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Bijapur: The City of Victory

Bijapur or Vijayapura is one of the key heritage locations in North Karnataka and known for the world famous monument Gol Gumbaz. We covered this city when were on North Karnataka exploration during 2013 Diwali holidays. After getting to this place we realized that the place is not only about the signature monument Gol Gumbaz, there're lot of other interesting monuments for photography and sightseeing. Recently there has been a lot of push from the Tourism Dept of Karnataka for including this place in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Gol Gumbaz - shot from an adjacent park
We landed in Bijapur after late evening journey from Bidar. As per advice of a localite during bus journey, we checked-in at Hotel Madhuvan International. Next day we decided allocate time for Gol Gumbaz for second half and cover rest of the monuments in first half of the day.

Bara Kaman Mausoleum
Our sightseeing started with a visit to Bara Kaman near to center to the city. It's actually an incomplete mausoleum and was designed as a structure with 12 levels X 12 arches (vertically and horizontally) but was stopped at level-1 itself as its shadow would fall on the Gol Gumbaz. Nevertheless, the incomplete structure made the place pretty interesting and the awesome lighting took the experience of the place to another level.
After Bara Kaman we covered a few places around bus stand, Gagan Mahal, 55 tonne cannon at a watch tower etc. But unfortunately the places were not in great shape and we covered them in express mode :)

Ibrahim Rauza Tomb
Then we move on little bit far away from the city to vist Ibrahim Rauza - the tomb of Ibrahim Adil Shah II (1580-1627), and it is said that the design of this structure served as an inspiration for the famous Taj Mahal. Infact the layout of the place is similar to the Taj Mahal with mosque and a hall either side the tomb. The group of monuments offers interesting perspective for photography and and I made an effective use of Sigma 8-16 ultrawide lens to capture the same :)

Later we had a plans of going for a temple in outskirts of the city but decided to skip it as we were close to lunch hours and auto guy whom we had hired for sightseeing started doing lot of nakhras. We came back to our hotel ending first half of sightseeing.

The second half we dedicate to Gol Gumbaz. The monument was pretty close to hotel and we got to the entrance by walking on our foot. We hired a guide at the entrance itself to explore the monuments in an effective way. He explained us about history about the monument and it's only not about the gigantic dome and there are other salient features as well. Some part of the monument were damaged during 1994 Latur Earthquake.

Inside the Gol Gumbaz
After getting to top level our guide demonstrated us many acoustic features of the structure. The best one was sound of handkerchief flap which we heard being diametrically opposite with DTS type amplification of 20x times ! On a normal day one can experience chaotic atmosphere inside as many visitors will be experimenting with acoustics of the structure. Do try shouting the word "OM" which will result series of unique echos ! I guess souls of the people buried here will be cursing why the hell they created such a structure where enthusiastic visitors just come and shout. 

When we were at the terrace of the monument it took hell lot of time for us come town. Due to some local jatre nearby there were lot additional visitors to the monument. Capturing the monument from outside turned out to be disappointing as visitors were not allowed go around the monument for capturing interesting and unique perspective. With partial disappointment we came back to our hotel by evening tea and moved on to our next destination Bagalkot.

Retrospect:

  • Bijapur is not only about Gol Gumbaz, there're interesting monument such as Barah Kaman, Ibrahim Rouza.
  • Visit Gol Gumbaz at Bijapur very early in morning and cover rest of the places after that. We did a big mistake by keeping Gol Gumbaz visit late in afternoon. It's was very chaotic atmosphere.
  • We could not have Gol Gumbar from interesting angles as there was lot of restriction for movement of the visitor. ASI authorities should encourage tourists from capturing the monument from different angles.
  • Lonely planet guide was handy again and made planning easy !

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