A trip to Bijapur was long overdue to see the famous Gol Gumbaz which is the second largest dome in the world and the Malik-i-Maidan,the 55 tonne largest cannon ever made. The trip finally materialized in June 2016 during my return from Goa to Hyderabad.
Bijapur is famous for the historical monuments built during Adil Shahi dynasty which ruled from 1490 to 1686. It is located about 530 km from Bangalore and about 550 km from Mumbai and 384 km from Hyderabad.
Bijapur (Vijaypura) was established in the 1oth–11th century by the Chalukyas of Kalyani and was known as Vijaypura (city of victory). There are no monuments present in Bijapur pertaining to Chalukyas dynasty.
In 1518, the Bahmani Sultanate split into five splinter states known as the Deccan sultanates, one of which was Bijapur, ruled by the kings of the Adil Shahi dynasty (1490–1686).
The most prominent attraction in Bijapur is Gol Gumbaz, the mausoleum of Muhammad Adil Shah which is an important monument of Indo-Islamic architecture.The mausoleum contains the tombs of Muhammad Adil Shah, his wives and daughters.
Muhammad Adil Shah (AD 1626-1656), the seventh Sultan of the Adil Shahi dynasty started construction of this mausoleum in 1626 after his accession to the throne and after his death, was buried here.
Other prominent structures in the Gol Gumbad monument are a mosque, a Naqqar Khana (museum), a gateway and a dharmashala.
Some interesting facts about Gol Gumbaz:
- It is the second largest dome in the world, second in size only to St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome. The Gol Gumbaz is 124 feet in diameter.
- The architecture of Gol Gumbaz is unique in the sense that the four minarets themselves are the staircases, leading to the top dome and the huge dome is built without support by pillars.
- The most interesting feature of the Gol Gumbaz is its acoustical system in the ‘Whispering Gallery’. This circular is located inside the mausoleum, right below the tomb. Here, even the faintest whisper around the dome echoes several times.
- The Gol Gumbaz with it’s sheer size is prominently visible from distance. It has a floor area of 1700 sq., height of 51 m. and a diameter of 37 m. The walls of the mausoleum are 3 meters thick.
- There are 3 huge historical Cannons on display in front of museum at Gol Gumbaz which are worth a look.
Pictures taken at Gol Gumbaz
The other prominent structure in Bijapur is Ibrahim Rouza which is also known as “black Taj Mahal”. It consist of two structures next to each other – on the left is Ibrahim Rouza , the mausoleum of Ibrahim Adil Shah (the 6th Adil Shahi Sultan), and on the right is a mosque. Built in the 1620s, it is believed that the Ibrahim Rouza was the inspiration for the Taj Mahal’s design.
Malik E Maidan
Another must visit attractions at Bijapur fort is the Malik-i-Maidan (Master of the Battlefield), also known as Burj-E-Sherz. It was erected by Ibrahim Adil Shah II. It was named after the Battle of Talikota of 1565 in which the Vijayangar empire was defeated.
It is placed on the Sherza Burj It is 4.45 metres (14.6 ft) long and 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) in diameter with a 700 millimeters (28 in) bore. The cannon weighs 55 tonnes and is considered one of the largest medieval cannon ever made. The unusual feature of the cannon is that its crafted in the form of a lion head with carved open jaws with elephant between the lion jaws. It is also said that the huge weight of the canon discouraged the British from carrying it as a trophy to England.
- Best time to visit : September – February
- You can hire a tuk – tuk (tanga) to visit different places.
- You may have to encounter traffic between Golgumbaz and Ibrahim Rauza.
- One can plan trip to Bijapur along with Badami – Aihole- Padakkal and Hampi.