Saturday, December 17, 2011

DSC03084We have talked about the History of Bidar extensively. We shall start visiting the monuments now. The first monument that I visited inside the town is the Chaubara. This is right in the middle of a densely populated area and the traffic that flows somehow reduces a tourist’s interest towards it. However, it was one of the important monuments oDSC03088f the time.

This cylindrical tower is built where two principal thoroughfares of Bidar cross each other. One of them extends from the Fort to the Fateh Darwaza, and the other connects Mangalpet to the Shah Gunj Darwaza. The tower is reported to have built in the pre-Islamic period, but its style of architecture is Islamic, and it was probably constructed as an observation post simultaneously with the other fortifications of the town by Ahmed Shah Wali or his immediate successors. The tower rises 71 feet above ground level and from the top commands a view of the entire area and also the low lands stretching beyond in every direction. The prefix “Chau” in Hindi as well as Persian signifies the four directions, while “bara” in Persian means a fortified place where it means a house in Hindi. The entire structure is most massively built and its shape resembles that of the towers of some of the early mosques of Western Asiatic Countries, notably that of the great mosque at Samarra. The only difference is that the steps leading to the top of the Samarra tower are built along the outer surface of the structure, whereas its counterpart in Bidar has the steps built in its interior.

DSC03089The tower has a circular base, 180 feet in circumference and 16 feet 9 inches in height., with arched niches built along its lower parts. These may have been occupied by the guards who kept watch here, or resorted to  by pedestrians when taking short rests during journeys. The front of the base is disfigured by a police station for a short period, however it was taken down later exposing the full façade of the monument. Simultaneously with the building of the police station, a large clock was installed on the top of the tower. This clock, being somewhat incongruous was removed for some time but now it reappears. This is the plight of some of the monuments of India where either locals or the government departs do not strive to keep their sanctity.

DSC03090The steps which lead to the terrace of the basement start from a door which faces east. The girth of the tower at the terrace level is 114 feet and a space has been left all around it to enable visitors to walk around on foot. However, today the entry to the top is barred to everyone. At this level, there is a winding staircase comprising 80 steps which leads to the top of the tower. The summit is 53 feet above the basement. The entire tower is built of black trap masonry laid in lime and strengthened by circular bands at two places in its height. The dimensions of the tower are no doubt colossal, but pillars of this shape are frequently to be noticed in Islamic buildings of the 14th and 15th centuries in India. We can find pillars like these in the Feroz Shah Kotla Mosque in Delhi, Mubarak Khalji’s mosque in Daulatabad and the Bahmani Idgah in Bidar. The staircase of the tower has an arch shaped vaulted ceiling which is not to be found in pre-Islamic constructions. The tower has four rectangular openings pierced in its walls to let in light and air.

A remarkable monument of this kind is commonly found in most of the cities where there was a Mohammedan rule. I then moved on to one of the most famous monuments of Bidar, the Madrasa of Mohammed Gawan.


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