Sketching in Bijapur: Gol Gumbaz

After too long I managed to make a sketching trip in India with my aunt (see her sketches at sketchaway). We drove to Bijapur (now called Vijayapura), a Deccan town in northern Karnataka. By road, Bijapur rises suddenly from a landscape planted with millet, pomegranate and grapes. The town’s streets stream continuously with people. Amidst crowds of uniformed school children are farmers in strident yellow turbans. They share the roads with the usual cast of cows and dogs but also horse-drawn carts and bristly, black pigs. Rising above the city skyline, dwarfing the trees and new concrete construction, are old domes of many sizes. Each dome bursts upwards from a ring of stone petals and ends in a tall finial. The domes cap the palaces, mosques, and tombs of the Adil Shahi dynasty. The Adil Shahis ruled from the 15th to the 17th century, and made Bijapur their capital. Under them, the city was beautified with gardens and mosques and equipped with a complex water system. Foreign visitors and traders frequented Bijapur’s many serais. 

With its mixture of old and new, Bijapur is the perfect place for sketching. We roamed the streets and spent time drawing the monuments. I could write at length of the conversations and kindness of people we met while sketching, but I will try to stick to pictures here. 🙂

Bijapur’s most famous monument is the Gol Gumbaz, the tomb of Sultan Mohammed Adil Shah. Its dome is one of the largest in the world and has strange acoustics properties. Two people sitting at opposite sides within it can whisper towards the wall and hear each other perfectly, as if they are side by side. Usually this is impossible to experience as visiting school children fill the dome with screams and shouts, delighted by the echos.


The grounds of the Gol Gumbaz have been wonderfully landscaped by the Archaeological Survey and are filled with shade trees. In a quiet garden adjoining the main compound, we sketched an overgrown ruin with its single minaret.


Besides the Gol Gumbaz is a mosque and small museum. Beyond the mosque, in the distance, other domes are visible above the trees.


More Bijapur sketches to come!


~ by sketchindia on January 12, 2017.

12 Responses to “Sketching in Bijapur: Gol Gumbaz”

  1. Excellent…….seen your work after a long gap.

  2. I’ve always loved your work! Hope all is well with you and your family. If you have a chance send me an email with an update on everyone.

    • Thanks for the response. I thought you belonged to India. I have been following your work for about three years. I visited Bijapur three years ago and did extensive photography for three days. You also need to visit Bidar fort only 250 kms away from Bijapur.

      Also, Mandu, near Dhar, is an excellent place for person like you.

  3. Very nice Mohini. You have found a good sketching companion – you aunt! I remember you sketching with us in Berkeley. Keep posting.

  4. Such a wonderful combination of narrative and images!- love the depth and the scale you have portrayed in your sketches and the Rich narrative about these monuments and their surroundings!

  5. Wow, Mohini…. Loved them! The sketches brings a 3D tone which makes them even more special! Lovely details too including the addition of the flora and fauna..
    Hope you get many opportunities to go with your Masi on such trips!! 😊

  6. Mohini, you should be very proud. The sketches are beautiful and it’s a very well written piece. Best wishes.

  7. Wow, very nice. I think I met you once – working on the Hokusai mural? These sketches are fine work, as are the ones on the Flickr site. You have a wonderful ability with perspective (I know, if you draw/paint what you see, the perspective will be there, but many don’t have such a natural quality with it). And your use of color is excellent as well, especially on the sketches of the shops on Flickr.

  8. These are beautiful!
    I also liked looking back at your sketches of the Santa Cruz harbour, and I hope we see you back here soon. I am going to send this link to Katy to encourage her to sketch during her next 6 months in Argentina.
    Warm regards-
    Julie & Ron

  9. very cool, well done

  10. You had made an awesome sketch of the Gol gumbaz, the color combination & placement is very good. Keep on posting the good stuff.

    Similarly we had written how twitter could be used as the place for making new connections. Promoting your blog & creating a niche for the selected audience. We would love to have feedback on it. Thanks

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