Apr 26, 2014

Muhammadan Tombs of Kadirampuram

March 23, 2013
We were driving from Bellary back home to Dharwad. Enroute we stopped at Hampi, visited few monuments and had lunch. It was my idea to find a silent spot for a nap.. as we drove towards Hospet I saw this tomb to our right.. yes, this would be perfect place because its clean, has enough shade and no people around. Mama and I walked into the tomb complex while Prakash chose to stay in his Indica.

At the entrance was a signage proclaiming the complex as Muhammadan Tombs of Kadirampuram.
These are tombs and grave structures in typical "Bahamani" characters. They are known for austerity. One of the tombs has an entrance to the south with two small arched niches on either side of the door. The exterior wall of the tomb is plain with huge arches. The parapet above is treated with simple merlons. The large and plain hemispherical dome completes the elevation. Nearby is a large roofless tomb with three graves inside. While the lower half of the tomb has arched doorway flanked by two arched panels the upper half has a rows of seven small arched panels.

The complex has only two large structures one with a dome and the other without a dome. The latter is roofless, its open to sky. Both structures are grilled and locked, visitors have to be satisfied with a peek at the interior through the grills. We start with the roofless tomb which looks like a cube.

The inside is pretty plain too..

..yet there's beauty when you look up. The square floor below makes way to a circular top.

A neat looking circle with a rim displaying simple geometric design. This tomb, though not really similar, reminds me of the roofless octagonal tomb of Astur.

The second structure is much smaller, built at ground level and has a dome. Somehow when I look at this building I feel the dome is out of proportion or its not shaped well.

Scattered near the two structures are sculpted granite grave markers.

Time for a nap. We go back the shade of the roofless structure and make ourselves comfortable on the granite floor. Nearby was a bunch of chicks imitating their mummy chicken.. scraping the dirt with their tiny claws and peck at something :) It was fun to watch them

The break was very helpful, especially after a good meal. We felt refreshed, meanwhile Sun had come down little making our journey little easier.


Apr 19, 2014

Prehistoric Ash Mound of Kudathini

March 2013
On the way to Sandur, we had driven past this mound but we never even realized it was no ordinary mound but a prehistoric ashmound.

December 23, 2013
We left Bellary early morning, heading back towards Dharwad. My plan was to locate the prehistoric ashmound and then spend some time at Kamalapur and Hampi on the way. This time I had noted the location of the mound- it was close to the south-west corner of Bellary Thermal Power Station's compound. We drove past Kudatini town and then BTPS main entrance.. We stopped and inquired at a tea shop but those folks were ignorant about the mound even though they were residents of this village. Anyway, we drove on.. I kept an eye on the compound wall.to my right. About 1½ kilometers from the main entrance the compound wall turned north.. this must be the south-west corner. Yes, the mound was dead ahead. The mound is 5½ kilometers from Kudatini village.

The mound looked like a hillock. It has a stone-cement wall around it.. looks like an effort to protect the ashmound. We parked next to the mound, off the highway. This was used as a bye lane by truckers and this side of the ashmound was used as a toilet and dump for trash. We managed to find a relatively clean spot to climb on to the mound. The place where I climbed on to the wall had two angular stubs embedded in the concrete - I'm pretty sure those are the remains of a board, either a notice that this is a protected site or a signage stating the importance of this mound.

The road on the right is Bellary-Torangal road and on the left is the bye-lane. Standing on the slope I shot this picture. The ashmound is roughly oval in plan measuring 310' in length and 150' at the middle and 20' at its highest.

When seen closely the surface is different compared to the neighboring hillocks. While the hills are covered by shrubbery this ashmound is covered mostly by grass and few shrubs.

On the surface were hard but light white colored lumps. I believe these were ash lumps because ash when exposed to air for a prolonged period hardens. However, Mohan Mama's and Prakash's opinion differed, they said those lumps are a type of stone called Sunburli. They said these lumps were just like sunburli stones found in black soil fields near Dharwad.

Standing at the highest point of the ashmound.

Hardened lumps sticking out of the mound. The two cooling towers of BTPS.

A close up view of a lump.

A recently made pit to check what lies under the surface.

Now the questions-
How did such a huge ashmound come into existence?
Studies have revealed these are not natural creations but man-made.

What actions of man lead to the creation of an ashmound?
Obviously large quantity of matter was burnt over a prolonged period, perhaps 7 to 8 months. Studies have also indicated that most sites had ash which were result of burning cowdung.

What was the purpose or reasons for such fires?
Reasons could be any of the following- 1. annual cleansing ritual, 2. to produce lime, 3. to bake mud pots, or 4. to scare away wild animals. Pieces of pottery have been found in ash mounds, their presence could mean anything - either pots were burnt to harden them or pots filled with food was offered to Agni during rituals. 

We spent around 45 minutes here, trying to raise questions to each other and then find answers to those questions. The discussion went on and on..

Two lumps I brought home. I want to fetch Sunburli stones from a black soil field and compare them with the lumps.

Months have passed by, I'm yet to make a trip to a filed to find the light weight white colored Sunburli.

To see two more ash mound sites, check out these two posts-
Prehistoric Ash Mound of Kappagallu
Prehistoric Ash Mounds of Boodhihal


Apr 16, 2014

Octagonal Water Pavilion, Hampi

December 23, 2013
This is one of the many bathing places in Hampi, its a part of the royal center. Octagonal water pavilion is near the Queen's bath, closer to Chandrashkehara temple and a stone's throw from Saraswati temple. The pavilion is a 80' diameter octagon in plan and few feet below ground level.

The structure is a octagonal pit with a central octagonal platform surrounded by a octagonal shelter supported by columns.

The center piece.

There's a step and a channel running along the rim of the pit.

This must be a public bath for those visiting Chandrashekhara and Saraswati temples.

There's another octagonal bath near the Queen's bath, just besides Kamalapur-Hampi road.

Apr 12, 2014

Adil Shahi summer resort, Kumatagi

The present day Kumatagi village, 10 kms east of Bijapur on Sindhagi road, is known for an ancient summer resort. That summer resort was created by Mohammad Adil Shah between 1627 and 1656 CE. Its not clear if Kumatgi village existed at that spot back then. Anyway, the resort which consists of a lake, rows of tamarind trees, palaces & bath houses surrounded by gardens was a place to escape the searing heat of Bijapur plains. The Adil Shahis had developed a sophisticated water system which supplied water to the palaces,  mosques, and tombs in abundance. Even common people had access to sources of fresh and clean water, for example Taj Bawdi. Rain water was channelized to tanks and lakes with capacities enough to last until the following season. With an elaborate water managing system in place its no surprise that Adil Shahi kings enjoyed the luxury of a summer resort.

November 29, 2013
Travelling back from Gulbarga to Dharwad, we had to pass by Bijpaur and I saw that as a good opportunity to visit the 17th  century summer resort at Kumatagi. As we enter the resort complex, we are greeted by a rough looking stone wall building built on a platform. However, as we go around the building..

..the front side comes into view. It's a simple but beautiful looking structure with five arches. Those grills are recent addition to keep out vandals. This building is the bath house with showers and bath tubs.

This smaller but taller structure is a palace, as you see it is surrounded by stepped channels. Also there are 4" diameter pipe lines running throughout the complex bringing in water from the main source- a lake few hundred meters away. This two level palace seems small but is quite spacious inside.

Another view of the palace, in the background is the bath house and one of the 4 towers which had two purposes - water tank and sentry post.

Such an elegant structure, it is decorated with sculptures of wildlife and human beings. One single narrow is the only way to get across the water channels surrounding the palace.. i.e. if you chose not to get wet. Other wise one can simply wade across the channel.

All the while I was accompanied by the caretaker and he was kind enough to unlock the gates and let me in. We climbed to the second level through the only stairway which was pretty narrow and steep. The inside is all white and glossy, creating a cool but bright interior. I remember seeing such white finish floor at Jumma Masjid at Gulburga fort. The octagonal top has four windows and four chambers. I guess these are rooms to sleep in, there's sufficient privacy in up here.

A even narrower stairway lead to the roof. That's the bath house, its quite big.

Bath house interior. At the center is a small pit on the floor with a decorated rim. Exactly above it in the ceiling is an opening from which water showered.

This building has two sections within, the front and rear. While the front portion is bright, the rear section is dim.

That's one of the two bath tubs.

The interior has some tasteful decorations in the form of murals in mortar and colorful paintings. Well, you'll have to imagine the art in its best form i.e. when new.

A closer look at one of the many paintings. Its not easy to paint a wall facing downwards.

View of the two level palace and the lake in the background.

The hydro and sentry tower. This 50' tall tower provided head for water and a commanding view of the surrounding to guards in charge of security.

The caretaker insists on seeing the lake as well. We step out of the palace-bath house complex. This is one of the cisterns which controlled the water supply to the palace. A close look at the pit will reveal circular openings which are pipeline outlets.

This is a narrow stairway going up the tank bund and that stone structure is a multi-purpose building which serves as a pump house, dock, sentry point and a rest place.

Notice the narrow stairway to the roof. The building has such arches of all four sides and a large pit in the center. The caretaker said that water would pumped down to the cistern and then into the complex. This rough looking building has a beautiful interior.

The floral ceiling with a sunroof.

The placid water of Kumatgi lake and the tank bund. We walked along the band to catch a glimpse of the ruins of another hydro tower and a cistern. This resort is quite large, spread across 70 to 80 acres. There are plenty of tamarind trees (see inset).. they have a special look to them. I feel they are very old, perhaps planted during Adil Shahi rule. In fact there's one tree near the village Deverahippargi (closer to Sindagi) which is said to be 400 years old i.e. planted during Adil Shahi rule.

The summer resort of Adil Shahi is definitely a monument worth visiting when touring Bijapur.


Apr 9, 2014

Shilpavana, Kannada University - part 2

what a plight
get up!
sleeping lion | joy
tortoise shell
neat little fish
bared fangs
sunny, Chalukya | shocked, mask
lion king
ripe old man | cairn
listen | long legs
sinking or raising?
That's the end of our tour of Shilpavana.

cairn, Kavirajamarga
Jakanachari, Adhyayananga
..continued in Shilpavana, Kannada University - part 3.