Bijapur or Vijayapura as it was called by Hindu yester rulers was established by the Kalyani Chalukyas in the 10th century. It changed hands and became part of the Khilji Sultanate during the 13th century. In 1347, the Bahamani’s of Gulbarga took over from the Khilji’s and split them into 5 states known as the ‘Deccan Sulthanate’.
In time Adil Shahi’s took control over Bijapur and established their reign over a long time building numerous eye pleasing monuments in Indo-Islamic architecture in this fortified city. In 1686 Aurangzeb laid seize to this city after a long battle fought by his son as the Adil Shahi’s refused to be the Mugal Dynasty Vassals. Later Bijapur passed on to the Nizam’s and finally to independent free India after the British.
In the center of Bijapur city on Bijapur – Thoravi road near Sainik School stands South India’s biggest Mosque and India’s second biggest! Jamiya Masjid as it is called now corrupted to Jumma Masjid was built by the 5th Adil Shahi King (1558-1580) in the year 1578. This Masjid was built after his victory over the Vijayanagar Kingdom in the battle of Rakkasagi – Tangadagi in the battle known as ‘Battle of Talikota’ in 1565! The Battle of Talikota ends the glorious Vijayanagar Kingdom’s Dynastic rule.
Jamiya Masjid further is aestheticaly enhanced when the 7th King Sultan Mohamed Adil Shah fixes the golden Mihrab where holy scripts of Koran are inscribed in 1676… these can be seen even to this day. It’s a beautiful visual beauty. Jamiya Masjid occupies 1, 16, 400 sq.feet or approximately 10, 810 sq.mts. The covered area on the ground floor even to this day is used for prayers at this mosque. This structure was designed by Malik Yakut of Iran. This mosque’s onion domes are the finest and the best and it’s visual beauty viewed from another part of the city adds to it’s aesthetic value – a wonderful landmark at sight! The major part of the mosque is 530 x 230 feet.
A huge part of the structure is incomplete for unknown reasons! 2250 tiles are imbibed at this mosque which look like praying mats. The Dome of the mosque has 9 huge bays which incorporates into 9 inner arches. Beauty, symetry, architecture, technology, construction all in one stands tall at this place of Islamic worship hall – the Jamiya Masjid. A magnificent 17th Century structure! Don’t miss the sanctum the gold inscribed Mihrab of Koran quotes. Aurangzeb after annexing Bijapur in 1685-86 and ending the Adil Shahi rule added a west door to Jamiya Masjid, which is the main door today and a veranda alongside to stamp his contribution to this wonderful structure.
This place of worship is open to all faiths, photography is allowed. No entrance fee. Footwear needs to be left at the entrance door. This place looks good from dawn to dusk. There’s a huge water tank for the devotees to wash and clean up. At Muslim auspicious days this mosque can take 5000 devotees. Only ground floor is open, the upper floors are closed for public at large. The Mihrab means the Qibla wall a semi-circular structure which is in the direction of the Kabba at Mecca. Muslims face the Kabba when they pray anywhere in the world.
This is one of the many monumental structures at Bijapur. Bijapur is 530 kms from Bangalore. A long way to drive. It’s well connected by buses & trains. Hotel’s and food are modest. City badly needs to wake up to civic amenities. A few more to come in the next issue about Bijapur. Soak in India’s history of all faiths. A land of assimilation of good things which went by… Incredible India!
-Jagdeesh Laxman Singh
aka Jugie Singh
Text & Photography