¤ Bijapur - A Historical Destination
Bijapur, an ancient town, the capital of the Adil Shahi dynasty, nestles in the northern part of Karnataka State. Bijapur is close to Belgaum - the gateway to Karnataka from Goa. It is 613 km from Bangalore City and 486-km southeast of Mumbai City. The climate of Bijapur is moderate with summers (April-June) temperately hot and winters cool and pleasant (November-February). June to August the region enjoys a monsoon season with heavy rains.
The city is recognized for its ancient monuments representing South Indian style of architecture. The majestic Gol Gumbaz is the main allure of this city. It is the biggest dome in India and the second largest in the world. Tourists are attracted to Bijapur to site the magnificent monument on their holiday trip in Bijapur. Gol Gumbaz monument was constructed by the Adil Shahi rulers during 15th and 17th century and many other places of historical, cultural and architectural interest.
Besides its monumental heritage, Bijapur is also famous for its hand woven Ilkal sarees that includes a great part of tourist purchase.
During the rule of Chalukayan Dynasty between 10th and 11th centuries the region was called as 'Vijayapura' from hence comes its present name Bijapur.
Bijapur came under Muslim influence in 13th century under the rule of Alauddin Khilji- the Sultan of Delhi. In 1481, Mohammed III, one of the Bahamani Sultans, appointed Yusuf Adil Khan as the Governor of the Bijapur. With the decline of the Bahamani power at Bidar, Yusuf declared his independence in 1489 and thus became the founder of the Adil Shahi Dynasty, which survived as the Kingdom till its annexation by Aurangazeb in 1686.
¤ Bijapur Attractions
Gol Gumbaz is the famous tomb of Mohammed Adil Shah, a major holiday attraction of the city. It is renowned as the second-largest tomb in the world, about 44m in diameter comprising of vast hall. The special feature of the monolith is, the dome is not supported by any pillar. Adil Shah began the task of building his own tomb that took about twenty years.
The architecture of this magnificent structure is unique, the four minarets are the four staircases leading to the top dome. The aural of the enclosed space make it a whispering gallery, where even the smallest sound is heard across the other side of the Gombuz. At the boundary of the dome is a circular balcony where visitors can experience echo. Any whisper, clap or sound gets echoed 11 times and creates an ideal stereophonic platform.
Jumma Masjid is the other attraction of this city. Jumma Masjid still used for worship. It was built between 1557 -1686, during Ali Adil Shah reign, one of the first mosques in India.
The total area of the mosque is 10,810 sq. m. The mosque houses nine large arches on their subterfuge that form 45 compartments. The majestic tomb rises above the roof in a semicircle resembling the bud of a flower. Aurangzeb extended the mosque in the east and constructed the eastern gate. The main gateway of the mosque is on the northern side. The interior of the mosque shows some decorative motifs on the apexes of the arches. It also holds an exquisite copy of the Quran, written in gold.
The Ibrahim Rauza
To the edge of the city is the Ibrahim Roza, a gorgeous tomb with elegantly laid out corridors and with copiously bedecked walls and cleft stone windows. Rauza literally means a garden. The enclosure consists of 2 buildings, the tombs of Ibrahim Adil Shah II & his family & a mosque. The gardens are beautifully sculpted, enclosed within an imposing wall and have some superb gateways. The facades of the building provide for some remarkable designs in stone, including a map to the basement, which lies under the mausoleum.
Malik-e-Maidan a colossal metal gun is one of the largest bell metal guns in the world. This gigantic gun almost measuring 4.45-m in length, 1.5 m in diameter and app. weighs up to 55 tons is kept on the high walls of the city. This legendary cannon belonging to Adil Shahi king holds miraculous attractions, the metal of cannon always remains cool even under the scorching heat of summers. Also, when knock mildly it chimes ethereally like a bell that's the reason the gun is named as 'metal bell gun'. Legend has it that if one touches a gun and makes a wish, the wish will come true.
Mehtar Mahal is a massive gateway that leads to the mosque. It is the foremost specimen of the Indo-Saracenic architecture splendor. The gate is adorned by exquisite carvings that are worth a watch.
Taj Bawdi is a huge tank constructed to solemnize Ibrahim II 's first wife Taj Sultana. There lies a royal arch gateway supported by two octagonal minarets in front of Taj Bawdi. Luxurious rest houses both on the east and west zones makes an idle spot for the visitors to relax.
In 1646, Mohammed Shah constructed Asaar Mahal -5 km. Exquisite paintings and designs embellish the walls and the ceilings of the palace, which is a great source of attraction. Female folk are restricted to the palace. Gagan Mahal- Ali Adil Shah I in 1561 constructed this mansion. The magnificent Durbar Hall on the ground floor as well, entire first floor was the private residence of the royal family.
¤ Excursions from Bijapur
Aihole - 110 km from Bijapur is a holiday destination also known as the 'Cradle of Indian Temple Architecture'. The town is dotted with more than 125-temple complex scattered all around the region. The 5th century Lad Khan Temple is one the oldest shrines in Aihole much famous for its intricately carved structures. Durga (Fort), Hutchmalli Temple, the Ravalphadi Cave Temple, the Konti Temple Complex, The Uma Maheshwari Temple, the Jain Temple and Buddhist Temple are the must a visit site at Aihole.
Pattadakal - a world Heritage Center lies at a distance of 134 km from Bijapur. The region is arrayed with 10 exquisitely carved temple shrines. Virupaksheshvara temple with its enormous gateway and a majestic 2.6 in high Nandi is just worth a sight. The Mallikarjuna, Papanatha Temples and the Jain Temples from the Rashtrakuta period are other attractions of Pattadakal.
About 120 km from Bijapur, Badami is the capital of early Chalukyas. The site makes an ideal holiday destination for its famous cave temples, magnificently carved out of hard rocks. There are temples nestling all around the reservoir dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Shiva. Another attraction of Badami is the Bhutanatha Temples and the Museum set up by the Archaeological Survey of India, must to visit sites.
About 43 km from Bijapur, developed by Birth is also a temple site housing many important shrines.
67 km from Bijapur is another famous pilgrim center.
Karnataka local food specialty lies in its diverse variety of breads prepared out of different grains. Jowar Roti ('Jwalada Bhakri') and Bajra roti ( 'Sajji Bhakri") are the types of breads delicately prepared and served with 'Bhartha' (Brinjal-egg plant) curry, along with "Shenga Chutney" (spicy peanuts powder mix ) served either with peanut oil , and a delicious creamy yogurt (curd). One can enjoy the pure traditional food at famous "Khaanavali" eating joints. Non-vegetarian preparations include mainly Mughlai and Hyderabadi delicacies.
Milk Sweets like Pedhe, Kalakandh, Mysore pak are just mouth watering, trying once results in to continuously carving for more.
¤ Accessibility to Bijapur
By Air: Bijapur does not have an airport of its own. The nearest airport is Belgaum, 205 km away.
By Rail: Bijapur railway station is located 2 km east of the city center. Few trains pass and stop at Bijapur. However, there are a number of trains to Sholapur (in the state of Maharashtra) and Gadag, which are important railheads, from where one can get trains to Bangalore, Hyderabad and Mumbai.
By Road: Bijapur is well connected by means of road transport. Bus services from Badami take 4 hours, Belgaum -5 hours, Gulbarga -4 hours, Bidar -7 hours, Hubli -4½ hours, to reach the city.
To roam in the city, easiest means of transport are auto-rickshaws and tongas (horse-carts). Bikes can be taken on rent from the bus stand, on hourly basis. and even you can hire a bicycle and move around, as the visiting spots are very nearby.