During my school years, I was fascinated by the exotic destinations and grand monuments I read in my History textbooks. I vividly remember that in my 5th grade, I was completely mesmerized by the grandeur & story behind Gol Gumbaz (in Bijapur, Karnataka in India) as described in the history textbook. The memory remained with me for many years and this monument was one of the must visit places on my travel list.

Life has a funny way of making our childhood wishes come true and I got to visit this monument this month on my work trip! Never in my dreams would I have thought that I will get to visit Gol Gumbaz in such a way, but I am glad that it happened the way it did!!…..as I got to experience it in the best way possible as a traveler. Sharing my experience of an early morning visit to the world famous Gul Gumbaz in Bijapur, Karnataka (India)

I landed up in Bijapur with my project team for an overnight stay so I did not expect that we would be going out sightseeing anywhere and had dinner in my hotel room. However, my team members proved to be more enthusiastic and meticulous than my expectations; they tied up with an international guide for an early morning tour of Goz gumbaz for the next day and informed me if I wanted to be part of it? Well, no wasn’t an option!!

All of us rose early morning and reached Gol gumbaz just as the sun was about rise and it made for a beautioful setting as there were very less crowds (most of them were locals on their morning walks in the Gol Gumbaz complex). The International Guide was actually a local from Bijapur, who conducted tours only for dignitaries and VIPs (as he was the only English guide in the city) and did not do this for a living (so were quite lucky as someone from our team was a friend of his and that’s why he agreed to take us around).

Gol Gumbaz is the the mausoleum of Muhammad Adil Shah (AD 1626 –56) located in Bijapur, Karnataka in India.  It is most famous for its dome which is said to be one of the biggest in the world. The Archeological Survey of India says “This edifice ranks among the most imposing ones in India for the sheer monumentality of its massive dome and its floor area. The hemispherical masonry dome has an internal diameter of 37.92 m. The thickness of the dome varies from 3.05 m. near the base to 2.74 m. near the top. The floor area of the monument is 1703.56 sq. m.  At a height of 33.22 m from the floor of the hall, projects a 3.25 m wide gallery, all round the inner periphery of the dome. This gallery is called the ‘Whispering Gallery’, because even the finest whisper or sound made in it is heard from side to side and even a single loud clap is distinctly echoed over ten times.”

We walked around the Gol Gumbaz, went up one of the turrets, as the guide narrated interesting anecdotes and facts about the monument. It took us 7 levels of climbing up the turrets to reach the top and what a view it was!!!! The whole city of Bijapur could be seen from the top of this monument.

However, the best part of our visit was reserved for the last as we entered the dome. The guide made us sit on the benches at one and went around the other end and started whispering to us, as we heard him as clearly as he was standing next to us.  It was a fantastic moment for me and a childhood imagination turned into a delightful reality.

thanked the guide and in fact told him about my childhood wish to see this monument; he said well ~ you have not only fulfilled your wish but did it in the best way possible as an adult; you have made your work your pleasure to!!.

Gol Gumbaz is a fantastic piece of Indo_Islamic architecture and Bijapur has many interesting monuments, so if you are a history buff, do take time out to visit this city.

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  1. What a beautiful post. I love travelling and I loved the fact how you put in the basic information with your personal experience. I have always wanted to visit the historical places in Karnataka. You post is now kicking up my wanderlust.

  2. Loved reading about this great monument! I totally understand you when you say that reading about it in history textbooks intrigued your interest. Happened with me too while reading History and Geography books. 🙂

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