A historic city epitomizing the Deccan’s Islamic era, dusty Vijapura (renamed in 2014 but still widely called Bijapur) tells a glorious tale dating back some 600 years. Blessed with a heap of mosques, mausoleums, palaces and fortifications, it was the capital of the Adil Shahi kings from 1489 to 1686, and one of the five splinter states formed after the Islamic Bahmani kingdom broke up in 1482. Despite its strong Islamic character, Vijapura is also a centre for the Lingayat brand of Shaivism, which emphasizes a single personalised god. The Lingayat Siddeshwara Festival runs for eight days.
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The beautiful Ibrahim Rouza is among the most elegant and finely proportioned Islamic monuments in India. Its 24m-high minarets are said to have inspired those of the Taj Mahal, and its tale is similarly poignant: built by emperor Ibrahim Adil Shah II (r 1580–1627) as a future mausoleum for his queen, Taj Sultana. Ironically, he died before her, and was thus the first person to be rested there. Also interred here with Ibrahim Adil Shah are his queen, children and mother.
Set in tranquil gardens, the magnificent Golgumbaz mausoleum houses the tombs of emperor Mohammed Adil Shah (r 1627–56), his two wives, his mistress (Rambha), one of his daughters and a grandson. Octagonal seven-storey towers stand at each corner of the monument, which is capped by an enormous dome. Climb the steep, narrow stairs up one of the towers to reach the ‘whispering gallery’ within the dome, which has terrific acoustics.
Surrounded by fortified walls and a wide moat, the citadel once contained the palaces, pleasure gardens and durbar (royal court) of the Adil Shahi kings. Now mainly in ruins, the most impressive of the remaining fragments are the colossal arches of the Gagan Mahal, built by Ali Adil Shah I around 1561. The gates here are locked, but someone will be on hand to let you in. The ruins of Mohammed Adil Shah’s seven-storey palace, the Sat Manzil, are nearby. Across the road stands the delicate Jala Manzil, once a water pavilion surrounded by secluded courts and gardens. On the other side of Station Rd (MG Rd) are the graceful arches of Bara Kaman, the ruined mausoleum of Ali Roza.
Constructed by Ali Adil Shah I (r 1557–80), the finely proportioned Jama Masjid has graceful arches, a fine dome and a vast inner courtyard with room for more than 2200 worshippers. Women should make sure to cover their heads and not wear revealing clothing.
The most impressive of the remaining fragments in the Citadel is the colossal archway of Gagan Mahal, built by Ali Adil Shah I around 1561 as a dual-purpose royal residency and durbar hall. The gates here are locked, but someone will be on hand to let you in.
A well-presented archaeological museum set in the Golgumbaz lawns. Skip the ground floor and head upstairs; there you’ll find an excellent collection of artefacts, such as oriental carpets, china crockery, weapons, armoury and scrolls.
Built by Mohammed Adil Shah in about 1646 to serve as a Hall of Justice, the graceful Asar Mahal once housed two hairs from Prophet Mohammed’s beard. The rooms on the upper storey are decorated with frescoes and a square tank graces the front. It’s out of bounds for women.
Perched upon a platform is this beast of a cannon – over 4m long, almost 1.5m in diameter and estimated to weigh 55 tonnes. Cast in 1549, it was supposedly brought to Vijapura as a war trophy thanks to the efforts of 10 elephants, 400 oxen and hundreds of men!
The Sabala Organization is a nongovernmental organization based in Bijapur, India. Mallamma Yalawar founded the organization in 1986. Sabala, which has strong grass-roots presence and deep insight into women's concerns, was set up by a team of like-minded people drawn from various walks of life all having a common objective of women empowerment. Sabala has been contributing to inspiring initiatives based around the empowerment of women. One of the key objectives of the program is to empower women in all phases of life through skills training, thus building self-confidence. Sabala provides opportunities for the women to learn skills and translate these skills into productive activities that generate income. Sabala has been involved in the revival of the traditional Lambani and Kasuti crafts. They also have worked to bring structural changes through organizing and educating the community. Currently, the craft based livelihood initiative is a full-fledged business enterprise, which has sustained in the market for more than 25 years without any conventional funding support. The Lambani tribe is today recognized as an artisan group due to our efforts. The program has thus shifted the community’s social identity and preserved its cultural identity. Through producing high quality products, Sabala aims to promote sustainable livelihoods among ultra poor communities. We do so by empowering women, educating communities, and providing economic opportunities. Sabala is also a member of the World Fair Trade Organization- Asia and is recognized for its fair trade standards. The products created at Sabala are traditionally hand made, high quality, and take heed to social responsibility.
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English speaking local guide
Entrance tickets to monuments mentioned in the itinerary
Private sightseeing tour as per itinerary
Transport is not included in cost and can be arranged if required on additional price
Expenses of personal nature such as food and shopping
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