Bijapur: The City of 5 Rivers
This is our favourite duration to travel. We are travelling on the same dates for the last 3 years in the mid of August. Last 2 times we travelled to the Ajanta Ellora caves near Aurangabad, and a bike ride to Gokarna, and Murudeshwara. This time we decided to visit Vijaypura/Bijapur followed by Badami. Initially, we were planning to do a bike trip but then decided to opt for the car. There are 3 ways to reach Vijaypura or Bijapur from Pune but we decided to explore a new way this time as we had to follow Bangalore-Kolhapur-Pune highway while returning. We started at 4 in the morning and followed Pune –Solapur –Vijaypura. Roads were really nice till Solapur after that we had to leave the national highway. I would suggest having breakfast before you cross Solapur, after that there are fewer places to get good food. After a long wait, finally, we stopped by a decent place to have breakfast as we crossed Karnataka border.
Entrance for the Bijapur is via Solapur highway can give you animus feel later as we proceeded towards hotel was little better. Bijapur is a small city so we did not have much hope as well. By noon we reached the hotel. Bijapur is well known for the great monuments of historical importance built during the Adil Shah dynasty. It is well connected by rail and road.
After doing some rest, we moved out to explore the city. Before we could even get down from the car, we were surrounded by lots of horse-drawn vehicles (Tanga) owners. While talking to them we realize that it’s not a good idea to commute from one place to other through a car and later it became true as well. So we hired a “Tanga” with the charges of 150 per person. We parked our car in Golgumbaj parking. He took us around the places to see in Bijapur. The streets he took us into were scanty and dirty. We thanked God for giving us the wisdom to park the car and hire the Tanga. It was indeed a fun ride and uncle was really knowledgeable so he doubled up as a guide as well. The horse cart owner was pretty old and he told us details of every place and some history of Adil Shah “Sultan of Bijapur” his wife Chand Bibi and his mistress Rambha. Rambha was a great dancer too.
Our first stop was the Jama Masjid. It was built by Adil Shah in 1578 after his victory of Bijapur. It is said that there were more than 360 mosques in the city built by the large army which he brought with him during that time. This particular Masjid is quite huge with multiple entrances, and the main area has Quran written in gold. You won’t be allowed if you are not wearing full clothes. It is the only mosque where women are allowed to go as well. As per our experience, the main place to explore in this city is “Gol Gumbaz” rest of the other 6-7 places are not that much great to explore. You can cover all of them in a max couple of hours.
Gol Gumbaz is a mausoleum of Adil Shah structured in 1656. Its structure is composed of a cube on each side which is capped by a dome. At each of the four corners of the cube, is a dome-capped octagonal tower which is seven stories high with a staircase inside. The upper floor of each opens into a round gallery which surrounds the dome. The stairs at the top are little scary with less support so be careful. The museum is a must visit for anyone who wants to know more about the history and architecture of the city. Gol Gumbaz compound closes at 5:30 pm so plan accordingly.
On every 100 – 200 meter distance you will find Iyengar’s sweets and bakery shops with a good variety of pastries and other sweet stuff. Looks like the locals are really fond of bakery items which I found really amusing. I think their number might be more than bhaaji shops there. It was late evening now and we ended our first-day exploration. Next day we got up around 6 in the morning and searched for local vendors to have some breakfast like locals while sipping hot tea. Breakfast is too cheap you can get Upma, Poha, Vada, Idli all in 10 bucks each. In 30-40 bucks you can have pretty heavy breakfast. One thing to notice that here in north Karnataka, people use spring onion quite a lot and their chutney versions are spicier too. We quite liked the flavours. We checked out from the hotel by 8:30 am and started towards Badami. Although it was a state highway, the roads were not that great but meanwhile, we crossed beautiful patches too. You will find lots of sunflower farms. Beaming all the yellowness in this world while looking out to the Sun. It took us 3+ hours to cover 140kms. With a pit stop for another round of Idli chutney, Puri korma, Sheera, and Chai!