The next destination on this heritage tour was Bijapur, which is way up in the map of Karnataka. The only reason why we took such a big detour from Badami to Hampi, was to visit Gol Gumbaz and nothing else. Even though there are other historical sites in this land of the Deccan Sultanates, according to the reviews provided by fellow travellers, they are far from impressive when in comparison with this colossal monument. The only other place we had shortlisted to visit was the Ibrahim Rouza.
We took NH 218, which passes through Bagalkot town and the backwaters of Almatti dam. The bridge over the backwater of Almatti dam was hugh and is close to 3kms long. One gets a good view of the backwaters from this bridge. We reached Bijapur at noon and hence decided to have our lunch, before we go exploring around. Got hold of a very good Udupi restaurant near the railway station. One gets an idea of how massive this structure is, when you get a glimpse of this structure completely dominating the skyline of Bijapur, even from the outskirts of the city. Pretty much like how the Eiffel tower dominates the skyline of Paris.
Coming to some of the interesting facts about this structure. The dome is the second largest free standing dome in the world after St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City. The entire structure comprises of just one hall, and is considered to be one of the single biggest chamber spaces in the world. The height of this structure is about 7 storey's high, but with each storey to be around 1.5 times of today's standards, it can be considered to be about 11-12 storey's high. Imagine a giant cube with length and breadth of 11 storeys, but having just a single room enclosed within it. Hence in short it is just as massive from within, as it is from the outside. The entire structure has a simple, yet a very intimidating design.
After spending close to 2 hrs at this place we left for Ibrahim Rouza complex. This structure is close to 4 kms away from the Gol Gumbaz and this again is a mausoleum, dedicated to Ibrahim Adil Shah, who was the father of Mohammed Adil Shah. Even though this structure is not as massive as Gol Gumbaz, the main difference in here is the attention to detail given in designing this structure. It has some beautiful minarets and according to legend this structure acted as an inspiration to THE TAJ MAHAL which was built 30 years later in year 1656. This structure has a building which consists the tomb of the king and facing it is the mosque. There are some intricate wooden carvings, probably verses from the Kuran adorning the windows of the the structure. We spent close to half an hour at this place and then it was time to move towards Hospet. The route between Bijapur and Hospet is a tolled 4 lane highway and hence driving 200km between these destinations was a relaxing experience.