Bijapur (Kannada: ವಿಜಾಪುರ) 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.
HistoryThe city established in the 10th–11th centuries by the Chalukyas of Kalyani was referred as Vijayapura (City of victory). The city came under the influence of the Khilji Sultanate in Delhi by the late 13th century. In 1347, the area was conquered by the Bahmani Sultanate of Gulbarga. By this time the city was being referred as Vijapur or Bijapur
In 1518, the Bahmani Sultanate split into five splinter states known as the Deccan sultanates, one of which was Bijapur, ruled by the kings of the Adil Shahi dynasty (1490–1686). The city of Bijapur owes much of its greatness to Yusuf Adil Shah, the founder of the independent state of Bijapur. The rule of this dynasty ended in 1686, when Bijapur was conquered by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. In 1724 the Nizam of Hyderabad established his independence in the Deccan, and included Bijapur within his dominions. In 1760, the Nizam suffered a defeat by the Marathas, and ceded the region of Bijapur to the Maratha Peshwa. After the 1818 defeat of the Peshwa by the British in the Third Anglo-Maratha War, Bijapur passed into the hands of the British East India Company, and was assigned to the princely state of Satara.
In 1848 the territory of Satara, along with Bijapur, was annexed to Britain's Bombay Presidency when the last ruler died without a male heir. The British carved a new district by the name Kaladagi. The district included present-day Bijapur and Bagalkot districts. Bijapur was made the administrative headquarters of the district in 1885, when the headquarters were moved from Bagalkot. After India's Independence in 1947, the district became part of Bombay state, and was reassigned to Mysore state, later Karnataka, in 1956. The former southern taluks of the district were separated in 1997 to form Bagalkot District.
The citadel, built by Yusuf Adil Shah, a mile (2 km) in circuit, is of great strength, well built of the most massive materials, and encompassed by a ditch 100 yards wide, formerly supplied with water, but now nearly filled up with rubbish, so that its original depth cannot be discovered. Within the citadel are the remains of both Hindu temples and old mosques, which prove that Bijapur was an important town. The fort, which was completed by Au Adil Shah in 1566, is surrounded by a wall 6 m. in circumference. This wall is from 30 to 50 ft (10 to 15 m) high, and is strengthened with 96 massive bastions of various designs. In addition there are ten others at the various gateways. The width is about 25 ft (8 m); from bastion to bastion runs a battlemented curtained wall about 10 ft (3 m) high. The whole is surrounded by a deep moat 30 to 40 ft (10 to 12 m) broad. Inside these walls the Bijapur kings bade defiance to all comers. Outside the walls are the remains of a vast city, now for the most part in ruins, but the innumerable tombs, mosques, caravanserais and other edifices, which have resisted the havoc of time, afford abundant evidence of the ancient splendour of the place.
Cities & Towns in Bijapur District
Bijapur is rich in historical attractions.
- 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.
- Jumma Masjid: Built by Ali Adil Shah I (1558–80) is one of largest Mosque in the region. It has a large hall, elegant arches, and an excellent dome with thirty-three smaller domes surrounding it. It has an exquisite copy of the Quran, written in gold. Elaborate entrance gate was built by Emperor Aurangzeb.
- Malik-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.
- Uppali Buruj, Built around 1584 by Hyder Khan, is an 80-foot-high (24 m) 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.
- Chand Bawdi, Ali Adil Shah (1558–1580) 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".
- Asar 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 the blessed relic - the holy 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, Sat Manzil, and Jal Manzil.
GeographyGeographically, the district lies in the tract of the Deccan Plateaus. The lands of the district can be broadly divided into three zones: the northern belt consisting of the northern parts of Bijapur Taluks of Indi and Sindagi; the central belt consisting of Bijapur city; the southern belt consisting of the rich alluvial plains of the Krishna Rivers parted from the central belt by a stretch of barren Trap. The northern belt is a succession of low rolling uplands without much vegetation, gently rounded and falling into intermediate narrow valleys. The upland soil being shallow, the villagers are generally confined to the banks of the streams and are far away from one another. The Don Volley has plains and consists of rich tracts of deep black soil stretching from west to east. Across the Krishna River is a rich plain crossed from west to east by two lines of sandstone hills. Further south towards Badami and southwest to east by two lines of sandstone hills. Further south towards Badami and southwest of Hunagund, the hills increase the number and the black soil gives way to the red.
DemographicsBijapur is bounded on the east by Gulbarga district, on the southeast by Raichur District, on the south and southwest by Bagalkot District, and on the west by Belgaum District, and by the Maharashtra of Sangli on the northwest and Sholapur on the north, Sangli on the north-west (both of Maharastra state).
For administrative purposes the district is divided into six taluks.
TransportBijapur is connected only by Rail and Road. An Air port has also got sanction. The helipad at the Sainik School is used only when government guests or public office bearers visit the district and is not open for general public. The state owned run buses to all parts of the district. Private tour operators also run luxury bus services to Bangalore, Hubli, Dharwad and Belgaum. Travelers can book tickets online through.
Bijapur is a Broad gauge station of South Western Railways, with direct train connections to Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Hubli, Sholapur and Shirdi.
The public transport of the district is managed by the State Road Transport Corporation which runs local buses within city limits as well as villages within the 15 km radius. The frequency of these buses are higher in comparison to the buses which ply on longer routes. Tata Sumo, Tata Indica and are used as taxis by local operators. Autos and Tongas are still popular mode of local transport in the city. Cycle Rickshaws are used only to transport materials and people hardly travel by them.
Best Time to Visit : October to March (During Winters)
Air – The nearest airport is at Belgaum (205 km). Indian and Jet airways flight operators connect Bijapur to the rest of India.
Rail – Bijapur is well connected by rail with Bangalore and other major cities of India (Bombay, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Hubli and Solapur). It has its own railhead that is located just 2 km from the main town.
Road – The main stand in Bijapur is near the southwestern side of the citadel, near the city center. Bus services to Badami (2 hours), Belgaum (5 hours), Gulbarga (4 hours), Bidar (7 hours), Hubli (4Â½ hours), and Sholapur (2 hours) are frequent.
Excursions: Alihole – 110 km, Saint Basaveshwara Pilgrim – 67 km, Basavana Bagevadi – 43 km, Alamatti – 56 km, Badami – 60 km, Gulbarga – 145 km, Bidar – 256 km, Bangalore – 530 km, Mysore – 650 km.
This is one the best website which has all the information about Bijapur history, Kings who ruled the city and historical monuments.
Best website about Bijapur history : http://golgumbad.com/
Art and cultureNavaraspur was the auditorium of the Adil Shahs, it is about 10 km outside the city limits. The ruins of the site are still visible. Every year the local administration organizes the Navaraspur Festival to attract tourists. Great personalities like Bhimsen Joshi, Ustad Alla Rakha, Zakir Hussain, Mallikarjun Mansur, Gangubai Hangal and many more have performed in this festival.
- Shri Shiddeshwar Temple situated at the heart of the city is a holy place for Hindus which is also a very beautiful tourist place to visit. During Makar Sankranti an annual fare is organized by Shri Siddheshwar Temple. This fair is well known for the cattle market which is organized outside the city limits. Farmers from neighboring villages and even some parts of Maharastra come to trade in cattle. During this period fireworks display will be held.
- The Kittur Rani Chenamma Theatre still stages dramas by professionals. However due to the decrease in the patronization the drama companies are closing down. Ninasam, (Shri Nilakanteshwara Nataka Sangha), an experimental theatre troupe started by visit Bijapur and show case their art during the Ninasam "Tirugata" (meaning: Wandering in Kannada) Kandgal Hanumantharayara Ranga Mandira on the station road, serves as the centre of art of culture. During summer many workshops on theatre are held at this auditorium under the sponsorship of the local administration.
Land of cyclist ಸೈಕಲಿಸ್ಟಗಳ ಕಣಜCycling talent of Karnataka needs a special mention. Off late Bijapur district has produced some of the best known road cyclists in the national circuit. Premalata Sureban was part of the Indian contingent at the Perlis Open '99 in Malaysia. In recognition of the talent of cyclists in the district, the State Government has already laid a cycling track at the B.R. Ambedkar Stadium here, spending Indian Rupee ₹.40 lakh. Bijapur cyclists won many state level contests. (Asif Athar, Geethanjali Jothappanavar top among men and women respectively.) State government has taken steps construct an international-level velodrome near Bhutnal tank, 8 km from Bijapur city.
Chand Bibi, the regent of Bijapur (1580-90)
The Quran, written in gold at Jumma Masjid
The Gun: Malik-E-Maidan, which means the master of the war front