Saturday, November 13, 2010

Gol Gumbaz

Gol Gumbaz is the mausoleum of Mohammed Adil Shah (1627-55) of the Adil Shahi dynasty of Indian sultans, who ruled the Sultanate of Bijapur from 1490 to 1686. The structure consists of a massive square chamber measuring nearly 50 m (160 ft) on each side and covered by a huge dome 43.3 m (142 ft) in diameter making it among one of the largest dome structures in world. It appears to have been the desire of the ruler to build a mausoleum that was comparable to that of his father, Ibrahim Adil Shah II. Since his father's mausoleum, known as the Ibrahim Rauza, was exceptional in composition and decoration, the only means of avoiding direct competition was through size.

The acoustics of the enclosed place make it a whispering gallery where even the smallest sound is heard across the other side of the Gumbaz. At the periphery of the dome is a circular balcony where visitors can witness the astounding whispering gallery. Any whisper, clap or sound gets echoed around 7 times. It is also said that the Sultan, Ibrahim Adil Shah and his Queen used to converse in the same manner. During his time, the musicians used to sing, seated in the whispering gallery so that the sound produced could reach every corner of the hall.

This mausoleum is one of the Bijapur's main architectural treasures. Despite its incomplete condition, the sheer majesty of the structure renders visitors awestruck. The towers with their hemispherical domes, the carved petal borders and parapet give the building an exoticism that blends with monumentality and prevents this building from becoming just another building emulating classic Mughal architecture. A building that inspires admiration for its boldness would most definitely have been a spectacular experiment in completion. 

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