Aug 18, 2012

Bahamani Tombs, Astur

Astur village is known for tombs of Bahamani Sultans and family members. Astur is about 4km from Bidar fort.

February 1996. Gulli, I visited Astur, we had ridden my Hero Honda Splendor around Karnataka. I remember meeting two local men here, they said they come here when they needed silence and peace. This was a place where they took major decisions. The place had a peaceful effect on those who believed it.

January 28, 2011
On Bidar-Astur road, about 1.5 kms before Astur is a ivory colored octagonal building. According to sources on the net this is the shrine of Hazrat Syed Nemathullah Syed and Khaleelullah Hussaini. this is a shrine of two Muslim saints Syed Nemathullah and Syed Kaleelullah Hussaini. The two saints were from Kirman near Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The shrine was built during the reign of Bahamanis.

astur tombs
The building is simple in design yet beautiful. It has a peaceful look and feel. Peacock feathers are used to bless the ones who come seeking help.

Domes of tombs in the distance.

The tomb complex of Astur. One board for the entire complex: The tombs were of Ahmad Shah al-Wali (AD 1422-36), Ala-ud-Din Shah II (AD 1436-58), Humanyun (AD 1458-61), Humanyun's wife, Nizam Shah (AD 1461-63), Mahmud Shah, Wali-Ullah, Kalim-Ullad and Hazrat Khaliullah. These huge structures are remarkable for their beautiful arches, niches and lofty domes.

These tombs are similar in architecture of Gol Gumbaz.but not that big. Domes of two tombs are missing completely and one in tomb only one-fourth of the dome is remaining.

According to sources this is the tomb of the eleventh Bahamani Sultan, Humayun Zalim Shah who reigned between 1457 and 1461. No information about the cause of the damage. Anyway the damaged part offers a  cross section of the dome. The dome could be 5 to 6 feet thick. this would be an interesting specimen for students of civil engineering and architecture.

The tomb of Sultan Humayun Zalim Shah could be the largest building here. On the left is a smaller building, view partly obstructed by a Neem tree. That building is supposed to be the tomb of Humayun Zalim Shah's wife Malika-E-Jahan.

This tomb must have had a grand look during it's days. This is supposed to be tomb of the tenth Bahamani Sultan, Aladdin Ahmad Shah II  who was in power from 1436 to 1458.

astur tombs
This white building is the only on open to public. I'm assuming this to be the tomb of Ahmad Shah al-Wali who ruled from 1422 to 1436.

This is Kalil Shah Bahamani, he claims to be descendant of Bahamani dynasty. Kalil takes care of this tomb. He shows his collection of documents supporting his claim to be a descendant of the Bahamanis.

The inner walls of this building are richly decorated with exquisite patterns. While the higher parts are in relatively good condition, the lower levels have faded or have gone completely. Golden paint is used lavishly. That could be a reason for people to scrape away parts off these walls.

This is the dome, the highest part of the interior. Close to the center of the circular design are three diamonds embedded in the ceiling. The care-taker had reflected sunlight with a mirror to light up the dim interior.

A closer look at the center of the dome. Perhaps the Persian letters are verses of Quran.

Truly these are works of art befitting the Sultans.

Notice the maze in white & black at the center of this geometric pattern. Amazing color combination!

This is a large square design with a very complex floral design at the corners.

I could have filled the entire 4GB card with images off these walls. Wish I had carried few spare memory sticks. I'll come again and spend a day here. Also I want to see the ancestral swords at Kalil's place. Because we were tight on time we couldn't wait until Kalil finished midday prayers.

Earlier, Kalil narrates the good deeds of Bahamani Badhshah Ahmad Shah al-Wali. Kalil story says how the Badshah showed sympathy to his subjects during a famine by distributing food grains.

I consider Astur's Bahamani tombs as one of the most important monuments of Karnataka. Since the tourist traffic is less the monuments are preserved well. However, concerned authorities need to take extra care to protect and preserve them.

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