Bijapur Gol Gumbaz Travel Guide scaled

Bijapur Gol Gumbaz: A Travel Guide to Largest Dome Structure of India

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Gol Gumbaz is the resting place of Mohammed Adil Shah, his wives, mistress, daughter, and grandson. It is counted amongst one of the biggest domes in the world and is also the largest dome in India; no wonder that its very name, Gol Gumbaz, stems from ‘Gola Gombadh’ that translates to a circular dome. This architect’s oeuvre is the perfect blend of Dravidian architecture with Islamic influences. Built during the 16th century, the structure took around 20 years to be completed. All its 4 Minars has 7 floors and offer surreal yet captivating scenes to the visitors. Before you head out to visit this majestic structure, here is a complete guide that will make your trip a lot more comfortable and memorable: –

1. History

There is quite a lot of history around the Gol Gumbaz and its construction. The mausoleum – Gol Gumbaz, was designed by Yaqut of Dabul. Nestled in the northern part of Karnataka, the structure is known to mark the grandeur of Adil Shahi. As the seventh ruler of the Adil Shahi empire, Mohammed Adil Shah commenced the construction of the tomb after he became the Sultan in 1626. While the construction of Gol Gumbaz started during his reign, it got disrupted due to the sudden demise of the Sultan. 

2. Architecture

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Gol Ghumat in Bijapur is an architectural marvel. Exhibiting the Indo-Islamic style of architecture, the diameter of the dome measures up to 144 feet which is quite impressive and makes it one of the best places to visit in Bijapur. The dark grey basalt stone gives it a rustic yet elegant look. It also houses one of the biggest chambers in the world that measures 18,000 sq. ft. Owing to the acoustics of the space, even the most hushed tones can be heard perfectly anywhere from the structure. In fact, it is said that one can hear an echo about 12 times across the other side of the dome. Maybe this is the reason it is known as the Whispering Gallery. Coming to the structure of the dome, it has a 144 ft high roof with a 156 ft cube on either side. Beneath this, it has eight arches traversing the two squares and interlocking together at the base of the dome. The Gol Gumbaz also has four octagonal towers at every corner which also includes a staircase. Each of these towers has a gallery on the top floor while the podium sits in the centre hall. The architecture of Gol Gumbaz is truly admirable and owing to such intricacies, it is considered to be the structural triumph of Deccan architecture. Other than the art and architectural features of Gol Gumbaz, the precinct includes a mosque, garden, tavern, and also a museum. There is also a cenotaph gracing the podium in the middle and separating the main grave underneath. At the entrance to the mausoleum, you will be greeted with a piece of meteorite. It is said to have been fallen during the rule of the Sultan and is also believed to protect the structure from lightning.

3. How to Reach

Located in Bijapur, Karnataka, one can reach Gol Gumbaz in around 10 hours from the capital city – Bangalore that is 668 km away.  Here are a few ways to reach Gol Gumbaz:

3.1 Nearest Bus Stand

Bijapur City Bus Stand has around 33 buses that will help you reach Bijapur from Bangalore.

3.2 Nearest Railway Station

Bijapur Railway Station is located at just 4 minutes’ distance from Gol Gumbaz. You can book the Gol Gumbaz Express or Basava Express to reach here.

3.3 Nearest Airport

Belgaum Airport is the nearest airport to Bijapur. You can take a flight from Bangalore to Belgaum and then hire a taxi to cover the 4-hour road journey from Belgaum to Bijapur.

4. Gol Gumbaz Timings

The Gol Gumbaz can be visited between 10 am to 5 pm and remains open throughout the week. You can get more information about Gol Gumbaz, Bijapur by visiting Bijapur’s official website. 

5. Shopping in Bijapur

While you are in Bijapur, do not forget to shop for some local handicrafts and artefacts. You can take home the Lumbini Jewellery that is crafted by the local tribes of the state. You can also get your hands on some sandalwood items. While you are here, make sure to take a look at the authentic Ilkal sarees that are locally woven using cotton warp on the body. All the items are exclusive to this place, so make the most of this opportunity.

6. Fun Facts

There are also some interesting facts about Gol Gumbaz that are bound to amaze you. As mentioned earlier, the dome of Gol Gumbaz is huge. But did you know that it is the second biggest dome in the world after the St. Basilica in Rome? Another Gol Gumbaz fact is that it does not have any pillars or towers to support it. Astonishing, we tell you. Also, the museum nearby showcases some exquisite items like Chinese parchments, carpets, paintings, and much more.

As a big plus, there are a lot of other magnificent monuments in Bijapur besides Gol Gumbaz that you should not miss out on. Be sure that you visit Ibrahim Rauza, The Citadel, Jamia Masjid, and Mithari and Asar Mahals to witness this place in its utmost glory. A Bijapur tour package will work nicely for this. We hope this guide makes your sojourn a lot more memorable!

Bijapur, Heritage Tours

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