Sunday, November 28, 2021

Bijapur - Gol Gumbaz

Gol Gumbaz must be visited at 6-615 am. If you can get your hands on Ramesh, a certified and qualified guide and one of the oldest guides out there. You submit to him and he will show you what the Gol Gumbaz is about. For starters it is the mausoleum of Mohammed Adil Shah, was designed by the famed architect Mallik Sandal. It was constructed between 1626-1656 and looks like nothing on earth will shake it. It looms over the town. 

Here are some pictures.

Dawn from the parking place

More dawn

As we entered the parking lot, me and Tanhai (I think I better introduce my partner on this artist date, my solitude), this superb dawn showed up. We realised that the Gol Gumbaz area is a bit like KBR here, a well known walking spot with lots of well maintained paths around it. Lots of people huffing and puffing. But there was no one at the ticket counter and we waited until a man with namam came over and handed over the ticket. While this was going on a dignified and unobtrusive man came and introduced himself as Ramesh and he could guide us for Rs. 400. Tanhai had no problem so off we went.

From the front - sun setting

Sun setting

Sun set
What you see is not what you always get as you can see from the pictures above. Ramesh explained that the first sight of GolGumbaz is misleading - the dome belongs to the Gol Gumbaz while the structure before it is a different building. Of course he said that as we go closer the gumbaz dips, like the sun in the west. So it did. Me and Tanhai nodded in appreciation.

Gol Gumbaz - could not capture it in my phone

Ramesh was not happy with me dilly dallying around and insisted that it was most important that we head straight to the Gol Gumbaz without further delay and before it becomes a madhouse. though i rebelled a bit I found that Tanhai seemed to favour Ramesh so I tagged along. We had to leave our footwear outside with a cynical looking old man and his dog - one of them adopted the other. And then Ramesh took us into the mausoleum. What a magnificent structure!
Mosque beside the Gol Gumbaz 
The four pillars around the Gol Gumbaz house staircases. As in Golconda where it is almost impossible to find the entrance to go to the top, so are these entrances. You almost slide into them and then the steep climb up seven stories begins. Tanhai said that she might not have climbed all these stairs by herself and might have been content to gaze at the tombs below but was glad she came along. An artist date is an artist date after all. I huffed and puffed a bit and Ramesh egged me on, worried that others might get there too.
The seven storeys

The landing after each storey
We climbed the stairs and stopped at the landings from where we have spectacular views.
Once we reached the top Ramesh quickly hustled me and Tanhai into the dome and it was awe inspiring to see the structure without any support form pillars. The design of petals that adorns the dome has a few open petals to let in light and air as is evident in the pic below. Ramesh walked across after he found out my name and then began an exhibition of some of the greatest acoustic effects I have ever witnessed. He would whisper from across the dome, some 75 metres away 'Hari sir...I am scratching the bottle' and I could hear him so clearly behind my ear. He dropped a coin, sang a song, whispered sweet nothings and it was beautiful and spell binding. He said the Sultan and his wives would be seated opposite to one another and provision was made that what the Sultan whispered to one, could not be heard by another. (Maybe he whispered the same things to all of them, a common trick I used in my hey day).
The dome inside
The parapet wall inside the dome is very small and I did not dare to step closer as Ramesh warned me saying that some selfie takers had descended rather quickly from the top and I dd not want to meet my maker or the hard basalt below and stayed away. It's a bit risky. But the acoustics was simply the best. I'll try and locate the video file i have of that. By now some young people had found their way up and they did what they were trained to do when you see a quiet and silent place - clap, whistle and make 'Woo' sounds. We left them and headed out where Ramesh took a couple of pictures of me and that was it. He bid good bye, leaving me and Tanhai alone. Tanhai wandered off to the turrets while I gazed at the town.

The building in front - dwarfed

The City

If there is one thing you need to see - it's this Gol Gumbaz and then the Ibrahim Rauza. Bijapur is well worth the trip for anyone who's within 8 hours of it. I am so glad I made the trip. Headed back, some breakfast, music in the car and off I am with Bryan dams singing 'Run to you'. The weather's lovely and I am good for a nice, chilled out road trip to Pune now - about 350 kms. Maybe I have time to see something else on the way.

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