Ibrahim Rauza, Bijapur
“Ibrahim Rauza, the garden tomb of Ibrahim Adil Shah II, was the inspiration for the construction of the great Taj Mahal by Shah Jehan,” our guide very proudly declared. Shah Jehan was fascinated by two structures during his search for an architectural plan to construct a mausoleum for his wife Mumtaj, one was the Tomb of Mandu at Madhya Pradesh and the other was this Ibrahim Rauza.
We were at Bijapur, 525kms from Bangalore. A district in north Karnataka, it is dotted with several sight seeing spots, over 50 major mosques and some 20 palaces, mostly ruined, and a host of tombs and other structures.
Mausoleum of Ibrahim Adil Shah II, the structure in the right houses the tomb and the one in the left, the mosque. Ibrahim Adil Shah II was a visionary king who sought to bring Hindus and Muslims together. He spoke the local languages, had a Hindu temple built in his palace and composed verses dedicated to Saraswati and Ganpati.
The cornices and cupolas, the minarets and parapets, the decorated walls and the beautiful stone windows have become old and worn out, yet they are so beautiful and captivating. The entire structure is over a basement and our guide showed us the secret passages in the basement. Some of the points were closed and are rumored to have treasures. I guess he told us that to see our eyes open wide with surprise. We went through some of the dark tunnels taking care not to knock our head against the sharp stones jutting out from the low ceiling.
The tomb of the Persian architect of this mausoleum, Malik Sandal too was there in the courtyard. His last wish to lie beside his Sultan fulfilled. The arched structure behind the tombs served as elephant stable once.
An inscription on the north door reads, “Heaven stood astonished at this building when its head rose as it were from the earth to another heaven. The garden of paradise has borrowed its beauty from this garden and every column in this building is graceful as a Cyprus tree in the garden of purity. An angel from heaven told the date of building in words `This heart-gladdening building is the memorial of Taj Sultana.“