Bijapur is a district in the state of Karnataka in southern India. The city of Bijapur is the headquarters of the district, and is located 530 km northwest of Bangalore. Bijapur is well known for the great monuments of historical importance built during the Adil Shahi dynasty. Bijapur is one of the largest districts in Karnataka and has an area of 10541 sq Km. Consisting 5.49% of the area of the state. It is nearly 580 Kms from the state capital Bangalore. It lies between 15x50 and 17x28 North Latitude and 74x54 and 76x28 East Longitude. The district is bounded by Solapur district on the north and Sangli on the north-west (both of Maharastra state), by the district of Belgaum on the west, Bagalkote on the south, Gulburga on the East and by Raichur on the south-east. Thus, it is a land-locked district on the northern boundary of Karnataka.
The foundation of this historic city was laid during the reign of the Chalukya dynasty of Kalyani between the tenth and Eleventh centuries. They called it Vijayapure, the “City of Victory”, from which comes its present name Bijapur.
Bijapur came under Muslim influence, first under Allaudin Khilji, the Sultan of Delhi, towards the end of the 13th century, and then under the Bahamani kings of Bidar in 1347.
In 1481, Mohammed III, one of the Bahamani Sultans, appointed Yusuf Adil Khan as the Governor of Bijapur, one of the sons of Sultan Mahmud II of Turkey. Yusuf Adil Khan fled from his country on the death of his father, to escape the massacre of crown prince in the battle for succession to the throne. Mahmud Gavan, the Prime Minister of Mohammed III, purchased him as a slave.
With the decline of the Bahamani power at Bidar, Yusuf declared his independence in 1489 and thus became the founder of Adil Shahi dynasty, which survived as a kingdom till its annexation by Mughal Emperor Aurangzed in 1686.
Bijapur experienced a great burst of architectural activity under the Adil Shahi dynasty. The Adil Shahis encouraged building activity to such an extent that Bijapur itself has over 50 mosques, more than 20 tombs and a number of palaces. The “Gol Gumbaz” one of the Seven Wonders of the World is magnificent architectural masterpiece, which attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world every year.
Gol Gumbaz: This is the most famous monument in Bijapur. It is the tomb of Mohammed Adil Shah (ruled 1627-1657). It is the second largest dome ever built, next in size only to St Peter's Basilica in Rome. A particular attraction in this monument is the central chamber, where every sound is echoed seven times. Another attraction at the Gol Gumbaz is the Whispering Gallery, where even minute sounds can be heard clearly 37 metres away. Gol Gumbaz complex includes a mosque, a Naqqar Khana (a hall for the trumpeters) (Now it is used as museum) and the ruins of guest houses.
Ibrahim Rauza: This is the tomb of Ibrahim Adil Shah II (ruled 1580-1627), the fifth king of the dynasty and, like the Mughal emperor Akbar, known for religious tolerance. Built on a single rock bed, it is noted for the symmetry of its features. It is said that the design for the Ibrahim Rauza served as an inspiration for that of the famous Taj Mahal.
The Gun: Malik-E-Maidan, which means the master of the war frontMalik-e-Maidan (The Monarch of the Plains) the largest medieval cannon in the world. Being 4 m long, 1,5 m in diameter and weighing 55 tons, this gun was brought back from Ahmadnagar in the 17th century as a trophy of war by 400 oxen, 10 elephants and tens of men. It was placed on the Sherza Burj (Lion Gate) on a platform especially built for it. The cannon's nozzle is fashioned into the shape of a lion's head. It is said that after igniting the cannon, the gunner would remain underwater in a tank of water on the platform to avoid the deafening explosion. The cannon remains cool even in strong sunlight and if tapped, tinkles like a bell. In 1854 the cannon was auctioned for Rs. 150 but the sale was cancelled in the end.
Upri Buruj: Built around 1584 by Hyder Khan, is an 80 ft (25 m) high tower standing to the north of Dakhani Idgah in Bijapur. This is a spherical structure with stone steps winding round the outside. Top of the tower offers a commanding view of the city. This is also known as "Hyder Burj", "Upli Burj". On top of Upli Burj there are two guns of huge size. The parafeet this tower which was used for monitoring purposes has been fenced now. One needs to climb the circular stairs to reach the top. However except for this tower there is very little evidence of the citadel wall in this area due to rampant construction.
Gagan MahalChand Bawdi: Ali Adil Shah (1557-1580) built this tank near eastern boundary of Bijapur. When there was large influx of people into Bijapur after the fall of the Vijayanagar empire, and new settlements came up within the walled city raising the need for better infrastructure and providing water supply. This has a storage capacity of 20 million litres. Later it became a model for many other tanks constructed in the city. A grandeur complex came up around it, which was mainly used to house the maintenance staff though members of the royal family occasionally used it for recreation. He named this after his wife "Chand Bibi". The incomplete masolueum of Adil Shah, Barakaman(Ali Roza-II), which means twelve arches in Urdu
Asar MahalAsar Mahal: The Asar Mahal was built by Mohammed Adil Shah in about 1646, which was used to serve as a Hall of Justice. The building was also used to house hairs from the Prophet's beard. The rooms on the upper storey are decorated with frescoes and the front is graced with a square tank. Here women are not allowed inside. Every year there is urs (festival) held at this place. In front of the hall, one can see three tanks the bigger tank, which is at the centre is about 15 feet deep however the other two are comparatively smaller in size as well as depth. Behind Asar Mahal one can still see the remain of the citadel. Just a kilometer away behind Asar Mahal, one can still find the old mosque which is on top of the citadel wall. There is a big entrance with arc below this mosque. Many stones have inscriptions. The site is under maintenance of Archeological Survey of India Gagan Mahal, Which means Sky Palace, is built with a 21- meter façade and four wooden massive pillars, has a majestic central arch. Sikandar Adil Shah, in silver chains, surrendered to Aurangzeb in 1681 here.
Barakaman (Ali Roza-II): A mausoleum of Ali Roza built in 1672. It was previously named as Ali Roza, but Shah Nawab Khan changed its name to Bara Kaman as this was the 12th monument during his reign. It has now seven arches and the tomb containing the graves of Ali, his queens and eleven other ladies possibly belonging to the Zenana of the queens.
Among the other historical attractions at Bijapur, some notable ones are the Anand Mahal, Jod Gumbaz, Jumma Mosque, Sat Manzil, and Jal Manzil.