Bijapur is known for its medieval monuments, which are a unique form of Islamic architecture. The magnificent Gol Gumbaz is the main attraction of this city. It is the largest dome in India and the second largest in the world. Tourists are attracted to this city by the various monuments built by the Adil Shahi rulers, who ruled Bijapur between 15th and 17th century.
The origin of Bijapur goes back to the early medieval period. The Chalukyan rulers of south India, between the 10th and 11th centuries laid the foundation of Bijapur. At that time, it was called as Vijayapura (the City of Victory). The local Yadavas rulers ruled it for about a century. Ala-ud-din Khilji, the Sultan of Delhi, captured it and made it a part of his empire at the end of the 13th century. Khilji could not hold on to Bijapur for long and it became the part of the Bahamani Empire in 1347. The golden period of Bijapur started with the decline of the Bahamani rulers, when, in 1489, Yusuf Adil Shah, one of the nobles under the Bahamani rulers, laid the foundation of the Adil Shahi dynasty and made Bijapur the capital of his kingdom. The Adil Shahis ruled Bijapur until 1686, when the last great Mughal ruler Aurangzeb defeated them.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to Bijapur is during winters.
How to Reach
BY RAIL -Bijapur does not have an airport of its own. Bijapur railway station is located 2 km east of the city center, beyond the walled city. Few trains pass and stop at Bijapur. However, there are a number of trains to Sholapur (in the state of Maharashtra) and Gadag, which are important railheads, from where one can get trains to Bangalore, Hyderabad and Mumbai.
BY ROAD -The main stand in Bijapur is near the southwestern side of the citadel, near the city center. Bus services to Badami (4 hours), Belgaum (5 hours), Gulbarga (4 hours), Bidar (7 hours), Hubli (4½ hours), and Sholapur (2 hours) are frequent.
Monuments dating back to the reign of the Adil Shahi dynasty are the prized tourist attractions of Bijapur. The entire city amid the fortified walls is full of interesting sights. Here are some of the unmissable ones:
- The imposing Gol Gumbaz or the Round Dome built in 1659, housing the tomb of Mohammad Adil Shah is among the most impressive structures built during the era. Known for one of the largest domes in India and the second largest in the world, entirely unsupported by pillars.
- Archaeological museum, where the relics of the royal dynasty of Bijapur and their rule have been properly preserved.
- The beautiful tomb named Ibrahim Roza was built by Adil Shah II for his queen. Its highly decorative carvings make it one of the existing marvels of Persian Muslim architecture.
- The citadel at the center of the walled city, is a small, fortified area with a moat.
- Palaces, pleasure gardens and public halls.
- Gagan Mahal, the impressive Sky Palace is an architectural marvel.
- The Sat Manzil (seven-storied palace)
- Jala Manzil (water pavilion) and the Bara Kaman (twelve arches).
- Jama Masjid, the mosque built by Ali Adil Shah I is not just a place for prayers but also majestic designs.
- Taj Bawdi, water tank.
- Upli Burj, watch tower offers panoramic views of the city.
- The Mehtar Mahal, a palace built by sweepers.
- Asar Mahal with interesting designs to boast about.
- The Malik-e-Maidan, monarch of the plains cannon, which is one of the largest surviving bell-metal cannons in the world.
Places Around Bijapur
There are a number of places of interest around Bijapur.
- The temple town of Aihole, 129 km from Bijapur, has a number of richly carved temples belonging to the Chalukya rulers, dating back to 6th and 8th century.
- Gulbarga (159 km), known for the famous architectural marvels of the Bahmani Kingdom
- Badami (132 km), historical city of Badami Chalukyas
- Basavana Bagevadi (43 km) is known for its temple and is the birthplace of Saint Basaveshwara.
- Kundalasangama, 67 km from Bijapur, is an important pilgrim center and it is associated with the 12th-century poet and social reformer Saint Basaveshwara.