Vijayapura (formerly called Bijapur), is located in the northern part of Karnataka; surrounded by Solapur on the North and Sangali on the North-West (both Maharashtra), Belagavi on the West, Bagalkote on the South, Kalaburgi on the East and by Raichur on the South-East.
Vijayapur was a gateway to the Deccan Sultanate which extended from North Karnataka to central India. Located in the historically rich Deccan, the city was established in the 10th-11th centuries by the Kalyani Chalukyas and was ruled by various dynasties including the Adil Shahi kings who have had a major influence on the region. It is dotted with mosques, mausoleums, palaces, fortifications, watchtowers, and strong gateways, with the massive Gol Gumbaz dominating the landscape for miles around. Vijayapura itself has over 50 mosques, more than 20 tombs and a number of palaces.
Under the Adil Shahi kings, Vijayapura became a culturally rich kingdom and attracted scholars, musicians, artists etc from far and wide including Persia and Arabia. The Mushaira or poetic symposium is believed to have originated here, and later travelled to North India
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When to go: September to February is the best time. Can be visited all year round.
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Hotel Mayura Adil Shahi
Station Road, Vijayapura
- Bijapura Gol Gumbaz: Gaze in wonder at this magnificent 210 ft high mausoleum of Mohammed Adil Shah, built with features like seven storied octagonal spires at the four corners and heavy bracketed cornice below the parapet. It is home to the world’s second largest dome which is unsupported by pillars (slightly smaller than St Peter’s Basilica in Rome). Bijapura Gol Gumbaz also has the whispering gallery (an architectural and acoustic wonder) – called so because even the finest whisper or sound made in it is echoed over 10 times.
- Ibrahim Roza: Ibrahim Roza Said to be the inspiration for the Taj Mahal in Agra, this palatial mosque and tomb in Vijayapura is rated as on one of the most beautifully proportioned Islamic monuments in India. This mausoleum has two buildings standing on a common platform, supported by arches and enclosed by gardens on three sides.
- Bara Kaman: The incomplete mausoleum of Ali Adil Shah II with its 12 graceful arches. Bara Kaman was the royal tomb of Ali Adil Shah II whose construction probably begun on his accession to the throne and was intended to rival Gol Gumbaz, the tomb of his father. Though, the building was conceived on a magnificent scale but it was destined never to be completed.
- Gagan Mahal: Built by Ali Adil Shah I around 1561 to serve the dual purpose of a royal residence and a durbar hall. The building though roofless is a popular spot as it is set in large well landscaped public garden. The main indo-islamic architectural feature of this palace is its great central arch which has a span of 60 feet 9 inches.
- Malik-e-Maidan: Malik-e-Maidan (meaning Monarch of the Plain) in simple terms is a 55-ton cannon perched atop a platform and was one of the largest medieval cannons in India. The head of the cannon is fashioned into the shape of a lion devouring an elephant. The surface is adorned with inscriptions in Arabic and Persian. Legend has it that if you touch it and make a wish, it comes true.
- Mehtar Mahal: An ornamental gateway, leading to a mosque and garden, it is a small, beautiful monument built by Ibrahim Adil Shah.
- Upli Buruj:It’s a 80 ft high, 16th century watchtower built on high ground, from which you get a good view of the city and plains.
- Taj Bawdi: A water tank that commemorates Taj Sultana, Ibrahim Adil Shah II’s wife. It is a large 223 feet square well, 52 feet deep. Inside the archway, a broad landing, juts out, from which flights of stone steps lead down to the water’s edge.
- Talikote: Site of a major historic battle that resulted in the ruin of Vijayanagara army. Talikote has multiple temples and mosques including a Shiva temple.
- Halasangi: Has remains of an old fort from the Adil Shahi era.
- Almatti Dam (60 km): The Almatti Dam is a hydroelectric project on the Krishna River and is located on the edge of Vijayapura and Bagalkote districts. Though the water is diverted for irrigation projects. Almatti dam is a picnic spot with a rock garden, Mughal garden, Japanese Garden & lake with boating facility and musical fountain.
- Vijayapura Archeological Museum: Housed in Nagar Khana opposite Gol Gumbaz, the museum preserves and exhibits antiquities of Vijayapura and nearby areas.
- Jamia Masjid, Vijayapura: Graceful arches, picturesque aisles, beautiful halls and a large crowning onion dome are the features of one of the prominent examples of Adil Shahi indo-islamic architecture - the Jamia Masjid. Even though magnificent, the structure is incomplete, as it lacks the two minarets. The Central mihrab (an arched recess in the interior wall of a mosque) on the western wall, is covered with lines from the Holy Quran etched in exquisitely gilded calligraphy.
- Shivagiri Temple: The temple houses a 85-foot (26 m) tall statue of Lord Shiva and is gradually developing as a pilgrimage place. The statue is around 1,500 tons in weight and considered as the second biggest statue of Lord Shiva in the country. A small idol of Shivalinga is installed beneath the big statue.
- Toravi: Toravi village, 10 kms from Vijayapura, is known for Shri Laxmi Narasimha temple.
- Sahasraphani Parshwanatha Basadi: This Jain temple, situated on the outskirts of Vijayapura has a unique idol of Lord Parshwanath. The beautifully sculptured idol of black stone, is believed to be about 1500 years old and is adorned by a 1008 headed snake, each of which are interconnected. So, when the ritual anointing with milk is done on 1 head, it travels through all the heads, before it anoints the whole idol. This special ritual is done every new moon day (Amavasya) and every full moon day (Poornima).
- Yelagur: Known for Hanumantha temple with 16 square sculptured pillars.
- TIkota: Home to Dargahs of Malik Sandal, Haji Mastansab and Badkhalsa
- Sindgi: Taluk headquarters and known for Sharanabasaveshwar temple, Sangameshvara temple and smaller shrines of Banashankari, Narasimha and Bowramma.
- Salotgi: Had an educational institute during the 10th century, now home to multiple temples including Shivyog Ishvara, Yellamma temple and Hanumantha temple.
- Muddebihal: Home to Shiva and Hanuman temples, shrines of Dattatreya, Panduranga, Durgadevi, Mallayya, Marulasidheshwara and Banashankari. Muddebihal also has an old fort ruins.
- Ingaleshwar: Large village 9 kms north east of Bagewadi, famous for eight old temples, including two cave temples. Siddeshvara and Akka Nagamma temples are the cave temples located on a hill. Someshwara is the largest temple in town with 36 beautifully carved Kalyana Chalukya era pillars. Kalmeshwara is the other major temple.
- Indi: Home to Adinatha Digambara Basadi, Shantheshwara temple. Several Chalukya era sculptures were also found in Indi.
- Inchageri: A popular pilgrimage center with several big granite built temples.
- Hippargi: Home to Rashtrakuta era Kalmeshwara temple. Veerabhadra temple, Mailara temple are other major temples. Annual fair held in October is very popular.
- Agarkhed: Home to Shankaralinga and Bhairav Siddeshwara temples
- Almel: Home to Ramalinga temple, Hanuman temple and Bhavani shrine.
- Basavana Bagewadi: Basavana Bagewadi (42 km) Basavana Bagewadi located 42 km south east of Vijayapura. Bagewadi was the birth place of Basaveshwara, the 12th century religious and social reformer and prime minister of the Kalyani Chalukya kingdom. The temple has the shrines of Basaveshwara (Nandi) Sangameshwara, Mallikarjuna and Ganapathi.
- Royal Tombs: Vijayapura has several royal resting places such as Afzal Khan’s wives tombs, Afzal Khan’s Cenotaph, Ain Ul Mulk’s Tomb and mosque, Ali Adil Shah 1st’s tomb, Ali Adil Shah 2nd ‘s tomb and Ali Shahi Pir’s tomb and mosque.