At the heart of a simple and exiguous town, named Bijapur lies the grandiose tombstone that depicts the old traditions and history of the place, quite clearly.
It is that elegant monument which had been erected at the year of 1659 to mark the death of the then Emperor, Mohammed Adil Shah (reigned from 1627 to 1657) of the Adil Shahi dynasty. In other areas of this town, this mausoleum is often termed as Gol Gumbad, but whatever the people call it, this wonder is famous for its dome structure, and has been referred as the second largest arch framework unsupported by pillars, in the world, after St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
Gol Gumbaz is one of the finest Islamic monuments at Bijapur. Its floor area can be estimated roughly of 1700 square meter with a height of 51 meters and diameter of 37 meters. The walls of this magnificent tomb is about 3 meters thick. An enigmatic garden encompasses the whole monument and there are two completely diverse architectures which might look like a single and same structure to the tourist at the first glance. The first part is a modest sized two store building in the frontal which was once treated as the Nagarkhana (band room) during the period of King Adil Shah and now it is put to use as a small museum which enlightens the visitors of the city’s history where different Kings of different dynasties had ruled.
Following the building, there is a huge archaic structure, which serves as the main attraction for tourists coming from all over the world. The arrangement of dome is with four large towers at four corners of the monument, and thus displaying the beauty of Islamic and Persian styled architectures. A very interesting feature of Gol Gumbaz is the echoing of any kind of sound, for more than eleven times. The place inside the dome has a unique characteristic which can you make you listen to a very tiny sound quite clearly. No wonder, it is often called as the “whispering gallery”. The tomb of King Adil Shah is in the center of the dome, based on an elementary stone platform and along with that there are also the burial chambers of his two wives and children, along with his grandchild as well.
The staircase toward the towers goes straight up to the balcony of the monument. The passage is narrow and quite a dingy place. But the view from the balcony is indeed mesmerizing and breath-taking. The picturesque view of the dome is clearly visible from the balcony.
The monument of Gol Gumbaz also accommodates a mosque, a gateway and a dharamsala. The Nagarkhana too serves as an important part of this mausoleum. The mosque at Gol Gumbaz is presently not in use, just like the other mosques housed by other monuments at Bijapur.
The town of Bijapur has a temperate climate and the summer months are too scorching and tiring for the tourists. Hence, the appropriate time to visit Gol Gumbaz would be during the months from September to April. This is because, the weather is quite charming and cool, highly beneficial for tourists. The usual time to visit this monument is between 10 am and 5 pm and on Fridays it is closed.
Karnataka is a proud possessor of various ancient and historical monuments and palaces which are a great attraction for tourists and visitors, all around the globe. Bijapur maybe a small town but it houses well-preserved historic artefacts, like Gol Gumbaz, Ibrahim Roza, Bara Kaman and Malik-e-Maidan.