Aug 20, 2016

Saath Gumbaz, Gulbarga

During my first two visits to Gulbarga I'd skipped this particular spot because of time constraints.

January 30, 2016
Pushpa and I were travelling back to Hyderabad from a short vacation at Dharwad. Morning we visited Sharana Basaveshwara Gudi, Fort, Government Museum and then reached Saath Gumbaz ~ the seven domes. These tombs are on the eastern side of the fort, about 1.7 kms away.  The enclosure actually has seven structures of which 5 are tombs and two are mosques. The caretaker showed us the 5 tombs only. Of the five buildings two buildings have twin domes, so that's how we have seven domes.

The five tombs are named after five rulers of Bahamani dynasty-

  1. Mujahid Shah Bahmani (1375–1378 CE)
  2. Dawood Shah Bahmani (1378 CE)
  3. Ghiyath-ud-din Shah Bahmani (1397 CE)
  4. Shams-ud-din Shah Bahmani (1397 CE)
  5. Feroze Khan (1397–1422 CE)

We start The closest to the entrance is the tomb of Mujahid Shah. The exterior is pretty grim but once you step inside its different. Its dimensions are approximately 60' x 60' in plan and its overall height 80'. The dome's is approximately 50' in diameter.

Here's the description of this structure on the signage-
This tomb, at the western end of the complex, is that of the third Bahamani Sultan, Mujahid Shah (1375 - 13678 AD). It has sloping walls that are devoid of any decoration. The dome is flattish and the corners are adorned with fluted finials. There are three arched entrances on the east and south sides of the structure. The sacrophagal within are those of the king, his wife and his sister.

The interior is not as plain. The walls have niches and decorated with floral and geometrical motifs.

I'm the beginning the interior would be all white.. like a white lace-work apparel.

Here's a snap-shot of the necropolis from Wikimapia. You can see 7 structures and 9 domes. Tombs are marked with numbers.

These two are the tombs of Giyasuddin Shah and Shamshuddin Shah. These two structures are almost same dimensions as of Mujahid Shah tomb.

As seen from the other side. There's a lonely unidentified shelterless sacrophagal..

This is the tomb of Dawood Shah, a twin dome structure measuring approximately 55' x 110' x 80'. The dome's diameter is approximately 40'. The interior is actually two domed chambers connected by a vestibule. I missed shooting the structure from the front :( also missed

The interior is similar to that of Mujahid Shah's tomb however all designs are unique. The exterior is square in plan but the interior is octagonal. The western chamber has a single sacrophagal.

The eatern chamber has 3 or 4  sacrophagal.

I know not the purpose of this design but its simply beautiful! I guess the design must have evolved from a pumpkin or musk melon.The two dark circles are lotus in full bloom.

Coming to the largest and most decorated structure of this necropolis - Tajuddin Feroze Shah's tomb. This structure is bigger measuring approximately 150' x 72' x 130'. Diameter of dome is approximately 68'. This building is similar to Dawood Shah's tomb i.e. two tombs merged into one unit. The interior is two domed chambers connected by a richly decorated vestibule.

Description of the tomb on the signage:
The tomb of Tajuddin Firuz is the largest and most elaborate of the complex. The façade is decorated with vertical and horizontal divisions., surrounded by arches. It has, like the tomb of Dawood Shah tomb, two domed chambers, with the domes rising nine meters above the trefoil parapet. The style was never to be repeated in Bahamani architecture but some of the lesser features show traits of a maturing Bahamani style. For example, the walls are no longer plain but contain geometric designs worked into masonry of the upper recesses as well as bands of plaster work and roundels with arabesque designs. Angled eaves are hung over the doorways and diagonal panels adorn the brackets, which are found in local temples as well, with half pyramidal vaults above them. The corner arches on the lower level have cusped profiles, while the arches, higher up have squinches and lower profiles. There was once painting on the inside of the domes, but only a few traces remain while more frequent traces of the ornate plaster work are visible. Firuz Shah was known as a tolerant king, famed for his encouragement of cultural confluence. Hence the mosque shows the introduction of non-Islamic motifs, many which appear first in temple architecture.

This building seems like a palace rather than a tomb.

The interior: lower half is square and the upper half is octagonal. Niches are decorated with rich designs. Architects have made enough provision for ample light and air flow.

Of the seven domes here, this is most beautiful. I wonder how lovely this would've been when it was new.

This is one of the niches, also richly decorated.

The niches at the lower level are unique.. the wavy pattern is seen only here, no where else have I seen this design. The corner niches are to prevent echoing.. I guess.

This is the vestibule's crest. Simply lovely!

The other dome; plain in design but richly painted. The leaf like figure resembles the spade of playing cards. I loved the shades of colors forming the concentric circles. What an imagination and qudos to the artists who translated the imagination to a painted dome.

A closer look at the special niches.

Little little details cover every bit here.

These seven tombs are grim / plain from outside but are graceful structures. Their interiors have been created by lot of skilled hands with lot of patience. Good I made time to check out these tombs.

When in Gulbarge, do make time for this spot. Also close by is the government museum. ASI has taken over two tombs and used them to store and exhibit artefacts of various kinds from different periods of time. But there are few things which are of special interest.. objects used by the legendary Meadows Taylor. Artefacts such as his chair, palanquin, dressing table, study table and many more wooden furniture. Sadly the objects were covered in layers of dust and in careless state. I wish they keep them covered during off hours. Sad part is the museum staff does not allow photography :( I wonder what their secrecy is about.



Unknown said...

I'm learning a lot about the ancient past and architecture by your post Sid. It's very interesting!!

siddeshwar said...

Thank you, buddy :)

Do check out blogs of fellow bloggers, you'll get to see many more interesting spots of our nation.