Vijapura (Bijapur)

 

... deluxe sleeper bus to Bijapur (now Vijapura) ... toll motorway, but also long sections under construction ... met a newly-wed couple on their honeymoon to Bangalore, both electronic engineers, handsome and obviously in love, who said that 22 January was a historic day ... I didn't have time to go any further in the discussion, too bad, it would have been very interesting ... but we're still only at the start of the trip ...

 

 

 ... in Vijapura (Bijapur) stands the Gol Gumbaz, the tomb of Mohammed Adil Shah, the 7th Sultan of Bijapur (reign 1627 - 1657) and members of his family.
... its dome is the 2nd largest in the world (38 m in diameter), the largest being that of St Peter's Basilica in Rome (42 m).
... sober architecture, but a real feat for its time; the vast room where the tomb is located is flanked by 4 towers in which narrow staircases give access to the "whispering gallery". By standing diametrically opposite each other, we can whisper a conversation, in theory, but the crowds of tourists and their shouts and sometimes howls prevent us from enjoying this amazing experience...

 

 

 ... the city's other outstanding monument is Ibrahim Rouza, the mausoleum of Sultan Ibrahim II Adil Shah (reigned 1580 - 1627) originally intended to be his wife's, but he died before her and was therefore the first occupant ...
... an admirable work of delicate chiselling, with slender minarets 24 m high.

 

 

The town is dotted with ancient remains, abandoned palaces and/or religious buildings, overgrown with vegetation, where young people gather in the evenings to chat or play cricket...

 

 

 

Bidar

 

We were supposed to go to Badami, but we'd forgotten about the calendar: at weekends, the Indians move around a lot and occupy most of the hotels and guesthouses.
To avoid finding ourselves in an embarrassing situation, we preferred to postpone our stay in this magnificent place.


... I looked for somewhere we could go to leave Vijayapura (Bijapur) and found a small town (population 400,000) in the north-east of Karnataka, Bidar, far from the most popular destinations, but very interesting all the same...

 

 

So this morning, we headed for the bus station (bus astation) in a tuk tuk (yes, motor rickshaws have also changed their name) ... as luck would have it, we were immediately able to board an almost empty bus, placing our luggage in the "luggage rack" above our heads before the bus filled up ... only half! ...only half full!!!...bus postulating retirement (or active retirement?!), creaking on all sides, with shock absorbers that no longer cushioned much and aided by exhausted suspensions ... but it didn't last long, we're in India after all ... amazing !!! 4-hour drive to Kalaburgi (Gulbarga) where we have just enough time to jump on another bus for a 2-hour drive to Bidar ...

 

 

... numerous wind farms ...


... all along the way, we come across norias of small tractors "bedecked" and backfiring, pulling 2 to 4 small trailers laden to overflowing with sugar cane or, at the side of the road, lorries loaded with cotton: it's harvest time ...
... "mother India !!! ... it's only in the centres of megalopolises like Mumbai (and even then) that you can feel 'positive modernity', elsewhere it seems to me to be almost worse than before, despite smartphones that look like robotic transplants ... I think 99% of Indians have one and never leave it, heads down, eyes glued to their screens ... almost a billion and a half inhabitants ... what a manna for the operators!

 

 

... from the exit of one town to the entrance of the next, there is hardly a stretch spared by waste, with plastic packaging dominating of course ... every town is in fact a traffic jam!
... construction sites everywhere, frenetically digging, building, demolishing, bustling to keep the big machine running, launched by Mr Modhi as Jean Michel calls him...

 


While looking for a place to have a coffee, we met Dicksha, who is studying for a bachelor's degree (bac+3) in education sciences and intends to become a teacher. She was accompanied by one of her friends, a business student, both aged 21... very cheerful and curious about everything, they helped us discover these magnificent places with a great deal of kindness and humour. 
she came to pick us up at the hotel around 2pm ... one of her acquaintances is a tuk tuk driver and it was he who gave us a lift to the fort, to the tomb of Ahmad Shah Wali Bahamani and Chaukhandi, the tomb of Khalil-Ullah, Ahmad Shah's tutor ...
... Sultan Ahmad Shah I of the Bahmanid dynasty moved his capital from Gulbarga to Bidar in 1427 and built his fort with a number of Islamic monuments ...
... the fort is 1.21 km long, 800 m wide and covers an area of 5,448 km2, just to give you an idea of its gigantic size!

... on the way back, she invited us to tea at her house and introduced us to her mother, a biologist (her father died when she was 4) and her 4 brothers and sisters ... it all ended with dinner, as was to be expected ... a very relaxed atmosphere in this middle-class family, which is united and very attached to tradition despite everything ...

 

on the right Dicksha, with her friend

 

Badami

back to Bijapur and we "catch" a train at 5pm which takes us to Badami where we arrive late at night ... I had memories of a tiny station set in the middle of the countryside with tongas (small horse-drawn carriages) waiting for travellers to use them on a narrow, dusty road ... no more tongas and a paved road has replaced the track of our memories ...
... the site is still as beautiful as ever, but the little town, like all the others, has become unrecognisable ...

 

... what's your name ? ... which country come from ? ... usual, isn't it ? ... to which are now added photos ?! ... selfies ?! like injunctions ... a few small remarks :
- no more smokers: since our arrival I must have seen 3 or 4 bedee smokers, that's all!
- none of this constant harassment for rupees or pens either
... on the other hand, the noise level (horns & music) has increased considerably, as has the amount of rubbish scattered everywhere, along the roads as well as in town, but this is obviously linked to population growth ...

 

 

... from 540 to 757, Badami, under the name of Vatapipura, was the capital of the immense Chalukya empire. It was during this period that the cave temples were carved out of the cliffs ...

 

... these same cliffs that now attract climbers from all over the world, there's even a climbing school.

... just for fun, watch this video of the incredible performance of Koti Raj Chitradurga (click here) one of the instructors at this school...