Kopeshwar Temple – Khidrapur

What it cannot make up for in size and scale, the Khidrapur temple makes up in grandeur and ornateness. This temple is dedicated to the wrathful form of Lord Shiva, known as Kopeshwar. Of the Shiva temples, this one is unique, in that the Nandi is absent. We don’t know why.

Khidrapur - Kopeshwar Temple
Khidrapur – Kopeshwar Temple


Long time ago, there lived a chief of Gods called Daksha. He was married to Prasuti, the daughter of Manu, who bore him sixteen daughters. Satī was the youngest of them all, and had her heart set on Shiva.

Daksha and Shiva did not see eye-to-eye. There was, to say the least, a general animosity; more on Daksha’s side. When Satī was of marriageable age, Daksha held a Swayamvar, where he invited all, except Shiva. Satī had made up her mind about who she would choose, but not seeing Shiva in the assembly, flung the garland in the air and asked of Shiva to accept it. Shiva appeared there, middle of the assembly – garland around his neck. Daksha had no choice, but to grudgingly accept; Satī and Shiva were married.

Much later, Daksha held an ashwamedh (horse sacrifice) – again, all Gods were invited to partake of the offerings of the sacrifice; except Shiva. When Satī heard of this she was furious and after an argument with Shiva proceeded to the sacrifice, uninvited. Some insults ensued, and Satī released an inward consuming fire and died at Daksha’s feet. (some versions say Satī self-immolated in the sacrificial fire)

Khidrapur - Kopeshwar Temple
Khidrapur – Kopeshwar Temple

Shiva soon got to know of this and was consumed with rage. In that state he tore a lock of his hair and flung it to earth, which gave rise to the frightful form of Virbhadrā, who wrecked havoc at the sacrifice. Daksha was beheaded, among other ‘divine’ casualties. Brahmā and Vishṇu had to intervene to stop the carnage. Shiva bestowed a goat’s head to Daksha and made good, all injuries caused. Thus, all was well; all those present bowed to the Trinity, and departed.

Khidrapur - Kopeshwar Temple
Khidrapur – Kopeshwar Temple


Construction of this temple was started by the Śilāhāra King, Gandarāditya I, (the youngest of five sons of Mārasimha) around 1126 CE (Some sources put the date at 1028 CE). For more information of dynasties of Maharashtra, see The Dynasties of Maharashtra

The Śilāhāras were originally feudatories of the Rāśtrakuta empire, and ruled in North Konkan, from around 800 CE. By 900 CE, there were three branches of the dynasty; apart from the original North Konkan branch, they now also ruled South Konkan and South Maharashtra (Kolhapur). Gandarāditya I (r. 1108 – 1138), of the Kolhapur branch, started the construction of the Khidrapur temple. Gandarāditya was a prolific temple-builder and is credited for building four temples in the region and providing grants for a few more, including Jain and Buddhist temples. Gandarāditya was succeeded by Vijayāditya and Bhōja II, after which this dynasty came to an end at the hands of the Seuna Yādavs.

Khidrapur - Kopeshwar Temple
Khidrapur – Kopeshwar Temple


Construction of the temple continued for over seventy years during the reign of his successors, Vijayāditya and Bhōja II. The structure was still incomplete when the Yādav king Singhana annexed the Śilāhāra kingdom, and remains such, to this day. Singhana also possibly contributed to the construction of the temple, according to some inscriptions in the temple.

Temple Architecture

Plan - Khidrapur Temple
Plan – Khidrapur Temple (Click to Enlarge)

The temple consists of the garbha-grha (sanctum), the antarāla (antechamber), the gūḍha-maṇḍapa (enclosed hall) and the raṅga-maṇḍapa, constructed in a row. Usually, there is a dvāra-maṇḍapa in front of such a gūḍha-maṇḍapa but here its place is taken  by a detached large octagonal maṇḍapa (called sabhā-maṇḍapa or ranga-maṇḍapa), as in the case of the Sun Temple at Modhera. Inside, are twelve pillars in a circle which open to the sky, because the ceiling was never constructed. It is believed by the local people that a pious man who stands on the slab below that opening, goes to heaven. Hence, it is also called the swarga-maṇḍapa.

The garbha-grha, the antarāla and the gūḍha-maṇḍapa are star-shaped on the outside Their walls are decorated with various images from top to bottom The lowest part of the jaṅghā (pillars) are adorned with beautiful figures of elephants (Gajapeetha), with various Gods such as Indrā, Brahmā and Vishṇu riding them. There are 92 such elephants, 46 on each side. (Adapted from CII Vol. 4)

Khidrapur - Kopeshwar Temple
Khidrapur – Kopeshwar Temple


The construction methodology followed is the dry mortar bedding technique. (ASI, Mumbai Circle)

Here’s another extract (with minor edits for consistency and readability) from the The Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency (Vol. XXIV – Kolhapur) about Khidrapur:

Khidrapur, lies on the Krishnā river about twelve miles south-east of Shirol. The chief interest of the village is the temple of Kopeshwar which lies in the centre of the village and is 10½’ x 65’ x 52½’ high, to the top of the dome. The walls are made of black stone richly carved and the dome is covered with stucco. To the main building are attached two richly carved sculptured mandaps or vestibules. In the vestibule are two concentric squares; the outer with twenty and the inner with twelve pillars, richly carved. In front of the temple is round roofless structure called the Swarga Mandapa or Heavenly Hall, on the plan of what would be a twenty-rayed star, only that the spaces for four of the rays are occupied by four entrances. On the outside on a low screen wall stand thirty-six short pillars, while inside is a circle of twelve columns. Further from the temple is the nagārkhāna or drum-chamber. The outer walls of the temple are broken at oblique angles as in the Nilang Hemādpanti temple.

By the south door of the temple is a Devgiri Yādav inscription of Sinhadev in Devnāgari dated Shak 1135 (A.D. 1213) granting the village of Khandaleshwar in Miraj for the worship of Kopeshwar.


Khidrapur is about 65kms south-east of Kolhapur and well laid out on Google Maps.



  1. Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum. Vol. 6 Inscriptions of the Śilāhāras
  2. Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency Vol. 24 – Kolhapur
  3. ASI Mumbai Circle. (n.d.). Retrieved March 30, 2017, from http://www.asimumbaicircle.com/m_kolhapur.html
  4. Gupta, S. P., & Asthana, S. P. (2009). Elements of Indian Art: Including Temple Architecture, Iconography & Iconometry. New Delhi: Indraprastha Museum of Art and Archaeology.
  5. Nivedita, S., & Coomaraswamy, A. K. (n.d.). Myths of the Hindus and Buddhists.
  6. Shilahara Dynasty. (2017, March 26). Retrieved March 30, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shilahara
  7. Virabhadra. (2017, March 28). Retrieved March 30, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virabhadra

Gyaraspur Galleries | Chaukhamba & Hindola Torana

The Kachchhapaghata dynasty ruled the north-western parts of Madhya Pradesh during the 10th and 12th CE. They are assumed to be the progeny of the Nāgas and were the vassals of the Gurjara-Pratiharas and later, of the Chandelas of Central India.

Hindola Toran & Chaukhamba, Gyaraspur

Click to see details

This dynasty contributed much to art and architecture and many temples were built under their patronage. Their early work follows the Gurjara-Pratihara style, and later developed unique and new trends in temple construction.

The Vishnu Temple (some sources refer to it as a Trimurti temple) at Gyaraspur is one example of the Kachchhapaghata style of architecture. Not much remains of this temple except the four pillars (Chaukhamba) of the central sanctum and a gateway (Hindola Torana).

Monument Details

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There are ornate carvings on the two sandstone pillars of the Hindola Torana depicting the ten incarnations of Vishnu; these beams carry two horizontal beams, with two ornamental arches between the two beams. This gateway is the southern entrance to the east-facing temple, which is believed to have been 150 ft east to west and about 85 ft north to south. The four pillars, Chaukhamba, are the central pillars of the hall, which are equally adorned by ornate carvings on all sides.

Gallery | Dashavataar, Hindola Toran

Click to see details


  1. Gyaraspur – A Heritage of Excellence. (n.d.). Retrieved March 02, 2017, from http://puratattva.in/2010/04/27/gyaraspur-a-heritage-of-excellence-54
    Jain, K. C. (1972). Malwa through the ages, from the earliest times to 1305 A.D. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. p. 432-433
  2. Journal of History & Social Sciences. (n.d.). Retrieved March 02, 2017, from http://jhss.org/archivearticleview.php?artid=145
  3. Kachchhapaghata dynasty. (2017, February 23). Retrieved March 02, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kachchhapaghata_dynasty
  4. Vishnu Temple (Chaukhambha and Hindola-Torana). (n.d.). Retrieved March 2, 2017, from http://www.tspasibhopal.nic.in/project/expl_Khadwaha_Ashok_nagar_mp_2009_10/temple/project11_12_vishnu_temple_vidisha.html

Gallery | Hessing’s Tomb, Agra

Text of the information plaque at Hessing’s Tomb, Agra and the Tomb inscription (below gallery)

Hessing’s Tomb (1803 AD)

This is the tomb of Col. John William Hessing who was Dutch and came to Ceylon as a freelance adventurer. He participated in the battle of Kandy in 1765. Then, he served the Nizam of Hyderabad and in 1784, entered the service of the Maratha chief Mahadji Sindhia. He fought several battles under the command of the French general De Boigne. Mahadji trusted him the most, and Hessing accompanied him to Poona in 1792. On Mahadji’s death there in 1794 he returned to Agra which was held by Marathas. He was made commandant of the fort and its Maratha garrison in 1799. He died here on 21 July 1803. The fort was captured by the British the same year. His tomb was built by his children.

It stands on a square platform which 11.25 feet high and 58 feet side, containing a crypt with the real grave and a corridor around it. An octogonal chabutra is attached to each corner in the form of a mini-tower. Twin stairways are also attached to it on the western side of the platform measuring 22 x 8.75 feet. The tomb reposes effectively in the middle of the main platform. It is square in plan with 34.75 feet side and 28.5 feet in height. Each facade has an iwan in the middle, flanked on either side by ornamental peshtaq (alcoves). It is essentially a Mughal design. Slender turrets are attached to the central iwan frame. They are crowned by pinnacles. Square turrets, 2 feet side, are attached to the corners of the tomb. These have vertical flutes and are surmounted by beautiful square chhatris. The tomb is roofed by a double-dome, crowned by mahapadma (Sheath of lotus petals) and Kalash finial. With pinnacles and chhatris of the turrets, it makes up a perfect superstructure. The interior is a square chamber 17.75 feet side with ribs-and-panels soffit. The cenotaph bears an inscription in English. As a whole it is a perfectly balanced and beautiful building and is rightly called “A Taj in miniature.” This is in fact, the most beautiful tomb of a European at Agra, and probably in India. Though a Dutch tomb, it belongs in letter and spirit, to Agra and the art of the Jamuna-Chambal region. It marks continuance of Mughal “ideas”, “feelings”, and “skills” in 19th Century A.D

Tomb Inscription

1803 — HESSING, J. W. Colonel

John William Hessing, late a Colonel in the service of Maharaja Daulat Rao Sindhia, who, after sustaining a lingering and very painful illness for many years with true Christian fortitude and resignation, departed this life, 21st July 1803, aged 63 years, 11th months, and 5 days. As tribute of their affection and regard this monument is erected to his beloved memory by his disconsolate widow, Anne Hessing, and afflicted sons and daughters, George William Hessing, Thomas William Hessing and Magdalene Sutherland. He was a native of Utrecht in Holland and came out to Ceylon in the Military service of the Dutch E. I. Company in the year 1752, and was present at the taking of Candia by their troops. Five years afterwards he returned to Holland and came out again to India in the year 1733, and served under the Nizam of the Deccan. In the year 1784, he entered into the service of Madho Rao Sindhia and was engaged in the several battles that led to the aggrandizement of that Chief and wherein he signalized himself so by his bravery as to gain the esteem and approbation of his employer, more particularly at the battle of Bhondagaon near Agra in the year 1787, which took place between this Chief and Nawab Ismael Beg, when he then became a Captain, and was severely wounded. On the death of Madho Rao Sindhia in 1793, he continued under his successor, Daulat Rao Sindhia, and in 1798 he attained to the rank of Colonel and immediately after to the command of the Fort and City of Agra, which he held to his death.

[There is little to be added to the history given in the epitaph. He was born in 1740. There is no record of his adventures between 1763 and 1784. He served in De Boigne’s brigades of regular troops. The “several battles” are Lalsot, Chaksana and Patan. After Patan, he quarrelled with De Boigne and left him but Madhoji Scindia employed him to raise a bodyguard for him. which grew to 4 battalions. In 1800 he was compelled to resign his command by ill- health and retired as commandant of Agra to that city. He is described as a “good, benevolent man and a brave soldier.” His tomb is a miniature of the Taj in red Agra sandstone.]



  1. Blunt, Edward. List of inscriptions on Christian tombs and tablets of historical interest in the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh. Allahabad: Printed by W.C. Abel, Offg. Supdt., Govt. Press, United Provinces, 1911. Print. p. 46-47 Download.

Bidar Fort


A view of Bidar Fort from the top of Rangeen Mahal, looking out. Built in 1428 by Ahmed Shah Al Wali Bahamani
A view of Bidar Fort from the top of Rangeen Mahal, looking out. Built in 1428 by Ahmed Shah Al Wali Bahamani

Sultan Alla-Ud Din Bahman of the Bahmanid Dynasty shifted his capital from Gulbarga to Bidar in 1427 and built his fort along with a number of monuments in it. The fort was captured by Bijapur Sultanate in 1619–20, but fell to the Mughals in 1657; as a part of a Peace treaty.

The fort has five gates, 37 bastions and is surrounded by multiple moats. It houses multiple monuments, of which Rangin Mahal is the most decorated of them all. [Link]

Gallery | Sultan Bateri, Boloor, Mangaluru

Mangalore was an important town even during the early historic times referred to by Greek Geographers Pliny (23 AD) and Ptolemy (c. 150 AD). It was the capital of the Alupa rulers for a long time. In 1526 AD Mangalore was taken over by the Portuguese who were subsequently expelled by the Nayakas of Bidnur in the early 18th century. Haider Ali captured this place in 1763. In 1768, it went into the hands of the British.

Sultan Bateri, a watch tower, is said to have been built by Tipu Sultan to contain the warships into the Gurpur River. Though it is a simple watch tower, it looks like a miniature fortress with its many musket holes for mounting canons all round.

~ ASI Plaque at Sultan Bateri (Battery)

Click the images to view large images.

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Gallery | Haft Gumbaz

Text of the Archaeological Survey of India‘s information boards at Haft Gumbaz, Kalaburagi (Gulbarga), Karnatak.

Tombs and mausoleums represent a large portion of Islamic architecture in India. The culmination of this rich funerary tradition is, of course the Taj Mahal in Agra. Perhaps because it is among the most well known monuments of the sub-continent, it is easy [to] take for granted the grand manner in which deceased rulers and holy men have been honoured, a practice that seems difficult to reconcile with a religion that has a history of discouraging veneration of humans through monuments. The earliest Islamic tomb in the subcontinent was that of Iltutmish of the Mamluk Dynasty, built in 1236 AD. The interior of his tomb is decorated with inscriptions, from thirty chapters of the Koran, about the power and unity of God, and duties of the devout believer. [This] practice of Koranic inscription continued through the tomb-building tradition in India and is mostly associated with the promise of Paradise to the true believer. This promise is also reflected in certain architectural elements, which represent aspects of Paradise which is visible in many tombs of the Deccan, through floral motifs, in the painting of the domes, and carving of masonry starting with the Bahamani style. The second possible reason for the growth of the funerary culture in India is the need for leaders, who came from abroad, bringing new traditions, languages, and religion, to establish a lasting relationship with the […] people they ruled.

This first occurred in India through the sufi saints of the Chisti order, who were the first religious leaders to be buried in the subcontinent.

The sufi saints became the medium for discourse between locals and their new rulers.

This legitimised new sultanates simultaneously, as Muslim and Indian spaces.

In 1422 AD, Gaisu Daraz (Bande Nawaz) of the Sayyid family (descendants of the Prophet) was buried in Gulbarga, which transformed the Deccan from a land of infidels open for conquest by Muslim invaders, to an Islamic sultanate, under the Bahamani Dynasty.

The Bahamani rulers were buried near his tomb, to receive his eternal benediction, but at the same time, created an eternal bond with Gulbarga, validating and bearing testament to their rule.

The Haft Gumbaz, meaning “seven domes” is a mausoleum of the Bahamani royal family, located on the outskirts of Gulbarga.

Individual ambitions, not only of the kings, but of their ministers and commanders account for the rich funerary tradition among Deccan sultanates.

While the ministers often overthrew, blinded, and assassinated weaker rulers they did not declare themselves “shah” or “sultan” but continued to pay tribute to an overthrown king.

Perhaps their desire to maintain social order accounts for these grand tombs, dedicated even to short reigning or puppet rulers.

Four of the Haft Gumbaz tombs are identifiable as those of Mujahid Shah Bahamani, Daud Shah Bahamni, Shams-ai-din, and Ghyas-al-din Bahamani, and Firuz Shah Bahamani.

The earlier tombs show predominant Tughlaqi influence, while the latest and most elaborate tomb, that of Firuz Shah, shows traces typical of what became the Bahamani style of architecture, the first Islamic style of the Deccan that deviated completely from Tughlaqi precedents.

Link | The Pillars of Ashoka

A short article describing the pillars of Ashoka

“Some pillars had edicts (proclamations) inscribed upon them.  The edicts were translated in the 1830s. Since the 17th century, 150 Ashokan edicts have been found carved into the face of rocks and cave walls as well as the pillars, all of which served to mark his kingdom, which stretched across northern India and south to below the central Deccan plateau and in areas now known as Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. The rocks and pillars were placed along trade routes and in border cities where the edicts would be read by the largest number of people possible. They were also erected at pilgrimage sites such as at Bodh Gaya, the place of Buddha’s Enlightenment, and Sarnath, the site of his First Sermon and Sanchi, where the Mahastupa, the Great Stupa of Sanchi, is located (a stupa is a burial mound for an esteemed person. When the Buddha died, he was cremated and his ashes were divided and buried in several stupas. These stupas became pilgrimage sites for Buddhist practitioners).”

(Via The Pillars of Ashoka – Smarthistory)

Featured Image via Wikipedia: By Rajeev kumar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Link | Incredible Megaliths of India

The Ancient Origins site has a recently published a two-part article on megaliths in India.

“The relationship between the megalith builders and religious practices of south India is complex and one that is ripe for further interpretation. It is usually assumed that the megaliths are the work of India’s many tribal groups, who have left few or no literary records. What we might call India’s ‘great’ tradition in contrast has a very large body of written texts. Early Indian scriptures and mythological literature actually do occasionally refer to the megaliths. For example, there are several highly venerated epic poems of South India, products of the Tamil Sangam age, which takes its name from a gathering or assembly of three hundred Tamil poets and scholars, who were ‘taken by the sea’. The late Kamil Zvelebil, esteemed scholar of Tamil culture, thought the gathering did actually happen on a regular basis. The time frame for the Sangam age is usually set circa 350 BCE to 300 CE and would overlap with the final phase of megalithic construction.”

Read Part 1 and Part 2

Extract | Architecture & Acoustics of the Gol Gumbaz

The Gol Gumbaz

This is an extract from the book, “Bijapur: The Old Capital of the Adil Shahi Kings” by Henry Cousens, published for the Archaeological Survey of Western India. This book was published in 1889. The entire book is available as a free download from Archive.org, here in various formats. The text has been presented as is, from the book. Other open-source references have been added to aid understanding of concepts used in the extract.

4082: Gol Gumbaz
Gol Gumbaz, Tomb of Ali Adil Shah I, Bijapur, KA, India

By far the largest and most conspicuous building in Bijapur is the mausoleum of Muhammad, (or Mahmud as he is sometimes called) Adil Shah.

Muhammad Adil Shah of Bijapur
Portrait of MUHAMMAD ADIL SHAH (1627-56) of Bijapur. British Museum. See page for author [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In the time of the “Merry Monarch” Bijapur attained its zenith of architectural greatness. Luxury held her court within its walls, and the Sultan and his nobles worshipped at her shrine. One of the first concerns of the king on ascending the masnad was to build his own tomb, and to set about it at once, so that there might be a chance of completing it before he died. In this there was naturally great rivalry, for each monarch wished to leave such a tomb behind him as would eclipse those of his predecessors, leave no room for improvement to his successors, and so single out his name conspicuously from them all. And Muhammad certainly succeeded in doing this in a manner beyond anything attempted before or after him. Ibrahim II., his father, had just been buried in his own tomb the like of which was not to be found anywhere in the Dekhan. With its lavish abundance of decoration, its slender and graceful minarets, its exquisite proportions, and surroundings of lovely gardens, it made his father’s simple tomb sink into insignificance and become a hovel beside it. Here was a puzzle for this ‘Old King Cole.’ How was he to surpass it ? In this last work the architects and builders had done their very best, they could do no more. The only thing left to him then was to substitute quantity for quality. If he could not surpass the delicate chiselling and lacelike balustrades of the Ibrahim Rauza [Wiki | Image], he would, at least, build such a tomb as would, by its immense size, dwarf this and every other building in the city, a tomb that would arrest the eye from every quarter for miles around, and carry with it the name of Muhammad, the great Sultan Muhammad

The general appearance of the building is that of a great cube, surmounted by a huge hemispherical dome, with an octagonal tower at each of its four corners, these being crowned by smaller domes. The only prominent feature on the faces of the building is the great deep overhanging cornice which, at a high level, runs round all four sides. The doorways, small lancet windows, and surface decoration by no means assert themselves, and from a short distance off are hardly noticed on the bare looking walls. The monotony of this, however, is broken by the towers which are riddled with windows from base to summit — seven in each of the seven storeys into which the tower is divided. The crest of the walls, above the cornice, is crenellated. The diameter of the dome is rather less than the breadth of the building. A winding staircase ascends in each of the corners of the building, just where the towers abut on to it, and, communicating with each storey of the tower, at last leads out on to the flat roof, between the corners and the dome. Passages lead from the roof, through the thickness of the dome, into the whispering gallery round the interior of the same.

4206: Whispering Gallery
The Whispering Gallery – Gol Gumbaz

The dome is practically a hemisphere of 124 ft. 5 in. interior diameter. The thickness of the same at the springing is 10 feet, whilst near the crown it is 9 feet. Thus the total external diameter at the springing is 144 feet. The curves of the surface are nowhere perfect so that the measurements taken across different diameters vary several inches. The great compartment below, which is covered by the dome, is 135 ft. 5 in. square at the floor level, and this gives an area of 18,337.67 sq. ft., from which if we take 228.32 sq. ft. for the projecting angles of the piers carrying the cross arches, which stand out from the walls into the floor, two on each face, we get a total covered area, uninterrupted by supports of any kind, of 18,109.35. sq. ft. This is the largest space covered by a single dome in the world, the next largest being that of the Pantheon at Rome of 15,833 sq. ft.

The total exterior height of the building above the platform on which it stands is 198 ft. 6 in. exclusive of the wooden pole at the top. But this, when it held the gilt finial, formed part of the building and another 8 feet must be allowed for it and this would give an extreme height of 206 ft. 6 in. The interior height from the level of the floor around the tomb platform to the top of the dome is 178 ft. The drop from the gallery to the floor below is 109 ft. 6 in.

In this colossal mausoleum we have the system of the pendentives, used with such effect throughout the Bijapur buildings, displayed to its greatest advantage.

Pendentive and Dome
Dome on pendentive (marked with yellow). By hu:User:Totya (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Theoretically there is no limit to the size of the building that could be raised and covered in on these principles. But, with the material the Bijapur builders had, it is very doubtful whether they could have erected a larger building without great risk of accidents. Here they had no trouble with their foundations for they had selected a spot where the solid rock comes to the surface, and the whole of the foundations are planted upon it. One of the greatest troubles and risks of subsequent unequal settling, that the builders of great and heavy works have to contend with, did not exist here.

“In a spherical roof intersected with groined compartments, the term pendentives was applied to the surfaces included between such compartments. The same term is applied to the surfaces included in the angles formed by a groined vaulting at its spring.” It is in the latter sense that it is used in the Bijapur buildings. The pendentives are thus a result of cross arching or groining.

Construction Pattern of the Gol Gumbaz
Construction Pattern of the Gol Gumbaz, from “Bijapur: The Old Capital of the Adil Shahi Kings” by Henry Cousens

The accompanying diagram explains the arrangement. ABCD is the square room to be covered in. Points are taken in the walls at E, F, G, H, K, L, M, and N so that they form the corners of an octagon. At these points buttresses or piers are built up the walls to carry arches. The latter are then thrown across from one pier to an alternate pier so that the arches thus constructed form in plan two intersecting squares EGKM and FHLN, and the crowns of all the arches fall upon a circle inscribed within these squares, and carry the dome which may be as small in internal diameter as this circle. It will thus be seen that the dome rests directly upon the crowns of the arches, which are always pointed, and the former being a solid mass of concrete, like a shell with no loose voussoirs, it rests as a dead weight upon the crowns of the arches conveying no outward thrust to them. The lines joining the intersections and points of the arches and the corners of the outer square, cut up the space between the circle and these corners into a number of concave spherical triangles. These are the pendentives.

4227: Aerial View
The angle formed by NAE, as shown in the above diagram. (lower middle, in the image)

On the great raised platform in the centre of the buildings under the dome are the duplicate tombs of the grandson of Sultan Muhammad, his younger wife Arus Bibi, the Sultan himself, his favourite mistress Rhumba, his daughter, and his older wife, in this order from east to west. The real tombs, where the bodies lie, are in the vaults immediately below these, the entrance to which is by a staircase under the western entrance. Over Muhammad’s tomb is erected a wooden canopy.

Bijapur Sultante Map
Bijapur Sultante Map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The most remarkable feature about this tomb is its whispering gallery. This, as mentioned before, runs round the interior of the dome on a level with its springing, and hangs out from the walls into the building. It is about 11 feet wide, the dome itself forming the back wall of the same. On entering the building one is struck with the loud echoes that fill the place in answer to his footfall; but these sounds are much intensified on entering the gallery. One pair of feet is enough to awaken the echoes of the tread of a regiment; strange eerie sounds, mocking whispers,, and uncanny noises emanate from the walls around. Loud laughter is answered by a score of fiends. The slightest whisper is heard from side to side; and a conversation can be most easily carried on across the full diameter of the dome in the lowest undertone. A single loud clap is echoed over ten times distinctly.

Sonic Wonderland: A Scientific Odyssey of Sound, By Trevor Cox Google Books

Instances of multiple echoes, such as this, are the Pantheon, the tomb of Metella, the wife of Crassus, which is said to have repeated a whole verse of the Æneid as many as eight times, and the whispering gallery of St. Paul’s. It is not at all likely, as some suppose, that the architect of this building had the production of a good echo in view when he constructed the dome, for it is no more than a duplicate of many a dome in Bijapur, on a much larger scale, with nothing extra, about it in any way. The echo was, no doubt, a purely natural result of the size of the dome. In the smaller domes we get what is called resonance, their diameters not being sufficiently great to allow of a distinct echo. It requires rather more than 65 feet between a person and the reflecting surface so that the sound on return may reach his ear immediately upon the dying out of the original sound and so create the impression of a second sound — an echo. If a greater distance intervenes the echo is more distinct as more time separates the original sound from the reflected sound. If the distance is less no distinct echo results, as the original and reflected sounds overlap and produce a confused sound or resonance.

Living Science Physics 9, By Dhiren M Joshi Google Books

From the roof of the tomb, surrounding the dome, a most extensive view of the whole city is obtained. To the south-west is the Jama Masjid conspicuous among its surrounding buildings; more to the west may be seen Mustafa Khan’s mosque, the Asar Mahal with its great open front, and the many buildings in the citadel, most prominent among which is the Anand Mahal. Directly west is, first, the unfinished mausoleum of Ali (II.) Adil Shah with its rows of skeleton arches, then the lofty Haidar Burj with the old Dekhani Idgah beside it. Away beyond the walls are the domes and minarsof the Ibrahim Rauza, and the white dome of the Amin Dargah with the Serai (Jail) and scores of surrounding buildings. Out to the east is the unfinished tomb of Jehan Begam and the tomb of Ain-ul-Mulk. Over the south doorway below, and inside, there is a large boldly cut inscription in three compartments. Each of these three sections is a complete sentence in itself, and each, on computing the values of the Persian letters, gives the date A. H. 1067 (A. D. 1656), the date of Muhammad’s death. These sentences are : —

“The end of Muhammad has become laudable.” “Muhammad Sultan whose abode is in paradise.” “The abode of peace became Muhammad Shah.”

The portion added to the back or north side of the building is said to have been intended to afford a resting place for Jehan Begam the Queen of Muhammad Shah, but whatever it was built for, it was never finished and never occupied. An inspection of the masonry shows that it was added after the main building was erected. In building the walls of the Gol Gumbaz the builders appear to have first erected four great arches and then to have walled up their open spaces, so that an addition such as the above could have been easily added at any subsequent time, and the filling in under one of the great arches knocked out, to give access to it, without impairing the building. Below it is a vault corresponding in plan to the upper chamber, which goes far to show it was intended for a tomb.

Standing out before the Gol Gumbaz on its south side is the great gateway over which was the Nagarkhana, where the music was played at stated times. It appears never to have been finished as its [minars] were never carried up beyond the roof.

On the west, and standing on the edge of the platform, is the well proportioned mosque attached to the tomb, but which has, unfortunately, been converted into a travellers’ bangla by unsightly cross walls, doors, windows, and whitewash. It is an elegant building with a rich, deep cornice, and slender well-proportioned minarets. The stairways leading to the roof, as in most of the Bijapur mosques, are in the thickness of the end walls. In this they differ very much from the Ahmadabad buildings where the stair is almost invariably a spiral passage winding up through the minarets. Two adjuncts were necessary to every Muhammadan tomb, namely, a mosque and a tank. Here we find two tanks, one before the main entrance to the tomb and another between the latter and the mosque. The general style, finish, and proportions of this mosque show clearly that it was not due to the want of cunning artisans that the Gol Gumbaz was built so plainly and covered with plaster, instead of being decorated with a profusion of chiselled stone-work. Moreover there are parts about the great tomb itself, the general cornice and the cornices of the little [minars] on the top, which indicate the presence of skilled workmen in stone. Its severity of outline and decoration was thus designedly so, and was the outcome of an ambition to overshadow all previous work by simple mass, which has resulted almost in clumsiness.

Link | Dudhai: An Obscure Chandela Site

A wonderfully detailed article about the history of Dudhai, explained through its monuments.

“The definitive history of the town can be traced from the Mughal period when it attained certain importance. Abul Fazl mentions that Lalitpur and Dudhai were parganas under the Chanderi Sarkar which in turn was one of the Sarkar under the Malwa suba.

The first scholarly reference of Dudhai comes from Alexander Cunningham in his survey reports. He visited the town in 1874-75 and described its monuments in details. He tells that the village was situated on the ridge to the north of the Ram Sagar, a large artificial lake. He further tells that with construction of roads connecting with other villages, the people of Dudhai who earlier emigrated had started to return. He also touched upon the legends and traditions on the history of the place.”

(Via. Dudhai – An Obscure Chandela Site | Indian History and Architecture)