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Gol Gumbaz, Bijapur

Gol Gumbaz Overview

Gol Gumbaz, literally means the round dome, is the tomb of Mohammed Adil Shah (1627-56 AD), the 7th ruler of this dynasty. It was built at his orders before his death by the renowned architect Yaqut of Dabul. It was the desire of the ruler to build a mausoleum comparable to the Ibrahim Rauza, the tomb of his father, Ibrahim Adil Shah II. The Ibrahim Rauza was an exceptional tomb in composition and ornamentation. Gol Gumbaj is one of the biggest single chamber structures in the world. It was build over a floor area of 1700 sq m with a height of 51 m and diameter of 37 m. the walls of the tomb are 3m thick. The central dome of Gol Gumbaj does not rest on any pillar and is second to the dome of St Peters Basilica, Rome in size. The unique feature of the tomb is its acoustic quality. A sound echoes 11 times over and can be heard at a distance 37 km. The mausoleum is part of a bigger complex that includes a mosque, a dharamshala (inn) and other buildings. The work of the mausoleum was never properly accomplished as was thought since construction began towards the end of Muhammad Adil Shah's reign. As a result, the tomb is a plain square block with towers on each corner. The tomb is built of dark gray basalt and decorated plasterwork. The walls are 3 m thick and 30.5 m in height. The measurement from the interior is 41m on each side. Each exterior face of the structure displays three great blind arches. The central arch is wider than the others and is dressed with wooden panels with small rectangular entrance and three rows of arched windows punched through. The south door is the main entrance to the tomb. A bijli patthar (meteorite) is suspended by a chain from the cornice. It is said to have fallen during Muhammad Adil's reign and is believed to guard the tomb from lighting.

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