Gol Gumbaz, the mausoleum of Muhammad Adil Shah (AD 1626 –56) which was constructed in the 17th century by the seventh ruler of Adilshahi dynasty located in Bijapur, District Bijapur, Karnataka State is an important monument of Indo-Islamic architecture aptly known for its amazing dimensions and unique acoustic features.
This, one of the most impressive architectural achievements of the Deccan. The tomb is set in a large walled garden, in the Persian style. This path bisects the garden. On either side are ruins of buildings made of dark bricks.
The Gol Gumbaz has a floor area of 1700 square meter, a height of 51 meter and diameter of 37 meters with 3 meter thick walls. The construction of this large tomb took around 20 years to complete.
Another significant feature of the Gol Gumbaz is its central dome which stands without the support of pillars. Also the central dome of Gol Gumbaz is the second largest dome in the world after the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The construction of this building was completed and the deceased king was interred in this building in 1034 AH (AD 1656). Soon after his accession to the throne in AD 1626, the Sultan started constructing this edifice for burying his mortal remains. He was buried in the vast vault beneath the floor along with other family members. The exact position of the real tomb is indicated by the wooden canopy kept on the high platform at the middle of the floor of the hall.
Apart from the burial chambers of Mohammed Adil Shah, his two wives, his mistress Ramba, his daughter and grandson, the complex of Gol Gumbaz also houses a mosque, a Naqqar Khana, a gateway and a dharamshala. The building in front of the Gol Gumbaz has been turned into a museum that contains all the history about the royal past related to Adilshah dynasty who constructed Gol Gumbaz.
The foundation of this mausoleum rests on the bedrock, which has prevented any unequal settlement. Above the basement this building is a huge cube with each sidewall decorated with three arches. The central arch, wider than the side ones, has doorways except on the north,
where a semi-octagonal chamber buttresses the wall. At the corners of this great cube are added seven tiered towers octagonal in cross-section. After the death of its builder further decoration of the structure appears to have been given up.
This edifice ranks among the most imposing ones in India for the sheer monumentality of its massive dome and its floor area. The hemispherical masonry dome has an internal diameter of 37.92 m. The thickness of the dome varies from 3.05 m. near the base to 2.74 m. near the top. The floor area of the monument is 1703.56 sq. m.
At a height of 33.22 m from the floor of the hall, projects a 3.25 m wide gallery, all round the inner periphery of the dome.
This gallery is called the ‘Whispering Gallery’, because even the finest whisper or sound made in it is heard from side to side and even a single loud clap is distinctly echoed over 5-6 times.
You can enjoy the picturesque landscape of the region near Gol Gumbaz from its terrace which can be reached through the steps across the narrow passages.