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Published: March 2nd 2012
I was roused from sleep by the call to prayer this morning there are few things more exotic in my opinion or annoying if you are trying to sleep in. The shower doesn’t work so a wet one bath was all I could tolerate, we left Badami after another crap breakfast of tiny pieces of toast and tea and headed further north to the predominantly Islamic city of Bijapur the former seat of the Adil Shahi kings (1489 - 1682).
This crazy Indian practice of laying speed humps across the highways every bloody kilometre turned a reasonably short drive into a much longer one, but we arrived around 11.30am and stopped on the edge of the city to admire the Malik-E-Maidan or in English the Monarch of the Plain an extremely large 55 tonne canon left to rust on one of the cities external walls before looking for a decent hotel room. I then accompanied Padraic to the basement restaurant where we consumed a spicy lunch consisting of chilli and other stuff before visiting some amazing Islamic fortifications, mosques, palaces and mausoleums.
The first place we visited was the incredible Ibrahim Rouza built in 1580 by the Emperor Abdil
Shah 2 for his queen unfortunately he died first and was interred there. We then visited the graceful arches of the Bara Kaman an unfinished mausoleum followed by the interesting Jod Gumbad tombs all of which share the architectural grace common to Islamic constructs.
We then visited the 1557 Jama Majid which must have once been amazing but is now falling into disrepair and finally the richly decorated gateway known as Mihtar Mahal.
The highlight of our visit to Bijapur will be the Gol Gumbaz, a mausoleum built in 1659 which stands seven metres high and has a 38 metre dome second only to St Peters in Rome. The building is supposed to have superb acoustics so we are going there early in the morning to avoid the crowds to check this out.
Yes the Gol Gumbaz does have excellent acoustics I could hear the Russian tourists making silly noises from every direction at once. I took a few dawn photos of the tomb before returning to the hotel for breakfast. The Gol Gumbaz is such a massive building for one long dead man while millions of Indians live in hovels, go figure.
After breakfast we
headed to the fortified town of Bidar another Indian city dominated by Islam and the home of a supposedly excellent 15 century fort I say supposedly because it was closed for maintenance when we arrived in late afternoon and wasn’t open in the morning when we again attempted to enter.
We travelled to Bidar via the town of Gulburga another town dominated by Islam visiting some impressive tombs, the ceiling of one was decorated in mirror tiles and was an incredibly gaudy sight.
I met a little girl probably twelve or thirteen years old at the Bidar Fort who had very good English and was visiting from Hyderabad, she was with a man older than me and a number of other children when I asked her if the man was her father he answered saying she was his wife. India is a paradise for paedophiles it seems.
We have decided to visit an impact crater at a place called Lonar which is in Maharashtra state, so early the next morning we started driving, after about two hours the driver started babbling about border taxes, unfortunately at the border there was no tax office so after much stuffing
around we had to spend another couple of hours and many more kilometres finding one. Eventually late in the day we pulled into another nondescript ugly Indian town called Beed where we stayed in the only hotel we could find.
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