Tuesday, December 09, 2014

A Day in Bijapur

The first thing you notice while traveling from Maharashtra to Karnataka is that the buses are much less deadly in the latter. And the roads smoother. And the scenery nicer. And the fuel prices lower. But I digress.
I rolled into Bijapur around noon, and booked a room in Santosh lodge, opposite the bus station. The rooms are clean but cramped and there's no generator backup, but a room w/o TV is a good deal at 250 Rs/night (300 w/ TV).
In the evening I went out to see Ibrahim Roja and the surrounding monuments. Visited the Jod Gumbaz (twin domes) and the Taj bawdi on the way. The latter was a stinking mess of filth. To put it mildly. Once used as drinking water to all of Medieval Bijapur, the bawdi (well) is now filled with slimy, murky water and chocked with trash. The Jod gumbaz is much better maintained but is used more as a picnic spot thanks to its surrounding lawns.
The Ibrahim Roja ('Roja' means the tomb of a male Muslim) is befitting of the status afforded by the Archaeological Survey of India. It consists of the Roja on the left and a mosque on the right, surrounded by lawns. Situated outside Bijapur's city fortifications, the Roja was built by Ibrahim Adilshah as a would-be tomb for his then-living wife. Building a tomb for a living wife was considered a display of love back then but times have changed; do not try this at home. As fate would have it, Ibrahim passed away before his Begum and became the first occupant of the monument.

Ibrahim Roja

The Ibrahim Roja

The passage down memory lane...

On my way back I paid a visit to the Malik-e-Maidan (meaning 'master of the battlefield' and known in Maharashtra as 'Mulukh Maidan') cannon. 14 ft long and about 5 ft wide (it almost reaches my shoulder!), this 55-ton leviathan was originally used by the Bahmani army against the forces of Vijayanagara at the battle of Talikote. It was brought to Bijapur by 10 elephants and many oxen and men. Its mouth is engraved with a crocodile crushing an elephant in its jaws, representing the Shah's victory over the south Indian Hindu kings.
The fearsome Malik-e-Maidan

Saba-Dome Gigante!

Legs crying out for a breather and hunger starting to rear its head, I returned to my room after satisfying the latter with some jalebi and a plate of delicious roadside chicken.

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