Sep 30, 2017

Saat Qabar - Sixty Graves, Bijapur

ಸಾಠ ಕಬರ್....

೧೮ ಆಗಸ್ಟ್ ೨೦೧೭ ಧಾರವಾಡದಿಂದ ಹೈದರಾಬಾದ್ಗೆ ಹೊರಡಲು ಬೆಳಿಗ್ಗೆ ಸುಮಾರು ೬ ಗಂಟೆಗೆ ಮನೆ ಬಿಟ್ಟೆವು. ಸಿದ್ದಿ ಈಗಲೂ ಕೂಡ ಕೆಲವು ಜಾಗಗಳನ್ನು ನೋಡಲು ಮೊದಲೇ ಯೋಚಿಸಿದ್ದರು. ಹಂಪಿ, ಆನೆಗುಂದಿ ಎಲ್ಲ ಸುತ್ತಾಡಿ ಚರ್ಮ ಸುಟ್ಟಿದ್ದರೂ ಸಿದ್ದಿ ಜಾಗಗಳನ್ನು ನೋಡುವ ಯಾವ ಅವಕಾಶವನ್ನೂ ಬಿಡುವದಿಲ್ಲ ಎಂದು ನನಗೆ ಗೊತ್ತಿತ್ತು. ಹುಬ್ಬಳ್ಳಿಯಲ್ಲಿರುವ ನಮ್ಮ ಸಂಬಂಧಿಕರನ್ನು ಸಂಧಿಸಿ, ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಸಮಯ ಅವರೊಡನೆ ಕಳೆದು ಮುಂದೆ ಹೋಗುವದರಲ್ಲಿ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ತಡವೇ ಆಯಿತು.ಆದ್ದರಿಂದ ಕಲ್ಬುರ್ಗಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಉಳಿದುಕೊಳ್ಳಬೇಕು ಅನ್ನುವ ವಿಚಾರವನ್ನು ಬದಲಿಸಿ ಬಿಜಾಪುರದಲ್ಲೇ ಉಳಿಯುವದೆಂದು ನಿರ್ಧರಿಸಿದೆವು.

ಇದು ಬಿಜಾಪುರಕ್ಕೆ ನನ್ನ ಸಿದ್ಧಿಯೊಂದಿಗೆ ಎರಡನೇ ಭೇಟಿ. ಮೊದಲ ಸಲ ಬಂದಾಗ ಯಾವ ಜಾಗಗಳನ್ನು ನೋಡಲಿಕ್ಕೆ ಆಗಿರಲಿಲ್ಲವೋ ಅವುಗಳನ್ನು ನೋಡುವದು ಎಂದು ನಿರ್ಧಾರವಾಗಿತ್ತು. ಅದರಂತೆ ಬಿಜಾಪುರಕ್ಕೆ ಬರುತ್ತಿದ್ದಂತೆ ಲಂಡಾ ಕಸಬ್ ತೋಪನ್ನು ನೋಡಿ ಸಾಠ ಕಬರ್  ನೋಡಲು ಹೊರಟೆವು. ಈ ದಿನ ಅಷ್ಟೊಂದು ಬಿಸಿಲಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ನಮಗೂ ಸರಿಯಾದ ದಾರಿ ತಿಳಿದಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಗೂಗಲ್ ಡೈರೆಕ್ಷನ್ ಮ್ಯಾಪ್ ಆನ್ ಮಾಡಿದೆ. ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ದೂರ ಹೋದ ಮೇಲೆ ಅದು ಕೂಡ ಸರಿಯಾದ ದಾರಿ ತೋರಿಸದಾಯಿತು. ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಯಾರನ್ನಾದರೂ ಕೇಳೋಣ ಎಂದು ಕಾರ್ ಕಿಟಕಿ ಇಳಿಸಿ ಇಬ್ಬರಿಗೆ ಕೈ ಮಾಡಿದೆ. ಅವರು ನಾವು ಕೇಳುವ ಮುಂಚೆಯೇ ನಮಗೆ ಆ ಕಡೆ ಹೋಗಬೇಕೆಂದು ಹೇಳಿದರು. ಬಹುಶ ತುಂಬಾ ಜನ ಪ್ರವಾಸಿಗರಿಗೆ ಮಾರ್ಗದರ್ಶನ ಮಾಡಿದ ಮಹಾನುಭಾವರಿರಬೇಕು .. ಅವರಿಗೆ ಧನ್ಯವಾದ ಹೇಳಿ ಅವರು ಹೇಳಿದತ್ತ ಹೋದೆವು. ಸಿದ್ದಿ ಮೊದಲೊಮ್ಮೆ ಇಲ್ಲಿಗೆ ಬಂದಿದ್ದರು. ಆದ್ದರಿಂದ ಸಮೀಪ ಹೋದಾಗ ಅವರಿಗೆ ಜಾಗ ನೆನಪಿಗೆ ಬಂತು. ಕಾರ್ ಅಲ್ಲಿಯವರೆಗೂ ಹೋಗಲ್ಲ ಇಲ್ಲೇ ನಿಲ್ಲಿಸಿ ಹೋಗೋಣ ಎಂದರು. ಸರಿ ಎಂದು ಕಾರ್ ಅಲ್ಲೇ ನಿಲ್ಲಿಸಿ ನಡೆಯತೊಡಗಿದೆವು. ಮಣ್ಣಿನ ಇಕ್ಕಟ್ಟಾದ ದಾರಿ, ಎರಡು ಕಡೆ ಕಂಟಿ ಬೇಲಿಗಳು. ಅದರಲ್ಲೂ ಬಣ್ಣ ಬಣ್ಣದ ಹೂಗಳು ಹಾಗೂ ಸಾಕಷ್ಟು ಬಣ್ಣ ಬಣ್ಣದ ಚಿಟ್ಟೆಗಳು. ನಡೆಯಲು ತುಂಬಾ ಖುಷಿ ಎನಿಸಿತು. ತುಂಬಾ ದೂರ ಏನಿಲ್ಲ ಸುಮಾರು ೨೦೦ ಮೀ ದೂರ ನಡೆದರೆ ಸಾಕು ನಾವು ಸಾಠ ಕಬರ್ ಬಳಿ ತಲುಪಬಹುದು.




ಸಾಠ ಕಬರ್ ಬೇರೆ ಐತಿಹಾಸಿಕ ಸ್ಮಾರಕಗಳಿಗಿಂತ ಭಿನ್ನವಾಗಿದೆ. ಇದರ ಕುರಿತು ಸರ್ಕಾರ ಅಷ್ಟೊಂದು ಚನ್ನಾಗಿ ನಿಗಾ ವಹಿಸಿಲ್ಲ. ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಹೆಚ್ಚು ಜನ ಬರದೇ ಇರುವ ಕಾರಣದಿಂದ ಈ ಜಾಗ ಬಿಕೋ ಎನ್ನುತ್ತಿರುತ್ತದೆ. ಇಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಅರವತ್ತು ಗೋರಿಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಕೆಲವೊಂದಿಷ್ಟು ಒಡೆದಿವೆ, ಕೆಲವು ಬಿರುಕು ಬಿಟ್ಟಿವೆ, ಕೆಲವುದರ ಮೇಲೆ ಕಸ ಬೆಳೆದಿದೆ. ಇದು ಬಿಜಾಪುರದ ಐತಿಹಾಸಿಕ ಸ್ಮಾರಕಗಳಲ್ಲೇ ಕಪ್ಪು ಚುಕ್ಕೆಯಾಗಿ ಉಳಿದುಬಿಟ್ಟಿದೆ. ಆದರೂ ಕೂಡ ಬಿಜಾಪುರಕ್ಕೆ ಬಂದ ಪ್ರವಾಸಿಗರು ಇದನ್ನು ನೋಡದೆ ಹಿಂತಿರುಗಲು ಇಷ್ಟ ಪಡುವದಿಲ್ಲ. ಎಣಿಸಿ ನೋಡಿದರೆ ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಒಟ್ಟು ಅರವತ್ತಮೂರು ಗೋರಿಗಳನ್ನು ಕಾಣಬಹುದು. ಗೋರಿಗಳು ಅಷ್ಟೊಂದು ಆಕರ್ಷಕವಾದ ವಿನ್ಯಾಸವನ್ನೇನು ಹೊಂದಿಲ್ಲ, ಬೇರೆ ಐತಿಹಾಸಿಕ ಗೋರಿಗಳಿಗೆ ಹೋಲಿಸಿದರೆ ತುಂಬಾ ಸಾಧಾರಣ ವಿನ್ಯಾಸದಲ್ಲಿವೆ.


ಗೋರಿಗಳ ಕಟ್ಟೆಗೆ ಹತ್ತಿಕೊಂಡು ಒಂದು ಕಟ್ಟಡವಿದೆ. ಅದರ ಮೇಲೆ ಹತ್ತಲು ಮೆಟ್ಟಿಲುಗಳನ್ನು ಕೂಡ ನಾವು ಕಾಣಬಹುದು. ಅದರ ಕಟ್ಟಡ ಬೇರೆ ಮುಸ್ಲಿಂ ಐತಿಹಾಸಿಕ ಕಟ್ಟಡಗಳ ವಿನ್ಯಾಸದಲ್ಲೇ ಇದೆ. ಮೇಲೆ ಹತ್ತಿ ನೋಡಿದರೆ ಆ ಅರವತ್ತಮೂರು ಗೋರಿಗಳ ವಿಶಾಲ ನೋಟ ಕಾಣಬಹುದು.



ಈ ಕೆಳಗಿನ ಚಿತ್ರ ಗೋರಿಗಳ ಹಿಂದೆಯೇ ಇರುವ ಬಾವಿಯದು. ಇಲ್ಲಿ ನಾವು ಒಂದು ಮಸೂತಿ ಹಾಗೂ ಒಂದು ಟಾವರ್ ಕಟ್ಟಡವನ್ನು ಕೂಡ ನೋಡಬಹುದು. ಇದೇ ಬಾವಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ನೂಕಿ ಈ ಅರವತ್ತಮೂರು ಜನರನ್ನು ಕೊಂದಿದ್ದು ಎಂದು ಹೇಳಲಾಗುತ್ತದೆ.


ಈ ಮಸೂತಿಯ ಕಟ್ಟಡದ ಮೂರು ಅಂತಸ್ತುಗಳನ್ನು ನಾವು ಕಾಣಬಹುದು. ಒಂದಸ್ತಿನಿಂದ ಮತ್ತೊಂದಕ್ಕೆ ಹೋಗಲು ಮಸೂತಿಯ ಒಳಗಿನಿಂದ ಮೆಟ್ಟಿಲುಗಳಿವೆ. ಕಟ್ಟಡವು ತುಂಬಾ ಆಕರ್ಷಕವಾಗೇ ಇದೆ. ಆದರೆ ಅದರ ನಿರ್ವಹಣೆ ಅಷ್ಟೊಂದು ಚನ್ನಾಗಿಲ್ಲ.



ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಕಾಣುವ ಬುರುಜು, ಬಾವಿಯಿಂದ ನೀರು ಸೇದಿ ಬೇರೆಡೆಗೆ ನೀರು ಸಾಗಿಸುವ ಕಟ್ಟಡದಂತೆ ಕಾಣುತ್ತದೆ.



ಕೆಳಗಿನ ಚಿತ್ರದಲ್ಲಿ ಮಸೂತಿ ಒಳಗಿನಿಂದ ಮೇಲೆ ಬರಲು ದಾರಿಯನ್ನು ಕಾಣಬಹುದು.


ಮಸೂತಿಯ ಒಳಗಿನ ಚಿತ್ರ. ಈ ರೀತಿಯ ಕಟ್ಟಡ ವಿನ್ಯಾಸವನ್ನು ನಾವು ಸಾಮಾನ್ಯವಾಗಿ ಬಹಳಷ್ಟು ಐತಿಹಾಸಿಕ ಮುಸ್ಲಿಂ ಕಟ್ಟಡಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಕಾಣಬಹದು.


ಮಸೂತಿಯ ಹೊರಗಿನಿಂದ ತೆಗೆದ ಚಿತ್ರ.


ಅರವತ್ತು ಗೋರಿಗಳ ಕಥೆ....
ಈ ಅರವತ್ತಮೂರು ಗೋರಿಗಳ ಕತೆ ತುಂಬಾ ರೋಮಾಂಚಕ ಹಾಗೂ ದುಃಖದಿಂದ ಕೂಡಿದೆ. ಈ ಗೋರಿಗಳು ಆಫ್ಜಲ್ ಖಾನ್ ಎಂಬ ಸೈನ್ಯಾಧಿಕಾರಿಯ ಹೆಂಡತಿಯರದೆಂದು ಹೇಳಲಾಗುತ್ತದೆ. ಆಫ್ಜಲಖಾನನು ಬಿಜಾಪುರ್ ಸುಲ್ತಾನ್ ಅಲಿ ಆದಿಲ್ ಶಾಹ್ ೨ ಕಾಲದಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಮುಖ ಸೈನ್ಯಾಧಿಕಾರಿಯಾಗಿದ್ದನು. ಇವನು ತುಂಬಾ ಧೈರ್ಯಶಾಲಿ ಹಾಗೂ ಎಷ್ಟೋ ಯುದ್ಧಗಳನ್ನು ಗೆದ್ದವನಾಗಿದ್ದನು. ೧೬೫೯ ರಲ್ಲಿ ಬಿಜಾಪುರ ಸಾಮ್ರಾಜ್ಯವು, ಮುಘಲ್ ಹಾಗೂ ಮರಾಠರ ಆಕ್ರಮಣಕ್ಕೆ ಸಿಕ್ಕು ಕುಸಿಯತೊಡಗಿತು. ಆಗ ೨ನೆ ಅಲಿ ಆದಿಲ್ ಶಾಹ್ ನ ಅಪ್ಪಣೆಯಂತೆ ಆಫ್ಜಲ್ ಖಾನನು ಮರಾಠ ಸಾಮ್ರಾಠನದ ಶಿವಾಜಿಯನ್ನು ಎದುರಿಸಲು ಪ್ರತಾಪಘಡಗೆ ಹೋಗುವ ನಿರ್ಧಾರ ಮಾಡಿದನು. ಆಫ್ಜಲ್ ಖಾನನು ಜ್ಯೋತಿಷ್ಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಅಪಾರವಾದ ನಂಬಿಕೆಯನ್ನಿಟ್ಟಿದ್ದರಿಂದ, ಯಾವುದೇ ಯುದ್ಧಕ್ಕೆ ಹೋಗುವ ಮೊದಲು ಜ್ಯೋತಿಷಿಯ ಹತ್ತಿರ ಹೋಗಿ ಭವಿಷ್ಯವನ್ನು ಕೇಳುವದು ಅವನ ರೂಢಿಯಾಗಿತ್ತು. ಅದರಂತೆ ಈ ಸಲವೂ ಹೋಗಿ ಕೇಳಿದನು. ಜ್ಯೋತಿಷಿಯು ಈ ಬಾರಿ ಯುದ್ಧದಲ್ಲಿ ಸೋತು ಮಡಿಯುವದಾಗಿ ತಿಳಿಸಿ ಯುದ್ಧಕ್ಕೆ ಹೋಗದಿರಲು ಸೂಚಿಸಿದನು. ಆದರೆ ಆಫ್ಜಲ್ ಖಾನನು ಈಗಾಗಲೇ ಸುಲ್ತಾನರಿಗೆ ಮಾತು ಕೊಟ್ಟಿದ್ದರಿಂದ ಹೋಗದೆ ಇರುವದು ಸಾಧ್ಯವಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ.

ಅವನಿಗೆ ಈಗ ಒಂದು ದೊಡ್ಡ ಚಿಂತೆ ಎಂದರೆ ತನ್ನ ಮರಣದ ನಂತರ ತನ್ನ ಅರವತ್ನಾಲ್ಕು ಮಡದಿಯರು ಬೇರೆ ಮದುವೆ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳಬಹುದು. ಇದು ಅವನಿಗೆ ಸುತಾರಾಂ ಒಪ್ಪಿಗೆ ಇರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಅದಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ಅವನು ಅವರೆಲ್ಲರನ್ನು ಯುದ್ಧಕ್ಕೆ ಹೋಗುವ ಮೊದಲು ಕೊಲ್ಲುವದಾಗಿ ನಿರ್ಧರಿಸಿಕೊಂಡನು. ಬಿಜಾಪುರದಿಂದ ಸುಮಾರು ೫ ಕಿ ಮೀ ದೂರದಲ್ಲಿರುವ ನವರಸಪುರ ಎಂಬ ಸ್ಥಳಕ್ಕೆ ತನ್ನ ಮಡದಿಯರನ್ನು ಒಬ್ಬೊಬ್ಬರನ್ನಾಗಿ ಕರೆದುಕೊಂಡು ಹೋಗಿ ಅಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಆಳವಾದ ಬಾವಿಗೆ ನೂಕಿ ಕೊಲ್ಲತೊಡಗಿದನು. ಹೋದವರು ಮರಳಿ ಬಾರದಿದ್ದನ್ನು ನೋಡಿ ಒಬ್ಬ ಹೆಂಡತಿಗೆ ಸಂದೇಹ ಬಂದು ಅವಳು ತಪ್ಪಿಸಿಕೊಂಡು ಓಡಿಹೋದಳೆಂದೂ, ಅವಳು ಯಾವುದೊ ಊರಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಸಿಕ್ಕಿ ಅಲ್ಲೇ ಅವಳನ್ನು ಕೊಂದು, ಸಮಾಧಿ ಮಾಡಿದನೆಂದು ಪ್ರತೀತಿ ಇದೆ. ಉಳಿದವರ ಗೋರಿಗಳು ಆ ಬಾವಿಗೆ ಹತ್ತಿಕೊಂಡೆ ಇವೆ. ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದು ಗೋರಿ ಮಾತ್ರ ಖಾಲಿ ಇದೆ.

ಇದಾದಮೇಲೆ ಆಫ್ಜಲ್ ಖಾನ್ ಯುದ್ಧಕ್ಕೆ ಹೋಗುತ್ತಾನೆ. ೧೬೫೯ ನವೆಂಬರ್ ೧೦ರಂದು ಶಿವಾಜಿಯಿಂದ ಹತನಾಗುತ್ತಾನೆ.

ಇದೆ ಈ ಅರವತ್ತಮೂರು ಗೋರಿಗಳ ದಾರುಣ ಕತೆ. ಈ ಕತೆಯನ್ನು ನಾನು ನನ್ನ ಒಬ್ಬ ಸಹೋದ್ಯೋಗಿಗೆ ಹೇಳಿದಾಗ, ಅವಳ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆ ಆಫ್ಜಲ್ ಖಾನ್ ಸತ್ತಾಗ ಅವನ ವಯಸ್ಸೆಷ್ಟಿರಬಹುದು? ಮತ್ತು ಅವನು ೬೪ ಮದುವೆ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದಾದರೆ ಒಂದೇ ಬಾರಿಯಂತೂ ಇಷ್ಟೊಂದು ಮದುವೆ ಆಗಿರಲಿಕ್ಕಿಲ್ಲ, ಬಹುಶ ಈ ೬೪ ಹೆಂಡತಿಯರಲ್ಲಿ ಮದುವೆ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಂಡು ಒಂದು ವರ್ಷದಲ್ಲೇ ಅಥವಾ ಅದಕ್ಕೂ ಕಡಿಮೆ ಸಮಯದಲ್ಲೇ ಒಬ್ಬ ಹೆಂಡತಿಯಾದರು ಈ ದಾರುಣ ಹತ್ಯಾಕಾಂಡದಲ್ಲಿ ಬಲಿಯಾಗಿರಬಹುದು ಎಂದರು.... ನಿಜವಾಗಲೂ ಎಷ್ಟೊಂದು ಘೋರ! ಎನಿಸಿದ್ದು ಆ ಸಮಯದಲ್ಲಿ... :(

ಅಂತೂ ಸಾಠ ಕಬರ್ ನೋಡಿ ನಾನು ಸಿದ್ದಿ, ಬಾರಹ ಕಮಾನ್ ಕಡೆ ನಡೆದೆವು. ಮನಸ್ಸು ಮಾತ್ರ ಆ ಘೋರ ಹತ್ಯಾಖಾಂಡದ ಕತೆಯನ್ನೇ ಮೆಲುಕು ಹಾಕುತ್ತಿತ್ತು....

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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..
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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.
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Sep 13, 2017

Indian Robin

During our tour of Kakatiyan temple ruins at Warangal fort, an Indian Robin grabbed out attention for a few minutes. The little bird hung around us but maintaining a safe distance. I caught it as it rested on the elephant. It was watchful, turning its head 180 degrees every few seconds, scanning the surroundings for 

 As I know, when perched, this bird moves its tail up and down. But the tail was still, resting nicely on the curve of the elephant head.

Sitting still for a second.

 Did something move there?

See how flexible my neck is. I can look at you with my right eye now :)

 Handsome little fellow.

Besides Indian Robin, there were parrots, perched high up on Kakatiya Thoranas. They were in a small group, playing noisily.
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Sep 9, 2017

Museum at Basaveshwara Memorial, Gadag

Gadag city has one of the tallest statues of Karnataka- a 116 feet tall bronze-finish edifice of XII Century social reformer Basaveshwara. The statue stands next to the city's largest water body Bhishma Kere. This memorial, a government project, was started in 2009 and completed in 2015. Around the statue is a simple garden and in its base is a small museum showing some important events from Basaveshwara's life. The events are depicted using life-size statues and wall paintings. Here we go on a photo-tour of the museum at Basaveshwara Memorial.

A son is born to a pious Brahmin couple Madarasa and Madalambike of Bagewadi, a village in the present day Bijapur District of Karnataka State. The couple were regular visitors to Sangameshwara temple at Kudala Sangama, the confluence of rivers Krishna and Malaprabha. Once when Madalambike was meditating, she visualizes a scene of Nandi entering her womb; when Madarasa hears of it, he feels that Basava (Nandi) will be born to them as a son. The new born infant remains silent for days; the worried parents fearing their child to be deaf and mute. Jatadeva Muni, an ascetic, happens to visit the family and hears about the infant. Jatadeva whispers "Om Namah Shivaya" into the infant's ears; the infant responds by opening its eyes. Jatadeva confirm their child is neither deaf nor mute but he was deep in meditation. On the ascetic's suggestion, the infant was named as Basaveshwara.

Basaveshwara's thoughts as a young boy were different from boys of his age. He was kind to people and animals alike. He noticed the contradicting behavior of people.. they would worship stone images of serpents but when a real serpent was seen, it was killed. He was disturbed by treatment meted to low caste people. Basaveshwara questioned if people were born equal so why the differences.. why were they not allowed into the temples or use well water ot live decently like the upper caste people.

Basaveshwara rescues a friend from drowning in river Krishna. Though soft at heart Basaveshwara was brave and had the courage to help people in danger.

Basaveshwara shunning the age old practices. He rejects the Upanayana ceremony, against the wishes of the community. Basava moves from Bagewadi to Kudala Sangama where he joins the Gurukula and gains education.

Basaveshwara as a young man meditating at Kudala Sangama.

Basaveshwara wanted to remain a bachelor however on his Guru's advice he enters family life. Basaveshwara marries Gangambike, daughter of Baladeva, a minister in King Bijjala's  court in Mangalawad. Baladeva is well off and expects his daughter and son-in-law to live a easy life but Basaveshwara decides to move out and earn his own livelihood. On Baladeva's recommendation, Basaveshwara gets the job of an accountant at King Bijjala's treasury. Later Basaveshwara marries Gangambike's sister Neelambike too.

Basaveshwara's honesty and sincerity impresses King Bijjala and gains his trust. A copper plate inscription is discovered in the king's palace however nobody is able to read the script. King Bijjala calls for Basaveshwara's help; with the help of a mirror the script is deciphered. The script was from Chalukyan emperor Vikramaditya's time; it reveals a treasure buried under the throne. Though many courtiers were against the idea of moving the throne, the king decides to check out the truth of the inscription. On digging up the palace floor, a treasure was found which was placed at Basava's disposal. Basaveshwara utilizes the funds for improving wells, lakes, tanks and roads of the kingdom. At this point, a group of courtiers are bitter and jealous about his growing popularity. Eventually he is promoted to the post of a minister.

One night, a thief entered Basaveshwara's house. Hearing some noise Gangambike got up shouting, “thief, thief.” which woke up Basaveshwara. The thief froze in fear and fell at Basaveshwara's feet. To the thief's surprise, Basaveshwara lifted him up and he asked Gangambike to bring some more valuables who raised an objection to which Basava replied “His need is greater than ours, so give them.” The thief begged for pardon and vowed never to steal again. It was Basaveshwara's way of transforming people with love.
Basaveshwara dining with wife Gangambike and nephew Channabasaveshwara. In the background is a scene showing Sharanas performing pooja to Ishta Linga. The word Sharana means one who has surrendered to Lord Shiva. Sharana's believed in complete surrender to the Lord.

Basaveshwara and Channabasaveshwara with low caste people who were treated as untouchables. Basaveshwara wanted to transform their lives; he advised them to maintain cleanliness of the body, home and surroundings. He made them give up evil habits and lead pious lives; taught them to worship the soul within.

This scene depicts the story of Haralayya and Kalyanamma, a tanner couple who lived in Kalyana. Haralayya and his wife Kalyanamma were part of the Sharana movement. During one of the Sharana gatherings it so happened that Haralayya greeted Basvanna formally saying “Sharanu”  to which Basavanna responded by saying “Sharanu Sharanarthi.” Haralayya was awestruck by Basava's courteous greeting. Haralayya felt that he had committed a grave sin because he had let a great soul like Basava had respected lowly person. To free himself of the sin Haralayya decided to make a pair of slippers from his own skin. Haralayya\s wife Kalyanamma said she had equal right in the deed and she too decided to give join the act. The couple cut off skin from their thighs, tanned and made pair of shoes befitting a minister. When the shoes were presented to Basava, he was awestruck, touched them to his eyes and placed them his head. Basava said the shoes had divinity in them, he could never even think of wearing them and returned them to the couple. Haralayya's shoes can be seen to this day at Bijjanahalli in Kalburgi district.

A conference at Anubhava Mantapa; Basaveshwara, Allamaprahu and Akkamahadevi watched by hundreds of Sharanas.

Basaveshwara witnessing the wedding of tanner Haralayya's son and Madhuvarasa's daughter., a Brahman. This marriage irked the upper caste people and was the beginning of serious trouble for Sharanas of Kalyana.

The high caste people reported the wedding to the king who ordered Haralayya and Madhuvarasa to be dragged by an elephant on streets. At this point of time, the Sharanas detractors had successfully planted the seeds of doubt in King Bijjala's mind. King Bijjala accuses Basaveshwara of financial fraud. Basaveshwara resigns from his post, leaves Kalyana and shifts to Kudala Sangama where he spends his final years meditating and passes away at the Mantapa which is now called Aikya Mantapa.

The high caste people, through King Bijjala start harassing Sharanas. As a result, violence breaks out between the two parties. Eventually King Bijjala is assassinated and the Sharanas are blamed for it. Unable to bear the harassment Sharana's flee from Kalyana; one large party move towards Srisailam while another party led by Akka Nagambike, Gangambike, Channabasaveshwara and Madivala Machayya move southwards pursued by Bijjala's soldiers. The groups clash at Kadrolli near Kittur; Bijjala's soldiers lose the battle. Madivala Machayya is seriously injured and passes away at place near Khanapur in Belgaum district; the village is called Kakkeri. The victorious Sharanas rest at Ulavi Basaveshwara Gudi in Dharwad. Channabasaveshwara attains Samadhi deep in the jungles of Western Ghats, the place is called Ulavi now.

Basaveshwara during his last days at Kudala Sangama.

To know more about the Aikyasthala of the great Sharanas, click on below links-
Akka Nagamma's Aikyasthala
Basaveshwara's Aikyasthala
Gangambike's Aikyasthala
Neelambike Aikyasthala

Sharanu
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