Location: 81 kms from Bangalore, Karnataka
Known For: Gol Gumbaz
Other Attractions: Malik-e-Maidan, The Ara-killa
Best Season: September To February
QUEEN OF DECCAN: The ancient town of Bijapur, dotted with mosques, mausoleums, palaces and fortifications, was the capital of the Adil Shahi Dynasty. Once the capital of the Adil Shahis, it was a city that "exceeded anything of its kind in Europe".
Even today, it retains its dignity and royal grandeur. Still strongly Muslim in character, Bijapur has many places of historical, cultural and architectural interest. Even though Aurangazeb damaged many of the structures, Bijapur remains a must-see town.
Gol-Gumbaz: The tomb of Mohammed Adil Shah, the seventh ruler of the Adil Shahi dynasty, Gol Gumbaz boasts of the second largest dome in the world.
Malik-e-Maidan: 'Malik-e-Maidan' meaning the 'lord of the battlefield' is the largest medieval cannon in the world, fourteen feet long and weighing about 55 tons.
Perched on a platform especially built for it, the cannon's nozzle is fashioned into the shape of a lion's head. In 1854 AD, the cannon was auctioned for Rs. 150 but the sale was cancelled in the end.
Jumma Masjid: Jumma Masjid, one of the main attractions of the city has been called one of the first mosques in India. Still used for worship, it holds an exquisite copy of the Quran, written in gold.
Also dating back to the period of Adil Shah, this is the largest Masjid in the region.
Ibrahim Roza: On the western outskirts of the city lies the mausoleum of lbrahim Adil Shah II- Ibrahim Roza, said to have inspired the Taj Mahal in Agra. Embracing 1,16,300 square feet is the Jamma Masjid - "one of the finest mosques in India".
The Ibrahim Roza is a beautiful tomb with artistically laid out corridors and interconnecting buildings with richly decorated walls and perforated stone windows. At the center of the town are large arches signifying the forts and its beauty in moonlight.
Anand Mahal: Adil Shah II built the palace of delights in 1589 AD. The two-storeyed building, which once housed the ladies of the palace, has in its precincts today, a Gymkhana Club, an Inspection Bungalow, several offices and the residential quarters of the Assistant Commissioner.
Mehtar Mahal: Supposed to have been built by a sweeper, it is the ornamental gateway leading to a mosque and a garden.
Meaning the 'Sweeper's Palace', this gateway has a flat stone roof supported by stone brackets of delicately carved birds and rows of swans.
Asar Mahal: to the east of the citadel, Mohammed Adil Shah in built the Asar Mahal about 1646AD to serve as a Hall of Justice.
The rooms on the upper storey are profusely decorated with frescoes, many of them using foliage and flower motifs, some portraying male and female figures in various poses.
The front of the building is graced with a square tank still fed by conduits from Begum Tank. Women are not allowed inside the main structure.
Aihole: 110 kms away from Bijapur. Famous as the 'Cradle of Indian Temple Architecture', Aihole has over 125 temples, all intricately carved and rich in detail.
The Hutchmalli Temple, the Ravalphadi Cave Temple, The Konti Temple Complex, The Uma Maheshwari Temple, The Jain Meguthi Temple and the two-storeyed Buddhist Temple are the other attractions at Aihole.
Pattadakal: 134 kms from Bijapur. A world Heritage Center, Pattadakal has 10 major temples representing early Chalukyan architecture. The biggest temple dedicated to Virupaksheshvara has a huge gateway and several inscriptions.
In front of the temple is a majestic 2.6-m high statue of Nandi. The Mallikarjuna and Papanatha Temples, and the Jain Temple from the Papanatha Temples and the Jain Temple from the Rashtrakuta period are well worth visit.
Kudala Sangama: It is a tiny hamlet overlooking the sacred confluence of the rivers Malaprabha and Krishna. On the riverbank, stands the renowned temple of Sangameshwar.
Built in the Chalukyan style, this temple has a porch, a 'Navaranga' and the main shrine containing the famed linga, Sangamanatha. It is in these surroundings that Basaveshvara is believed to have become one with god.
Badami: 120 kms from Bijapur. Picturesquely situated at the mouth of a ravine between two rocky hills, Badami was the capital of the early Chalukyas.
It has four rock-cut cave temples, the largest being the third cave dedicated to Vishnu. The Bhutanatha Temples and the Museum set up by the Archaeological Survey of India are the other attractions.
Basavana Bagewadi: 43 kms from Bijapur. Basavana Bagewadi is a quaint town famous as the birthplace of Saint Basaveshwara. There are several important temples here.
HOW TO GET THERE
Main Festival: The Bijapur Music Festival - featuring the stalwarts of Indian music - is organized by the Government of Karnataka every year in January / February.
Air: The nearest airport is Belgaum (205 kms.).
Rail: Bijapur is connected by rail to Bangalore, Bombay, (via Sholapur), Hospet (via Gadag) and Vasco da Gama (via Hubli and Londa).
Road: Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation buses ply from Bijapur to Badami, Bangalore, Belgaum, Hubli and Sholapur.
Bijapur is connected by road to: Aihole (129 kms) Bombay (486 kms.) Badami (132 kms) Hampi (254 kms.) Bangalore (81 kms.) Pattadakal (148 kms.) Belgaum (205 kms).
Local Transport: Auto Rickshaws, Cycle Rickshaws / Tongas, City Bus Service.
Languages: Kannada, Hindi.
Local Food Specialties: Mughalai or Hyderabadi Non - vegetarian preparations.