Dome Hopping In Bijapur – Tourist Places

Upri Burz at Bijapur with the canons on display
Upri Burz, Bijapur

Bijapur Tourist Places

From the top of Gol Gumbaz, we could see lots of domes jutting out all over the city. The security guide pointed out the main ones and kind of created a mental map of the city for us and we knew the general direction in which we need to go around for Bijapur Sightseeing.

Jama Masjid

Jama Masjid at Bijapur
Jama Masjid, Bijapur

Bara Kaman, Bijapur

Dome Hopping in Bijapur finds amazing Bara Kaman Heritage monument
Bara Kaman, Bijapur

We kept the Ibrahim Rauza for the next day, as we wanted to shoot it in the morning light. And decided to explore the rest of the city in the afternoon dome hopping. We started with Jama Masjid, that had the biggest dome after Gol Gumbaz and. We reached there to discover just outside it two more domes belonging to dargahs of two Sufi saints.  Similarly, at Jod Gumbaz or the twin domes – we found a third one standing right next to them. Most of these domes stand on top of tombs of some important people.

Most interesting of these tombs and domes is Bara Kaman – an incomplete structure of the tomb of one of the Adil Shah sultans. Who wanted to build a structure similar to Gol Gumbaz but 12 storeys high Gol Gumbaz is only 7 storeys high. It could not be completed as it collapsed at some point in time during the construction. Leaving the bare arches and the graves with the sky as the roof on top of them. Unfinished tall and narrow arches with birds chirping in them create an interesting interplay against the sky.


Largest Cannon of those days at Bijapur
Largest Cannon at Malik-e-maidan, Bijapur

Malik-e-Maidan has a war piece on display  – the largest medieval cannon in the world. Covered in a green Patina, this metal wonder is lying proudly on top of a bastion of the fort wall. You can go around it and see the elephants carved on its sides and go on top to see the top view that reveals the lion carved on top of its mouth. At another bastion lies the place that used to hold this cannon with a provision to rotate it. This was a war trophy and sits on a platform specially built to showcase it. Imagine once this was auctioned for mere Rs 150/-.

Opposite this Malik-e-maidan lies another interesting structure – an open bastion with a staircase going around it called Upri Burz. This one also showcases two very long cannon’s and gives a panoramic view of the city all around it.

Upri Burz

Landscape view of Upri Burz at Bijapur
Upri Burz Landscape view, Bijapur

Mehtar Mahal

Jharokha at Mehtar Mahal heritage site, Bijapur
Jharokha at Mehtar Mahal, Bijapur

An unusual piece of architecture we saw at a place called Mehtar Mahal – which is an ornate entrance to what is a rather plain looking mosque. Our auto guy called it Bhangi Mahal – I am sure there is a genesis to this name but no one could explain that to me. The young men lounging inside said it is called Behtar or Behtareen Mahal. What is exclusive about this place is the ornate ceiling at the entrance, which looked like it belonged to a temple as it is flat and intricately carved.  There are some beautifully carved brackets with lions and horses on them. There is a jharokha like a window on top with three openings as if for women to look out.

Another similar but freestanding structure we discovered near bus stand that it seemed it was built to stand in the middle of a pond.

Panch Pandu

Panch Pandu heritage monument at Bijapur
Panch Pandu, Bijapur

A fort gate stands not too far from the city bus stand. It has bastions flanked by pillars carved in very Chalukyan style. Not far from it is Panch Pandu as it is known in the city– though the board outside said Karim Uddin mosque. It is definitely a temple that was converted into a mosque at some point in time. There was scaffolding all over the place, but we could still admire some of the stonework and a few rotating pillars that have survived the ravages of time while dome hopping.

Bijapur Fort

Bijapur Fort heritage monument entrance
Bijapur Fort entrance

At various places, we stopped by to admire an arch or a gateway. The two water tanks – Taj Baodi and Chand Baodi were utter disappointments – filled with filth. Asar Mahal, Gagan Mahal and many other big and small monuments are sprinkled across the city. If you take the bus stand as the center and just walk around randomly you will end up covering most of the dome hopping exercise.

Carved Stone pillars outside Bijapur fort
Pillars outside Bijapur Fort

The fort, city walls and remains of many old structures peacefully co-exist with the modern day Bijapur or Vijayapura. Some of them act as public places for the citizens, some attractions for the visitors, some playgrounds for children but most importantly dome hopping finds that they are living, while you can see them moving towards their last days at a steady pace.

Dome-hopping most monuments in Bijapur require you to climb up and down on uneven steep steps and it needs quite a bit of energy – Just be aware of that. Enjoy your dome hopping at Bijapur aka Vijayapura.

Of course, Gol Gumbaz & Ibrahim Rauza are the Tourist attractions in Bijapur. I have written about them and here are the links, do read.

Recommend you to read following Places to visit in Karnataka.

  1. Dandeli – By The River Kali.
  2. Ancient Chalukyan Temples of Hubli.
  3. Badami, Aihole & Pattadakal – A Visual Treat.
  4. Chitradurga, Chandravalli & Jogimatti.
  5. Hampi Travelogue UNESCO World Heritage Site.



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