The legacy of a queen

The legacy of a queen

There would have been an equally magnificent structure just 5 km away from the famed Gol Gumbaz had Jahan Begum’s wishes been fulfilled.

Jahan Begum was the wife of Muhammad Adil Shah, the man for whom Gol Gumbaz was built. She founded a suburb outside the congested city of Bijapur (which at that time had nine lakh residents) in the 17th century.

The locality called Jahanama was just beyond the outer fort walls of the city. Now it is known as Ainapur. The unfinished tomb of Jahan Begum dominates the landscape. Only the first few storeys of the four corner towers survive now.

A few complete arches frame the raised platform on which rests the beautifully carved cenotaph of the queen along with smaller cenotaphs. The cenotaphs are made from black granite and are open to the sky. The actual burials are located in a vaulted chamber below and can be accessed from the northern entrance.

Incomplete structure

There is a mosque in the same compound and is used by the villagers. The stepped wells around the mausoleum wear a desolate look and one can only imagine the landscape that was planned. Walking around the ruined incomplete structure, I am in awe of the queen who attempted to have a mausoleum for herself in a time when generally only the ruling king commissioned one for himself. Usually queens, princes and princesses were buried in the mausoleums commissioned by the kings.

So it is interesting to note that Jahan Begum chose to have her own mausoleum. Unfortunately, the locals don’t know anything about this monument. I couldn’t find out why the mausoleum was not completed. A short distance from the tomb of Jahan Begum are the ruins of her garden palace built in the midst of what was her estate. It is a single-storeyed structure with stairways leading to an open terrace.

Three spacious rooms with arched windows and jaalis still survive in the ground floor around a verandah. The palace has an arched facade just like the Gagan Mahal in Vijayapura and Sangeet Mahal in Navaraspur. This palace is perhaps the only surviving example of the living quarters of the Adil Shahis. The woman who commissioned a mausoleum for herself, that too along the lines of her husband’s magnificent one, deserves a visit in her forlorn mausoleum.

The next time you are in Vijayapura, hire an auto or drive from Gol Gumbaz to Ainapur. It is located off the Vijajapura-Sindagi state highway.

You can also visit Kumatgi, about 10 km from Ainapur, which was the royal resort of the Adil Shahis. It houses pleasure pavilions and interesting hydraulic devices. The tomb of Ain-Ul-Mulk is just 2 km from Ainapur and many believe it served as a prototype for the Gol Gumbaz.

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