th Century ) and then conquered by the Bahamani Sultanate mainly the Adil Shahi dynasty
Bijapur in North Karnataka was a part of our Road trip and a part of the Bijapur -Aihole-Pattadakal -Badami – Hampi circuit. It was our first destination and our stay was at the KSTDC Hotel Mayura Adilshahi .
There is a different thrill in a road trip. Halting at villages,having a cuppa of tea at the village tea stall,eating local delicacies at the dhaba and driving and halting as per your convenience . It is unmatched. And with Google Maps it’s much more easier to locate a place. We drove via the Pune-Pandharpur route . The roads are pretty good but a small patch on the border of Maharastra & Karnataka is a bit rough.
Walking through the streets of Bijapur is like a historical walk. Old historical ruins exist amidst modern establishments , residential areas and crowded market places.
Gol Gumbaz the famous monument associated with Bijapur is not just the only monument in this city.There are also other monuments which are a must see. They can be easily explored by autorickshaws which ply in the city.
How to reach Bijapur : By air : Belgaum airport( 200 kms )
By train : Bijapur Railway station
By road : From Mumbai ( via Pune -Pandharpur Route ) -470 kms -9 hours
Gol Gumbaz : The iconic monument associated with Bijapur. Gol Gumbaz ( meaning the Circular Dome ) built in the 17 th century is considered to be the World’s largest dome next to St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. It has the mausoleum of Mohd Adil Shah, the 7th ruler of the Adil Shahi dynasty. and is very impressive with four lofty seven storeyed minarets on each side As you enter the hall on a raised platform in the center are the replica tombs of the ruler and his family. The actual tombs lie below in a crypt.
You have to climb the seven storey minarets ( the entrance of the minarets is inside the main hall ) to reach gallery around the Dome and the Whispering Gallery which is a circular gallery on the top but beneath the dome which is built in such a unique way that a slightest whisper gets amplified and can be heard on the other side of the gallery and if somebody claps the echo can be heard several times .
The Dome is also very artistically constructed with petal shaped skirting.
The Gol Gumbaz opens early for tourist viewing at 6 am and it is highly recommended to visit it as early as possible since later in the day it is quite crowded with tourists and school students hence the acoustics of the Whispering Gallery can’t be experienced. We reached the Gumbaz at 6.30 am. There were hardly any tourists around so we could click good pics of the monument. There is a Archaeological musuem in the Gol Gumbaz complex but it opens at 9 am .
Ibrahim Rouza : is a exquisite group of two monuments namely a mausoleum of Ibrahim Adil Shah & a mosque . The monuments are built on a high raised terrace and adorned by slender minarets on each corner .
The walls of the mausoleum fine stone filigree and are richly inscribed in Arabic / Persian calligraphy and the window screens are also calligraphy
The mosque is also a beautiful edifice with five grand arches ,ornamented by carved medallions and hanging stone chains.
Bara Kaman : Bara Kaman ( 12 arches )a large roofless monument is quite hidden in the bylanes of the busy market place of Bijapur city. We almost missed it and had to ask for directions from the locals . It is a unfinished mausoleum of Ali Adil Shah II who had started building it as a burial mausoleum for himself and his wives but could never be completed in his lifetime. It is built on a raised platform and has the tomb of Ali Adil Shah II and his family members .
Gagan Mahal : This is quite close to the Bara Kaman at a walking distance. Gagan Mahal was supposed to be the Durbar Hall, palaces and pleasure gardens of the Adil Shahi Rulers. But it is in ruins now and serves as a public garden
Opp it is the Anand Mahal but is serves as a Government office now
Malik-e-Maidan : A little ahead is the Malik-e-Maidan or the She-A-Burz . In the tower lies the 4 mtrs long and 55 ton cannon cast in gun metal . It is said to the largest medieval cannon in the world. The cannon’s nozzle is fashioned into the shape of a lion’s head with open jaws & between the carved fangs is depicted an elephant being crushed to death
Upali Burz : Just opposite the Malik-e-Maidan is the Upali Burz a watch tower built during 1584. It is a 80 feet tower and formed a part of the military defence of Vijayapura. There are 70 stone steps which are quite high. But the trek to the top is worth it. We can view the Bijapur city from here
Jod Gumbaz : The twin domes of 2 tombs of the army personnel of the Adil Shahi force.
Mehtaj Mahal : is situated in the midst of a busy residential area in one part of Bijapur. It has a mosque
Jamia Masjid : A little ahead of Mehtar Mahal in a busy residential area is the Jamia Masjid which is one of the largest Mosque in India
From here we drove to the incredibly beautiful Aihole which was the experimenting ground for temple architecture