a man entering a palace

A day in Bijapur, Karanataka

Bijapur district is historically, traditionally and legendarily, one of the richest districts in the state. The evidence found here reveals that it was an inhabited place since the Stone Age!

Bijapur, officially known as Vijayapura, is situated in Karnataka, India. It is well known for its historical monuments of architectural importance built during the rule of the Adil Shahi dynasty.

The city was established in the 10th-11th centuries by the Kalyani Chalukyas and was known as Vijayapura (City of victory). Yadavas ruled after Chalukyas. In 1347, it was conquered by the Bahmani Sultanate and then Bijapur Sultanate ruled from the city. Relics of the Sultanates’ rule can be found in the city even today.

This is what may 2 days looked like when I was in Bijapur-

DAY 1

Gol Gumbaz

Gol Gumbaz was ordered to built by Mohammed Adil Shah, the seventh ruler of Adil Shah dynasty. So, he wanted to make a mark by not getting lost in the emirates. To do this, everything in Gol Gumbaz has to do with numerical seven. For Eg – he built seven floors in Gol Gumbaz

Gol Gumaz’s dome is the second-largest (144 meters in diameter) in the world after Rome’s St Peter’s Basicila!.

Gol Gumbaz on a misty morning. If you see closely, the first building is a facade to guard the palace. Made from Dark Grey Basalt, the monument proudly exhibits the Deccan Indo-Islamic style of architecture.

Jain temples at the entrance of Gol Gumbaz ruined and damaged by Allauddin Khilji.

Constructed by Yaqut of Dabul, Gol Gumbaz exhibits the Indo-Islamic style of architecture.  it could not enter the nomination of Seven Wonders of the World because the monument is incomplete (a small-cap had to be added on the dome’s center). Yaqut expired just before this completion.

Adit Shah the seventh’s private mosque on the left of the Gol Gumbaz.

The entrance is decorated from a meteorite (bijlipathar) said to have fallen during the sultan’s reign.

Seven floors where soldiers used to guard the palace. The designs on the walls depict Persian architecture and history.

Details of this image are given below:

The view from the Whispering Gallery after climbing seven floors.

The fence guard’s (tiny arches on the extreme top of this photo) height is merely 2-3 feet and you can see straight down 30 feet! Hence I chickened out from standing near the fence.

Adil Shah’s throne was placed in the hollow space on the right side.

Four hollow spaces in the left are where his mother, wives and other important female members used to sit during any performance. The floor on the left is a slope from high to low towards the center. This was done for the sole purpose so the gold coins reach the center to the artists where they were performing.

The long arches on the wall are in the Persian, Islamic and Indo style architecture.

The podium in the center has a wooden canopy which is the exact position of the grave of Mohammed Adil Shah.

The acoustics of the Whispering Gallery is such that when you whisper is one corner, you can listen to the message in another corner ACROSS 144 FEET DIAMETER! In another corner, the message echos more than 10 times! Our guide demonstrated both these things to us and our brains blew!

The stairs were damn long! Made as per tall pathans’ height. Our thighs gave up while getting down. Make sure you have leg days at the gym before you come to Gol Gumbaz!

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The Archaeological Museum

See the first photo on this blog? The facade is converted into a museum now. The interiors do NOT look like a museum at all. It feels like you’re walking inside a palace literally with all the artifacts surrounding you (with its details, of course!).

There is a long and narrow flight of stairs which take you on the first floor but only one man can pass by at a time! We had to wait in queue for your chance.

There were porcelain dishes imported from Chinese traders from the 16th century!

Read about my Badami, Aihole, and Patadakkal stories of Day 1 and 2 here.

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Day 3

On day 3, we contacted Mr. Ramesh again for sightseeing around Bijapur which was another brilliant decision by us. He charged INR 1200 for half day sightseeing. He traveled on his scooter while we were in the auto (INR 1000) with our luggage.

Jama Masjid

Jama Masjid was built to celebrate the Talikote victory by Adil Shah. The front represents with nine large arches with five inner arches of 45 compartments.

The unique feature in this masjid is the Quran written in gold at the Masjid’s mehrab. There 2250 inlaid rectangular tiles in the form of prayer rugs in the masjid with the dome in a semicircular shape.

Islam says to stand beside each other leaving no gap for the demon to pass from between two people. The mats were drawn on the floor for everyone to pray. Imagine the height and weight of people back in 15-16th Century to be glued to each other on these drawn mats vs now (us in photo). Also, the heads were to touch the pointed design while namaz – when we tried to do the same, we reached only halfway!

Ibrahim Rouza

The building was designed by the Persian architect Malik Sandal with the sentence of Quraan are beautifully covered on the walls. Ibrahim Roza is the tomb of Ibrahim Adil Shah II with his two sons and his mother on the left and on the right side with a mosque set in a walled garden facing over an attractive pond.

The entrance of Ibrahim Rouza – Bibi ka Maqbara (Aurangabad) is inspired by the building in right, Charminar (Hyderabad) from the center and Taj Mahal (Agra) from the building in right!

(Below image) When spoken in front of space in this structure, we could hear the same sound in the opposite structure! Mind-blowing, isn’t it?

Looking at this magnificent structure that inspired to build Taj, from the building that inspired Bibi ka Maqbara (Aurangabad) .

Monkeying around in Ibrahim Roza

‘Allah’ written in Persian calligraphy – one of the designs on the pillars.

Malik-E-Maidan

This is a huge cannon set up by Muhammad Adil Shah I in 1549. It is on top of Sherzah Burj.

A unique feature that is even in the hot scorching sun it remains cool (yes, we touched it and felt the coolness) and in the night it is warm enough for humans to touch. This was achieved because of the right metals mixed in the right proportion! What a marvel for the 15th century!

When gently tapped, it tinkles softly like a bell.

An architect from Turkey was called just to make this cannon and he has inscribed Turkish prayer on this cannon for the generations to remember him.

55 tons heavy cannon said to roar like a lion, range of a horse and to have strength like an elephant when shot from this cannon. Hence inscriptions of these animals at the nozzle.

Jod Gumbaz

Jod Gumbaz is also known as Two Sisters. It is said if prayed here, our wishes come true. The architectural marvel here also is such that if you stand at an entrance of one gate, you can clearly see the shrine in the other gumbaz through its gate!

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Add these places if you have more time:

Gagan Mahal

Almost 2 km away from Bijapur district, this focal curve of Gagan Mahal is the tallest and most stretched out among all the curves found in Bijapur. We didn’t know of this place unfortunately, the photos are beautiful. Try not to miss this.

Sath Khabar

As per the prediction of one of the astrologer, Afzal Khan would not return after meeting Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj to Bijapur. Fearing this, he slit his 64 wives’ throats so they could not remarry.

Uppali Buruz

This structure is 80 feet high and roughly has 80 steps to reach on top. It is alike watch tower built during the regime of Adilsha by major Hyderkhan in 1583. You can see the city of Bijapur fort around with 3 prominent domes visible- the Gol Gumbaz, the Jama Masjid, the Jod Gumbaz, and Ibrahim Rouza

The Uppali Manzil structure has steps to reach on top encircling from the outside

This is on top of Uppali Manzil. This fence was created to avoid accidents/suicides. These cannons were used to attack the enemies. The attacks could go up to 4 km long! Apparently, these cannons were used to blow apart my beloved Hampi.

Sangeeta Mahal

This place is located about six kilometers from Bijapur. It’s a place of arts and culture. Artisans, dancers, musicians used this place to practice and teach their respective art during the Deccan Sultanate period. This mahal was built by Ibrahim Adil Shah.

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I hope Bijapur is interesting for you to go and explore for yourself now. If you have any more doubts, drop it in the comments below and I will answer them soon!

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Other blog posts you may like:
  • 3 days in Hampi. Read here.
  • A weekend in Gokarna. Read here.
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