Location: Bijapur, Karnataka
Founded By: Muhammad Adil Shah
Founded In: 1656
Gol Gumbaz is a mausoleum, situated in the Bijapur city of Karnataka.
It serves as the last resting place of the seventh ruler of the Adil
Shahi dynasty, Muhammad Adil Shah. One of the most magnificent
structures built by the erstwhile Adil Shahi rulers, Gol Gumbaz today
counts amongst the major tourist attractions of Bijapur. The mausoleum
has been built as per the Islamic architectural style, which is found in
India in general and the Deccan region in particular.
Almost all the hallmarks of the traditional Islamic or Persian style of
architecture are reflected in the architecture of Gol Gumbaz. These
include a dome, different types of shapely arches, geometric proportions
and use of Islamic motifs. However, one cannot ignore the local
influences that are clearly visible. The greatly foliated drum below the
globular dome and the use of the local dark brown stone, which was a
characteristic trait of the Bijapur buildings of that period, serve as a
proof of the local influences.
Gol Gumbaz dates back to the year 1656 and was built by Muhammad Adil
Shah in his own lifetime. One of the most impressive monuments in
Bijapur, the mausoleum is an enormous cube, which is adorned with
octagonal seven storied towers. Crowning the towers are small rounded
domes that are seen projecting at the corners. Each face of the Gol
Gumbaz is flanked by three arches, with the central arch being huge in
size. Bordering the central arch are two arches that are smaller in
The entrance to the arch has been inscribed with a few lines, which
declare that the structure houses the mortal remains of Muhammad Adil
Shah. There is a projection on the tomb walls is aligned with the sixth
story of the corner towers. The projection is backed by closely set
brackets, which are topped by a band of small arched openings. The
ramparts of the mausoleum have an ornamental binding, looming beyond
which is the spherical dome. The dome is huge, with an internal diameter
of 125 feet and its apex being 200 feet high.
It is built in the typical Bijapur style and has a foliated drum.
Instead of a pier, the dome of Gol Gumbaz has a pillar. The crescent
finial that prevails over the spires illustrates the Turkish origin of
the ruler. The interiors of the monument have a single square chamber of
grandiose magnitude. Each side of the chamber is 135 feet high, with the
walls being over 10 feet thick and 110 feet high. The ornamentations of
the mausoleum have been incorporated in the construction in such a way
that they reflect an unusual feature of simple grandeur.
Eight pointed intersected arches have been constructed for sustaining
the colossal dome over the square room. The arches are perfectly stable
and are capable of contracting any impetus from the weight of the dome.
On the top of the arches is a circular platform, which comes into
contact with the base of the dome. An octagon was produced at the
intersection between the square chamber and circular base of the dome to
ensure an easy and transition from one to the other.