Vijayapur city, formerly Bijapur, is the district headquarters of Bijapur District of Karnataka state. It is also the headquarters for Bijapur Taluka. Bijapur city is well known for its historical monuments of architectural importance built during the rule of the Adil Shahi dynasty. Bijapur is located 530 km northwest of Bangalore and about 550 km from Mumbai, and 384 km west of the city of Hyderabad.
Bijapur urban population as per 2011 census is 326,000, perhaps the 9th biggest city in Karnataka. Vijayapura Mahanagara Palike(VMP) is the newest Municipal Corporation formed under the KMC act along with Shivamogga and Tumakuru Municipal Corporations. The other existing city corporations in Karnataka state in descending order of population are Bengaluru, Hubballi-Dharawada, Mysuru, Kalaburgi, Belagavi, Mangaluru, Davangere and Ballari. Administratively, Bijapur district comes under Belgaum division along with Bagalkote, Belgaum, Dharwad, Gadag, Haveri and Uttara Kannada (Karwar) districts.
Bijapur, the land of five rivers and the domain of different cultures, is an ancient city. The city established in the 10th and 11th centuries by the Chalukyas of Kalyani was known as Vijayapura (City of victory). Bijapur was the biggest district place of the state with 11 taluks, but after forming bagalokote new district in 1997 Now it consists of five taluks viz. Basavan Bagevadi, Bijapur, Indi, Muddebihal and Sindagi.
In 1518, the Bahmani Sultanate split into five splinter states known as the Deccan sultanates, one of which was Bijapur, ruled by the kings of the Adil Shahi dynasty (1490–1686). The city of Vijayapura owes much of its greatness to Yusuf Adil Shah, the founder of the independent state of Bijapur. The rule of this dynasty ended in 1686, when Bijapur was conquered during the reign of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. In 1724 the Nizam of Hyderabad established his independence in the Deccan, and included Bijapur within his dominions. In 1760, the Nizam suffered a defeat by the Marathas, and ceded the region of Bijapur to the Maratha Peshwa. After the 1818 defeat of the Peshwa by the British in the Third Anglo-Maratha War, Bijapur passed into the hands of the British East India Company, and was assigned to the princely state Satara.
Bijapur district is historically, traditionally and legendarily, one of the richest districts in the state. The evidence found here reveals that it was an inhabited place since the Stone Age. Many places of this district have legendary history. The history of this district is divided into four periods, from the Chalukya acquisition of Badami till the Muslim invasion.
The place is an important tourist place in the country, the former capital of the Adilshahi dynasty, situated about 579 km to the north-west of Bangalore. The Hubli-Sholapur railway line traverses via this place. The Kalyana Chalukya kings made it a sub-capital according to an inscription of 1073. It is believed that Jaina Poet Nagachandra, 12th century, had his residence here. The place had old names like Vijayapura, Vidyapura and Mohamudpura. For nearly 200 years from 1489 to 1686, this was the seat of the Adilshahi Dynasty.
Among the other historical attractions at Bijapur, some notable ones are the Anand Mahal, Jod Gumbaz, Jumma Mosque, Sat Manzil, and Jal Manzil. Also among old houses at Bijapur, the most famous is Elavia House ( Nauzer Elavia) which is more than 100 years old.
Bijapur City was also held by Aurangzeb, the Nizam, Savanur Nawab, Satara Chatrapati and finally the British. Foreign travelers like Duarte Barbosa, Varthema, Poser, Mandeslo and Travernier visited this place.
The Ibrahim Rauza and the Gol Gumbaz are the most impressive monuments at Bijapur. A brief survey of spots of note in the city is given below.
Ain-ul-mulk’s tomb and mosque Lies on the eastern outskirts of the city and is the solid structure in square, surrounded by a fair proportioned dome. The tomb belongs to Ain-ul-mulk. Close by is the much adorned mosque and the building is plastered.
Ali Adilshah I’s tomb lies in the south-west part of the City. Ali Adilshah’s Tomb is a simple modest building containing an outer row of five arches surrounding a central chamber and is the earliest royal mausoleum in Bijapur.
Ali Adil Sha II’s tomb is located to the north-west of the citadel, and is housed in a big square roofless structure consisting of incomplete arches in dark basalt. This incomplete structure is 215 feet (66 m) square and on the raised platform stand the incomplete arches. In the centre on the elevated platform are the tombs.
Ali Shahi Pir’s mosque and tomb is a square massive structure, its mihrab is remarkable in some ways. The tomb of the saint is outside the north-east gate of the mosque.
Amin Dargah Is considered as the most sacred in the city and is situated about 1.5 km to the west of Bijapur. The tomb of Amin-ud-din is on the high ground and conspicuous landmark for considerable distance round about.
Anand Mahal Is to the west of Gagana Mahal and in the premises of the citadel stands this two-storeyed mansion. This was constructed by Ibrahim Adil Sha II in 1589, exclusively for music and dance. The roof was ornamented with stucco work. The Ananda Mahal presently is being used by the State for Government offices.
Andu Masjid stands a little away from the citadel to the west of the Jumnal road. It is a two-storeyed structure, upper floor being a prayer chamber while the ground is a hall. There is no pulpit in the mosque and probably it was restricted to the prayer of women. A Persian inscription here quotes that the mosque was constructed in 1608 by Itbar Khan, one of the nobles in the Court of Adil Shai II.
Aras Mahal Is to the south-east of Adalat Mahal and was once a joy resort of Ali II. It is now the residence of the District Surgeon.
Ark-Killa the citadel is at the centre of the city. It is also most important part of Bijapur. Yusuf Adilshah chose it as the site for his fort. The present citadel is nearly circular. Its defenses are a strong wall with several bastions of considerable strength on the south and east.
Asar Mahal on the crest of the eastern glacis of the citadel is the Asar Mahal. In about 1646 it was constructed by Muhammad Shah and was earlier called as Adalat Mahal. The walls and ceilings of the rooms bear paintings of landscapes and various designs. The room of the south side of the gilded hall is a gorgeously painted apartment. These paintings had been whitewashed by the orders of Aurangzeb and later restored. There is a big square tank outside in front of the building.
Aurangzeb Idgah Is a large square enclosure built by Aurangzeb in 1682 after the occupation of the city as a gathering place for Muslims on important days.
Bukhati Masjid is believed to have been constructed by Chandbibi for a moulvi of the Bukhari family. On a door is a Persian Inscription.
Chand Bavadi is a well constructed by Ali Adil Shah I in honor of his wife Chand Bibi in the year 1579. It is at the west corner of the town. The entrance is spanned by a single arch, approached by a descending flight of steps.
Chota Asar is a small building, remarkable for the amount of rich ornamentation in stucco which covers the wall, ceiling and a portion of the façade.
Chini Mahal or Faroukh Mahal is an edifice that consists of a big lofty durbar hall in the centre and series of rooms in the wings. Yusuf Adil Shsh constructed it. For its sheer size and loftiness none of the hall in any other palace of Bijapur can be compared with it.
Bijapur has a semi-arid climate.It is located at 16.83°N 75.7°E. It has an average elevation of 606 metres (1988 ft).
The climate of Bijapur district is generally dry and healthy. In summer, especially in April and May it is too hot; at that time the temperature lays between 40 degree Celsius to 42 degree Celsius. In winter season, from November to January the temperature is between 15 degree Celsius to 20 degree Celsius. Usually the district has dry weather, so the humidity varies from 10% to 30%.