Visit to Gagan Mahal Bijapur
Another imposing structure of Bijapur is the Gagan Mahal, meaning the Sky Palace’. It is a combination of palace and audience hall. The walls are one of the tallest structures of Bijapur. Sadly now the monument is in ruins. But whatever is remaining is very beautifully maintained. Lots of greenery around, so much so that birds have found a home there. I heard plenty of parrots squawking away to glory, it is difficult to comprehend the fact that the ruin is amidst this beautiful surroundings.
Note that there is another Gagan Mahal in Anegundi, Hampi, so the name can be confusing.
This impressive monument was built by Ali Adil Shah I around 1561. The building then was used as royal residence and also as the Durbar Hall. Today just this 21m facade remains. The ceiling is no longer there and admission to the crumbling rooms which was the private residence of the King and in the higher floors is not permitted.
Gagan in Hindi means sky, the view from arched windows may be the reason for such a name. In its present state, with the roof gone the name seems to suit it even more. The palace is believed to have belonged to queens. Several factors there indicate that it was residence of Queens. This was maintained well by the rulers like Ibraham Dil Shah, Muhammad Adil Shah, and Ali Adil Shah during their regime.
Architectural Details of Gagan Mahal
The picture below is that of the main arch. It is the tallest and broadest in the whole of Bijapur, 66ft tall and 56ft broad. The platform where performances took place too is huge.
The Durbar hall in the ground floor of the structure has been rightly compared with an Opera stage set. Four to five centuries back, this place echoed the sounds of musicians’ notes and the dancers’ anklets. Today it is the cacophony of horns of vehicles plying all around this Palace.
How to Reach Gagan Mahal Bijapur
The address is:
DC Office Rd
Vijayapura, Karnataka 586101
It is an open park within the Bijapur city accessible by several roads.