The Afzalpur monuments

The Afzalpur monuments

In Kalaburagi

Maqsood Afzal Jagirdar, an advocate, uses money from his own pockets to protect and beautify a monument.

He travels from Kalaburagi to the nearby panchayat town Afzalpur, on River Bhima’s banks, every fortnight, and supervises the monument’s maintenance.

He walks the zig-zag narrow streets to reach the Mahal, built in 1652 AD.

He knows it’s an Indo-Islamic icon of significance, not just for its obvious beauty, but also because it came up during the time of  the celebrated commander-in-chief of the Adil Shahi’s dynasty, Afzal Khan. 

Spatial specifics

The premise of the monument has a northern-facing entrance, a sitting facility called katta, and just after the entrance, there is a stone bastion.
The mosque is situated towards the west, and in the east is a cenotaph of royal ladies and wives of Afzal Khan, and between this lies a fountain pond.
The water is supplied through a canal system that Afzal himself drew from a lake nearby. The bulbous domes of the mosque are framed by clusters of slender domical turrets and pinnacles of varying heights.

At the base, four main pillars are engraved with lotus flowers in Indo style, while the ceiling and the minarets are done in Islamic style. There are floral and geometric designs on the outer wall of the black stone, while floral stucco-work adorns the interior walls. Towards the south is a ruined palace of Afzal Khan, where he enjoyed his life with his family.

“No one talks or understands Afzal Khan’s life anymore,” the advocate, also the president of Afzal Khan Memorial Trust, rues. 

Afzal Khan was born in Afzalpur Takiya of Bijapuri n 1601. Out of the 150 commanders-in-chief during the Adil Shahi’s rule of 200 years, Afzal Khan stood tall, he who extended the territory of Adil Shahi rulers up to Jingi in Tamil Nadu. He owed his success to his interest in being a patron of art and architecture.

He built several monuments in Gogi, Shahapur in Yadgir district, Kadechur in Raichur district, and Raichur city and Rahimatpur in Karad district in Maharashtra. Apart from building Afzalpur in Kalaburagi, which is supported by the French traveller Abbe-Carre’s narration in 1671 AD, he also founded Afzalpur Takiya at Vijayapura, Afzalabad Peth at Shahapur, and also Afzalpur in Raichur district. 

The irrigation system at Vijayapura — as supported by Begum Talab (lake), Afzal Sarovar and Muhammad Sarovar — and a dam at Afzalpur are also a matter of concern, as they are vital in providing water to the lands and the city. Many wells in Kalaburagi and Vijayapura were constructed under the supervision of Afzal Khan.

Much to be done

Knowing this is not enough for Maqsood Afzal Jagirdar. He speaks about Afzal Khan’s passion for art and architecture in national conferences and seminars throughout the country. 
He plans to make a documentary and publish a book based on the commander-in-chief’s life.

Eminent historian Dr Abdul Gani Imaratwala, who visited the monument with Klaus Roetzer of France and Peter Cluster of Netherlands in 2012 and 2015 respectively, and Prasad, the principal advisor of National Conservation of Heritage Network, Bengaluru, have expressed their pleasure in monument’s new look, thanks to the renovation done using gypsum powder.
The grandeur was possible because the ruler encouraged local artisans to cultivate their style.  One of the rare stone carvings on a mosque wall is the war horse, known to represent progress.

The glory of the towns in North Karnataka  waned with the decline of Bahmani Dynasty, although the Barid Shahi and Adil Shahi kings kept up their beauty during their chequered rule.

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