Miscellany

Guns of Bijapur

The fifth king of the Adil Shahi dynasty of Bijapur, Ali-I, fortified the city in the 1556 AD. The fort had more than 90 bastions. Guns of various sizes and capacities were mounted atop these bastions. But only three or four guns remain atop these bastions; some were shifted to the museum at Gol Gumbaz, while the fate of the other guns is unknown. 

The Malik-e-Maidan (Monarch of the Plains), the largest medieval cannon in the world, can be seen at Bijapur. Some historical records attribute the gun’s presence at Bijapur to Murari Panth, one of the sardars of Bijapur, who is said  to have brought it from a place called Paranda of Maharashtra. This great gun used to have two rings of considerable weight made of a mixture of five metals, including gold. The rings helped in carrying or moving the heavy gun. But until recently, the gun was so neglected that the rings are now missing. 

The Landa Kasab, one of the biggest guns in Bijapur, has also been tampered with and a large piece of its muzzle has been carved out by miscreants. As the path to the gun is not maintained, many visitors are unable to glimpse the gun. It will not be surprising if only a tiny piece of this gun remains for the future generation to see. 

Another huge gun, which was mounted on one of the bastions, has rolled down due to the continuous removal of stones and mud from the fort by people for construction. It is about six-eight feet long and is made of iron. It has Persian inscriptions on the muzzle and appears to be locally cast. It is difficult to reach this spot as one has to pass between the gaps made by encroached houses present near the Allapur gate. This is the pathetic state of the beautiful guns of Bijapur, though hopefully the cause will be taken up before they are completely damaged or lost. 

Salim Dhundasi

Trees with a VVIP tag

The world-famous Lalbagh gardens have trees with the VVIP tag and literally so. These trees remind visitors to Lalbagh of the celebrities who planted saplings here on their visit to the famous gardens.

In the vicinity of the Glass House is a sapling planted in 1955 (on December 13) by the then president of Russia Nikita Khrushchev. The tree, named ‘Pride of India’, is said to be among the most spotted trees in Lalbagh.

Next to the fountain at the right corner opposite Glass House is an exotic ornamental tree, tabebuia argentea, commonly known the golden bell tree which was planted by former prime minister Pandit Nehru who visited Lalbagh in the year 1956.

At a scenic spot located between Glass House and Bandstand, there are two towering Christmas trees (araucaria cookii) apart from the tallest one seen at the same spot. Of these two towering Christmas trees, one was planted by Queen Elizabeth II when the queen visited Lalbagh in 1961 and the other one was planted by Abdul Ghaffar Khan, now as the Frontier Gandhi, during his visit to the City in 1969.

S V Upendra Charya

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