Bijapur, the ‘city of domes and minarets’ was the capital of AdilShahi’s and is known as a treasure house of Islamic architecture’. The Chalukyan rulers of Kalyana originally founded Vijayapura or the ‘city of victory’, which came under the reigns of Bahmani rulers of Bidar in 1347. Yusuf Adil Shah, the Governor of Bijapur declared independence in 1481 and established the Adil Shahi dynasty. The Adil Shahi’s were great builders and Bijapur became a center for architectural activity. The town has about 50 mosques, 20 tombs, and numerous palaces and it is one of the ‘classic tourism’ destinations of India.
Gol Gumbaz: It was built in 1626 – 1656, by Mohammed Adil Shah, as a mausoleum for himself and is recognized as “one of the finest structural triumphs of the Indian builders”. The four minarets have four staircases, leading to the top of the enormous dome, measuring 44 meters. in diameter. It is regarded as the second largest dome in the world, unsupported by a pillar. A circular ‘Whispering Gallery’ underneath is famous for its amazing acoustical system, where the faintest whisper is echoed 9 times. On a raised platform in the center of the hall are the replica tombs of Mohammed Adil Shah and his family, while the actual tombs lie in a crypt below. The gallery around the dome affords a fine view of the city.
The Fort: The huge fort built by Yusuf Adil Shah-I, has relics of palaces and pleasure gardens. Gagan Mahal was built in 1561, as a royal residence as well as Durbar Hall. The Sat Manzil, the seven storeyed palaces of Mohammed Adil Shah and the Jala Manzil are noted for its architectural beauty. Another attraction is the Maliki Maidan, a 55 tonne, 4.3 meters. long cannon of Adil Shahi’s, which is perhaps one of the largest bell metal guns in the world. Bara Kaman, located nearby is the incomplete mausoleum of Ali-II and is noted for its graceful arches.
Jama Masjid: This largest and oldest mosque of Bijapur was built by Adil Shah -I between 557 and 1686. The finely proportioned, rectangular mosque is known for its graceful minarets and bulbous domes. Aurangzeb added a grand entrance and painted the floor with 2,250 mullahs (space for prayers).
Ibrahim Rauza (2 kms.): This exquisite group of buildings lies on the western outskirts of the city. The palatial mosque and tomb with delicate minarets at each corner are regarded as one of the most beautifully proportioned Islamic structures in the country and an inspiration for the famous Taj Mahal.
Asar Mahal (5kms.): It was built in 1646 by Muhammad Adil Shah as ‘Hall of Justice’ and has some holy relics of Prophet Mohammed. Other interesting monuments are the Mehtar Mahal, Jod Gumbaz, Afzal Khan’s Cenotaph, Anand Mahal, Ark-Killa, etc.