Thursday, August 26, 2010

Gol Gumbaz, Bijapur

Built in 1659, the Gol Gumbaz is the mausoleum of Mohammed Adil Shah of the Adil Shahi dynasty who ruled the Sultanate of Bijapur (State: Karnataka). (Click on the images for bigger picture)

This is a massive structure with a square chamber measuring nearly 50 m on each side and is covered by a huge dome 43.3 m in diameter and attains the height of 27.4 m from a circular platform. There are four octagonal towers one in each corner of the chamber. Each tower consists of seven storeys and the upper floor of each opens on to a round gallery which surrounds the dome. If I remember correctly there are 150 steps to climb. In the center of the chamber are the tombs of Muhammad Adil Shah II and his relations.

Apart from his sheer size another most interesting aspect of the enclosed place is acoustics. At the top inside the dome it is 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 any whisper, clap or sound gets echoed around 7 times. Anything whispered from one corner of the gallery can be heard clearly on the diagonally opposite side.

This Dome is the second largest one in the world which is unsupported by any pillars.

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