Gol Gumbaz

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Gol Gumbaz

History

Gol Gumbaz, also known as Gol Gumbad is a mausoleum of Muhammad Adil Shah, who was the Sultan of Bijapur between 1626 and 1656 A.D. It is an important monument of the Indo-Islamic architectural style, known for its dimensions and unique features. The mausoleum includes a mosque, a dharamshala, a Naqqar Khana and a gateway.

This historical and unique monument is located at a distance of 2 km from Bijapur in Karnataka. Adil Shah had started the construction of this dome soon after his ascent to the throne in 1626, to have his mortal remains buried. The building was completed in 1656 soon after his decease. The Gol Gumbaz contains the tombs of Muhammad Adil Shah, his wives, daughters and other family members.

The foundation of the building is set up on bedrock and the structure itself is made of dark grey basalt and plaster. The walls are nearly 3 meters thick and 30.5 meters tall with a dome built at the top of the structure, right in the middle. The cubicle shape of the mausoleum has three blind arches each on all sides, with the middle arches wider than the others and is designed with wooden panels and a small rectangular entrance and has 3 rows of windows installed. There is a biji patthar (meteorite) hanging from the chain above the main entrance on the south side, which is said to have fallen during the reign of Adil Shah as is believed to protect the building from lightening.

The building is incomplete as the sultan died before it could be completed; hence the monument is a plain cube with towers on each corner. The towers surrounding the building are divided into seven floors with a projecting cornice and arches providing the distinctions between floors and on top of each tower is a dome with a ring of carved leaves at its base. The cornice and walls of the cube are the best and the most unique feature of the Gol Gumbaz. The cornice rests on highly carved stone corbels that project about ten feet from the wall. It supports the parapet which has a row of arched openings and leaf-shaped merlons. In the centre of the dome is the tomb of Adil Shah and his younger wife and his favourite daughter and a grandson. The actual tombs are in the basement, which can be accessed by a staircase in the western entrance.

The most interesting feature of the Gol Gumbaz is the gallery around the base of the dome which can be accessed through any of the four towers at the corners of the building. This gallery is known as the whispering gallery because even the lightest sound or a whisper can be carried forward and heard by someone standing at the farthest distance from you in the dome.

Best time to visit

Bijapur has a moderate climate with very hot summers which could make sightseeing uncomfortable. The best time to visit the Gol Gumbaz is between September and April, as the weather is pleasant and comfortable.

Trivia

The amazing whispering gallery distinctly echoes the faintest whisper 11 times!

The Gol Gumbaz is the second largest dome in the world and the largest single chamber structures of the world followed by the Pantheon of Rome.

“Gol Gumbaz” literally translates to “Round Dome”

Timing

The timings to visit the Gol Gumbaz are between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm. The site is closed on Fridays.




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