Saturday, December 10, 2011

It is said that people not only should remember you when lived, but also after death. The Tomb of Ali DSC03031Barid Shah is a fitting example for this statement. Which looks like a simple monument from outside turns out to be one of the most finest examples of Islamic architecture and beauty. As I mentioned in the previous post, there is a two storied gateway which leads to this tomb. There should have been some kind of a pathway, but none exists today and you can only see bushes towards it.

Before we start talking further, we need to know a little about the Barid Shahi dynasty. It was founded by Kasim Barid, who migrated to India during the regime of one of the last Bahmani Kings, Mohammed Shah and later was made as the Prime Minister of the Bahmani Kingdom by Shihamuddin Mohammed in 1492 AD. His son, Amir Barid declared himself the king of Bidar after the fall of the Bahmani Kingdom. However, the for of Bidar was conquered by Ismail Adil Shah of Bijapur and Amir Barid was taken as a prisoner. He was later released and made a DSC03071feudatory king of the Adil Shahi dynasty.

Amir Barid was succeeded by his son, Ali Barid Shah in 1542 AD and the latter had a prolonged stint as the ruler till 1580 AD. Ali Barid’s rule was marked with wars including the famous Talikota war which saw the end of the Vijayanagar Empire. The dynasty came to an end in the year 1619 AD with Ibrahim Adil Shah-II of Bijapur taking over the area. Even though there was not much done during the reign of the Baridi dynasty, it is to be noted that these kings have contributed to architecture and sculpture in the period that succeeded the Bahmani dynasty.

DSC03029Baridshahi structures in Bidar are small but very decorative. Colored tablets, wood carvings and pearl shell work are the hall marks of this style. Scholars have found some kind of a synthesis between the Islamic architectural style and those practiced by the Hindu builders/masons in the Baridshahi architecture. This situation is particularly evident in Rangin Mahal and the the tomb built for himself by Ali Barid Shah. Yazdani explores this issue further, in the context of the tomb built for himself by Ali Barid Shah and Kali Masjid also built during the DSC03028Baridshahi days. Ghulam Yazdani, chief archaeologist of the last Hyderabad Nizam, took a personal interest in preserving the structures and reviving the garden. Yazdani feels that the architecture became more and more decorative/ornamental because of the preferences of the Hindu architects and sculptors. However, he appreciates the attempts at fusion and openness for mutual influences. He contends that the chief characteristics of the architecture of this period are the outcome of the Hindu methods of building and their ideas of decoration. This is a brief account of a minor dynasty which was not politically powerful but had a few kings who were artistically inclined.

The toDSC03034mbs of Ali Barid and Khasim Barid are built in the middle of a 30-acre plot Deccan garden. We will first start with the one of Ali Barid.

A monument of striking beauty, and an ever inspiring work place for students of fine arts, is the tomb of Sultan Ali Barid Shah. The structure is nearly 70 feet high. It has a big dome supported by four pillars. It has a grand pavilion based on a high platform built by green granite and laterite rock.

The inside and ouDSC03037tside walls of the tomb have been embossed with inscribed tiles. Verses from the Quran are written in Persian script all over the building. Weather changes have peeled off some of the tiles. It has a Shikhara made of an alloy of gold. There are some interesting facts about the tomb. Ali Barid, who ruled between 1542 and 1580, had a keen interest in architecture. He built his own tomb, three years before his death. He reserved spaces for his wives inside the DSC03049tomb’s main pavilion. He also built some empty tombs for members of his harem outside the pavilion which is in the south-west corner of the platform having several rows of graves. A Persian style char-bagh once surrounded the tomb of which only fragments of enclosure walls and entrance portals remain.

We can understand the beauty of this construction only when we walk inside. Inside of the dome is laid with colored tiles with verses of Quran written in Persian. Each corner of the DSC03055dome is carved with exquisite carvings on plaster and is a delight to watch. The inner walls are also fitted with colored tiles It is quite extraordinary that this inner beauty has withstood hundreds of years of weather considering the fact that it is open on all sides. Both sides of the entrances are designed with flower panels. We can have a great view of the surroundings from this pavilion, especially the Mosque which we had seen in the earlier post DSC03050and the tomb of Kasim BaDSC03061rid. The latter is separated by a small doorway which is right in front of Ali Barid’s tomb.

The tomb of Kasim Barid is almost similar to the one of Ali Barid. However, we do not find any colors inside the tomb. Kasim Barid, being an earlier ruler probably did not concentrate much on design. The inner design of the dome is exactly like the former but completely plan. Some of the flower designs are very intact and beautiful. There are some other tombs in this complex, which are unnamed and completely ignored. The structure complex needs maintenance as some of its walls are collapsing. Some people have tried to encroach upon the land around the tomb.

This is just the beginning of an artistic journey across Bidar. A little more need to be understood on the later rulers of the Bahmani dynasty before moving further, which we will do in the next post.


Reference: Bidar – Its History and Monuments by Ghulam Yazdani.


Team G Square said...

Wonderful coverage of this place .

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