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Old 23rd January 2014, 11:32   #1
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Default Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D

If a 700 km road trip invite is plonked in front of you, can any true bhpian resist?

I didn't.... especially, as there was a magnificent monument waiting at the destination, which was definitely worth a visit.

So, off we went : to Bijapur.

Route taken was -

Pune - Solapur - Bijapur - Athani - Sangli - Karad - Pune.

The beginning was a real pain - even though there were several posts warning of the horrible conditions, went ahead by the same route..

Started off at 4.30 PM and hoping to making it to Pandharpur in 5 hours. It was not to be - after crossing the Hadapsar flyover, thanks to the mess at Manjri / Undri, it took 55 minutes to cross the outskirts. (We would have been better off taking the Saswad - Uruli Kanchan, atleast we would have been travelling instead of crawling).

However, once we crossed this section and reached Loni Kalbhor, things improved. Tanked up and wanted to cover the lost ground.

The Pune - Solapur road appears to be in the final stages of completion and was an excellent drive. Except for a couple of unfinished stretches (land acquisition issues?).

Didn't want to push to the limit as it was dark - and decided to take the dinner at Bhigwan, and had this -
Attached Thumbnails
Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5317.jpg  

Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5318.jpg  

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Old 23rd January 2014, 13:03   #2
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Default Re: Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D

Isn't it strange that I always find the Bajri (Millet?) Bakri & accompaniments much better when we hit the road and travel in the hinterlands of Maharashtra?

I have been converted into a foodie yearning for this with 'sheppu' baji whenever I am on the road....

Anyway, after a very satisfying (and cheap, I may add) dinner, we resumed our journey.

Indapur and Sukrawarpeth were crossed swiftly. It was about 10 PM when had to decide whether to go to Pandharpur or not - decided against as we had no idea whether the temple will be open or not. (Any help on the timings, anyone?)

Solapur was made in good time, after about 11 PM. By and large the roads were excellent and but for the cane carrying (assortment of) vehicles, there wasn't much of problem in the drive.

A couple of quick redirects by friendly Solapurkars pointed us to the correct route onward to Bijapur.

Solapur to Bijapur is a two laned road. Not maintained well - but there weren't many potholes or craters.

Kept to a sane limit - thanks to the onslaught of oncoming truckers.

The new trucks (esp. M&M Navistar) has four headlights - two on top of each other on either side. All the four lights, beaming on high ( - vehicle as well as the driver?), makes life miserable on the road. I agree that the bigger vehicles need better illumination - but it also means others like us should avoid driving in the night.

Reached Bijapur by about 12.30 AM and the hotel room was ready. Hit the sack. 350~ kms in 8 hours minus 45 minutes for dinner and 55 minutes traffic jam.

Got up after 7 AM and had a quick breakfast.

Decided to walk down as the object of desire was reported to be in the close vicinity.

Even after five minutes of brisk walk nothing in sight.

Then the first glimpse.

Why oh why should we be like this - the 'public urinal' bang on the wall of the monument (Pic 1)?

Before getting in, just see how it looked from inside turned around, which was like this (Unity in diversity, I guess) -
Attached Thumbnails
Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5320.jpg  

Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5325.jpg  

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Old 23rd January 2014, 15:29   #3
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Default Re: Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D

There it was!

A sight to behold, awe, enrapture ...... no adjective will describe it accurately.

It is H U G E (period).

Unbelievable.

The visual impact has to be experienced - it can't be described.

I felt puny and my camera (poor thing must have been rendered sightless at the sheer size ) powerless (It is a Canon Powershot )

These photographs do not do justice at all - but still....
Attached Thumbnails
Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5322.jpg  

Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5324.jpg  

Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5329.jpg  

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Old 23rd January 2014, 17:11   #4
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Default Re: Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D

Since the monument was a visual feast because of its huge size, tried to set the camera to its widest settings.

A few sample snaps of the nearby structures......

Preservation seems to be taken lightly - thankfully the area was (almost) clean of litter and awful spitting stains were not (apparently) visible.
Attached Thumbnails
Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5327.jpg  

Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5328.jpg  

Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5330.jpg  

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Old 24th January 2014, 10:52   #5
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Default Re: Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D

Actually, the initial appearance is deceptive.

The actual Gumbaz stands separately behind the structure seen in the three pictures in post #3, even though it appears to the contrary.

The building in the front is actually an independent structure, which itself is huge.

As you draw closer the dome of the Gumbaz disappears from view so that you can wonder upon the magnificence of the imposing gateway (?) that awaits your entry....
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Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5331.jpg  

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Old 24th January 2014, 11:09   #6
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Default Re: Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. May be an SLR could have conveyed a lakh of words?

I mean, in case I haven't made any sense in post #5, this picture will convey what I was thinking when I blabbered about it.....
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Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5332.jpg  

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Old 24th January 2014, 11:18   #7
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Default Re: Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D

And, this is how it looks from the back.
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Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5385.jpg  

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Old 24th January 2014, 12:07   #8
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Default Re: Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D

This building - forecourt (?) - is magnificently constructed. Not only is it imposing, but also conveys a solidity which only old buildings exude.

There are signs of age - also indicating lack of maintenance? Sad.

Is this because of the huge canons? Massive firepower.....

Some snaps of the details.
Attached Thumbnails
Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5334.jpg  

Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5335.jpg  

Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5338.jpg  

Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5333.jpg  

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Old 24th January 2014, 12:49   #9
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Default Re: Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D

If you have been with me so far, you would be wondering why am I ranting / raving ...

Look at this specimen -

Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5387.jpg


This piece of work is more than 350 years old.

It must have been made by people without the aid of -

Electricity...

High tech instruments...

Computers Aided Design / Drawings...

And have attained the level of perfection using their sight and skills. Any mistake, every thing has to be redone... (I have cropped and compressed the original picture - even then, if you check it out separately and zoom it, you will understand the effort that must have been put in by the carver)

In fact, just imagine how many people must have been put to work to create this monument and who must have coordinated all of them?

An answer to this was available, which I will share at the end of the thread.
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Old 24th January 2014, 16:48   #10
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Default Re: Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D

Before we enter the Gumbaz, there is this monument on one side....

Due to paucity of time, could not take a closer look.

Anyone who can give a brief history or background on this?
Attached Thumbnails
Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5337.jpg  

Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5341.jpg  

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Old 24th January 2014, 17:11   #11
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Default Re: Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D

The brief facts of which I am aware -

The base which supports the rounded dome is square shaped - and there are no pillars inside to support it. (Can you recollect the last time you had visited a pillarless hall?)

It is supposed to be one of the biggest domes (which is the biggest, any idea?) in the world, covering an area of 18000 sq.ft. Just for comparison my two bedroom flat is about 1000 sq.ft.

It is more than 350 years old.

Of course, the whispering (echoing) gallery will test the limits of any acoustic engineer!

And, like the Taj, the actual graves of Adil Shah and his family is stated to be beneath the tombstones.....

So this monumental edifice is, in fact, the final resting place of a man who ruled this part of country about four centuries ago.

And this is how enter through the courtyard to reach the actual monument....
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Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5340.jpg  

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Old 25th January 2014, 10:43   #12
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Default Re: Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D

From the outside it looks like this (the entrance is at the extreme right of the picture) -

Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5336.jpg

Once you enter you are stunned by the sight of -

Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5343.jpg


The massive columns of minarets (stairs - to climb, so as to reach the top and enter into the dome) are like this -

Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5342.jpg

Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5345.jpg


If you can tilt your head back, you will be able to see it like this-
Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5346.jpg

Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5347.jpg
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Old 25th January 2014, 11:52   #13
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Default Re: Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D

Writing this thread and editing (compressing, rather) the pictures and uploading them into the thread is tiring - there is a lot of work to do. The traffic jam at Manjri seems pleasant now.....

Anyway, back to the Gumbaz -

The intricate carving, the beautiful stone carving, the symmetry are all stunning. Not only were there craftsmen skilled, but the whole thing must have been managed by somebody who really had an eye for detail and perfection.

As usual, these pictures are more than the proverbial 1000 words!
Attached Thumbnails
Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5344.jpg  

Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5355.jpg  

Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5357.jpg  

Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5379.jpg  

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Old 25th January 2014, 16:33   #14
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Default Re: Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D

Spot the green in the last pic...

Any idea what it is?

It is a display of the 'birds & bees' do!

Looks like the parrots have found a good home....
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Old 26th January 2014, 12:33   #15
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Default Re: Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D

Last week, this time, I was standing in front of the monument and wondering at the man made marvel.

I find that I have clicked so many pictures, sorting & compressing them to upload in itself is a huge task

Let me run through quickly and complete the exteriors first - it is clear that conservation efforts are falling short, going by the look of the damages to the facade....
Attached Thumbnails
Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5356.jpg  

Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5358.jpg  

Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5359.jpg  

Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5360.jpg  

Gumbazzed @ Bijapur :D-img_5361.jpg  

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