Sep 23, 2017

Aldi Buruj - the largest turret of Bijapur

August 18, 2017
I'd read about this monument in the tourism booklet on Bijapur a year ago and the day to see it finally arrived. This turret was the last spot on our list for the day. We drove through bad side roads of Bijapur to reach the northeast part of Bijapur fort i.e. behind Gol Gumbaz. The turret is truly massive.. much higher than Upli Buruj and greater in diameter in comparison to Badi tope Buruj of Bidar fort. This is the view of it as seen from outside the fort, from the bridge across the moat. As you see, the turret's condition is pretty good.

Another view from the bridge.. the turret is about 115 meters from where I stood. The approach to the turret's base was unfriendly, so before venturing into the chaos, I inquiries with few people. A young man fishing in the moat waters told me the stairway to the turret was closed and locked, no way to reach its top. The second inquiry was with a boy and his sister in school uniform; the boy said that few days back a group of boys had climbed it; one of them climbed the wall and reached the base of the curved stairway, then threw down a rope and the rest climbed holding on to the rope. Not much hope of reaching the top :(

This is the neighboring bastion, seen in the foreground in the previous picture. Check out slots in the wall.. for gunners to fire at enemy forces. Though it looks well preserved in this view, this structure has deteriorated.

Looks like the bastion was damaged when the rampart wall was demolished to make way for the road. However, these ancient structures are still strong, with little care they will make good tourist spots. Check out the circular hole on the right side of the wall. Wondering if its a rain water drain.

I made up my mind to reach the turret for a closer look. Except for the weeds, the surface was fine. View of Aldi Buruj from the rampart wall. On the turret is a semicircular wall.. the cannon swivel stopper. Its confirmed there's a cannon out there but no view of the cannon from here. The cannon is known as Aldi Buruj Tope.

I ventured right upto the structure. The base of the stairway was a good 15 feet from the my feet and not much of a hold too. Even if I climbed up, climbing down would be impossible without a rope or a ladder. Well.. hoping there's another time. So, I turned around to go back..

I was surprised to see people so close by.. I'd not realized them coming up here. They were local folks. One of them said that dared to ventured here after seeing me up here. In fact they had seen me on the bridge and then coming up. It seems he wanted to explore this but never got the courage because of the stories floating about a huge serpent around this spot. It seems they had checked out the base of the turret and found no stairway from there. He said a part of the stairway might have collapsed. Then we spoke of the cannon. I said the cannon might be as large as Landa Kasab Tope.. the young man said no, it a smaller one and it can be seen if moved to higher ground outside the fort. He pointed to a spot close by. I thanked him for the info. If not for them, I might have missed seeing the cannon.

While on the rampart, a view of the wonderful Gol Gumbaz. What an imposing structure.

We drove out of the fort and reached a spot slightly higher than bridge. The cannon came into view :) Yes, the young man was right. The cannon is smaller, about the same size as the cannons on Upli Buruj.. may be slightly larger.

I got two shots, here's a zoomed in view of it. The cannon is well preserved and it has a gunner sight too. Thanks again to those people.

Having traveled the entire day with lot of stops in humid weather was tiring. I just wanted to park the car, check into some place and take a nice cold bath. Pushpa did the searching and we decided on Sabala Heritage Home situated off Bijapur by-pass road. The resort was about 3.5 kms from Gol Gumbaz. We liked the place.. anything was fine from the dusty main streets of Bijapur. The resort owner, a lady was friendly and passionate about farming. We checked into our room, it had a rustic setting. The bed had a mosquito net over it.. peaceful sleep guaranteed. The view from the window had nothing but farm land. A hot cup of lemongrass flavored tea refreshed us. The cold water bath was refreshing. Then it started raining, perfect end to end a day. Dinner was fresh jolada rotti oota, it was home food :) We hit the bed early..

Sep 16, 2017

Landa Kasab Tope - the largest cannon of Bijapur

This is one of the least known monuments of Bijapur. In spite of four visits to Bijapur, no one had mentioned this cannon. I got to know of it from the tourism booklet - which I noticed mid 2016. I'd to wait one year to see this cannon.

August 18, 2017
We arrived at Bijapur from Dharwad around 3-30 PM. We entered the city from Bagalkot side. I'd few spots planned for the reminder of the day.. until dusk. Since Landa Kasab is situated on a turret in the southern side of the outer fort it was our first stop. Locating the spot was quite easy - people in the neighborhood were friendly. So, this is the turret on which the gun rests. It is a protected monument but the government could've done a better job.

First we had to climb a narrow flight of steps to reach the rampart wall shoulder. The cannon comes into view.

Wondering why there's a wall only on the left i.e. towards the fort. Ideally the wall should've been on the right, to defend people from enemy forces outside. May be merlon on the rampart wall shielded the stairway which have collapsed now.

Here we go.. the great gun, its seriously big! Seeing the smaller piece, I thought the gun was broken. On inspection, they were two different guns. It seems, originally there were two guns here.

Lets check out the boss first. Its is about 4½ feet in diameter and more than 20 feet long with a bore diameter of 1¾ feet. Mentally I compared this cannon with Badi Tope of Bidar fort.. Landa Kasab is bigger. Probably the largest cannon in Karnataka. But, definitely the largest I've seen.
Pushpa trying to move the 45 tonne giant :) Check out the hinge shaft.. its is easily a foot in diameter.

The broken gun was relatively smaller. Probably a supplementary gun while the main gun was being reloaded. Reloading guns of these sizes would be time consuming activity as the required material had to be moved manually.

Back to the boss. Lets look at it from a different angle. We scanned the visible surface, couldn't find any kind of inscription on it. Not that we would've read if an inscription was there but for the sake of discovery. Probably there is one, hidden from view. Surely the cannon would have been mounted on a swivel mechanism to adjust the gun towards the target. The floor would be paved with dressed blocks and also there would be a water pit for the gunner to submerge during firing.. it is said that gunner who lit the fuse would submerge in water to escape the heat and shock. The wall in the background is to prevent turning the gun towards the inside of the fort. Such walls can be seen in most of the fixed cannons.

Imagine the firing.. the amount of heat and sound discharged would be immense. Wonder how much time was allowed between a firing and reload.

The two rings around the gun's snout is to provide additional strength to prevent it from cracking up. The front ring is dented, might have happened while transporting the gun from the factory to this turret. The second ring is has an extra twisted ring too. Wondering why the twist. I think the technical term for the second ring is "muzzle astragal."

This has a sight too. This is to help the gunner fix the gun's position accurately on the target. The only other cannon with a sight is the Bara Gazi Tope at Gulbarga fort.

Closer look at few parts; going clockwise. The swivel shaft. Notch with a hole - this could have been for fixing chains to swing the gun. Muzzle astragal and fillets. The ribbed bore. The bore and the lip seems to be lined with harder steel.

A view from the top..

In my experience this is the most impressive cannon!

Check out the largest cannons of Karnataka.