May 24, 2010

Malik-e-Maidan Tope, Bijapur

Besides Gol Gumbaz and Ibrahim Roza, Malik-e-Maidan Tope is the next major attraction in Bijapur. According to my guide Veeranna two such cannons, each weighing 50 tonnes, were made in present day Madhya Pradesh and brought here. One of the cannons got drowned in a river while crossing it.

The body is supposed to be an alloy of five metals and one specialty of this cannon is that it never heats up even in the worst of summers. The bore diameter is approximately 15 inches. Just try to imagine the power of the blast.

Art and engineering join hands to create this weapon. As you see here, an elephant is getting crushed in a lion's jaws. That's supposed to depicts the cannon's destructive power.

The lion face actually looks fierce. The eyes and whiskers add fierceness to the face. Notice the nostril and the ears. Very detailed. The cannon would flatten everything in front of it and leave an open field.

This cannon is installed on the western wall of Bijapur city to defend itself from Maratha onslaught.

In it's glory days the cannon was mounted on a swivel mechanism which allowed it to be turn 180 degrees. There were massive walls on the rear side which acted as locks to prevent the cannon being aimed at the city itself.

It seems the cannon generated extremely loud noise and heat. Only one soldier would remain near the cannon to light the fuse. Once the fuse is lit, that soldier would submerge himself in water to get shield from the cannon's noise and heat. The water pit (white square behind the 3 boys) can be seen in the picture below, now it's kept covered.

Here Veeranna explains the signalling method used those days. A clap close to the square in the wall could be heard 150 meters away at Upuli Burj, a stone tower which gives a commanding view of the entire city.

I forgot the story behind this Moon, Sun and the two lions...

Cannons, even though they are created to wreck havoc, never fail to fascinate me. If you are interested to see bigger ones you have to visit Bidar fort, they are probably the largest in Karnataka. Basavakalyan fort also has a very interesting collection of cannons and in much better condition.

Check out the short article on largest cannons of Karnataka.

May 17, 2010

Syntheri Rocks revisited

...stopped for breakfast halfway between Dharwad and Haliyal.

A dragon fly.

Durga and Deepak inspecting an ant nest which we found on the road ...must have fallen some time back.

We went for a stroll in a forest lane. Was interesting to note bamboo creations.

We were on our way to Ulavi. We stopped at Syntheri Rocks, visit one for Deepak and Durga. During my last two visits, I had not really noticed the cave formations. These rocks, which are typical to this region (Yana and Ulavi included) seem to have plenty of caves formed within them.

During this visit I also noticed Syntheri Rocks had a high honey bee population. We could see few hundred bee hives. Yellow spots which were actually bee droppings had covered the entire rock surface also the air was saturated with a strong odor. We thought these yellow spots to be an effect of acid rain but our theory was dispelled by a forest guard.

Deepak happened to notice these red-eyed tadpoles. I found it hard to believe they were tadpoles. They were at least 10 times bigger than what I had seen last. Makes me wonder how big the frogs could be.


May 11, 2010

Gol Gumbaz

One of my favorite monuments; Gol Gumbaz is also known as Gol Gummata. The building is an engineering marvel; seven floors high, an unsupported dome with diameter of 40 feet, constructed during an era which had not seen cement. The entire weight of the roof is borne by four massive walls of the structure. I bow to the engineers who designed it and the workers who built it.

My first visit was in 1996. Gulli and I reached Gol Gumbaz at 5-45 AM, place was deserted except for the guards and guides. Our guide told us who got it built, when and why. He told us stories behind it. We started off at ground floor where few royal tombs are hosed and went to the top floor, the whispering gallery better known as the echoing gallery. We could count seven echoes and hear even a whisper 40 feet away as though someone's whispering right into your ears. Gol Gumbaz was supposed to be a meeting hall. The king would hold meetings with important people like foreign diplomats in the whispering gallery so that anything the foreigners spoke among themselves would be heard clearly. I recollected all this during my second visit in October 2009 as my guide Ibrahim narrated. I still wish to visit Gol Gumbaz again.

When ever I spoke to anyone about historical places I would ask them if they had visited Gol Gombuz. If the answer was no, I would ask them to visit asap. One should never miss this wonder of India.

Here are a few pictures I shot during my second visit.


May 3, 2010

Hero Honda Splendor

...tear drop tank. That's what the fuel tank was described as on the brochure. I got it some time October 1994 and I was really proud to ride it around. Splendor was relatively new on the streets and the color- metal grey -was a real attraction. I still remember someone asking me if the bike was imported. The engine was extremely smooth. The exhaust note was deep and confident. The acceleration was smooth and effortless. The dashboard was simple and neat. Fuel consumption was unbelievable 70+ kilometers per liter.

Splendor, Gulveer and Shivagange

My first out-station trip was to Shivagange. Soon more out-station trips followed;
  • Savandurga
  • Shravanbelogola
  • Devarayanadurga
  • Nandi Hills
  • Mekedatu
  • Bangalore - Hospet - Hampi - Pattadkal - Aihole - Bijapur - Solapur - Bidar - Bijapur - Jamkhandi - Dharwad - Goa - Udupi - Mangalore - Ballupet - Bangalore
...and some more I cannot recall. All these trips were with Gulveer.

During the 13 day tour of Karnataka, we rode about 2700km mostly between 50 and 60kmph. Occasionally we would hit 80 kmph for a change. During the entire trip we filled fuel 3 or 4 times. Hero Honda truly lived up to it's words; Fill it. Shut it. Forget it.

@ 24000km in 1998 I sold my Splendor. I still regret it.