Friday, January 27, 2012

The next in line is the tomb of Sultan Nizam Shah, which is to the west of Humayun’s. The thought of a DSC03193tomb to Nizam Shah was probably his mother’s as the Sultan was just eight when he became the ruler and ruled only for two years. The tomb is left incomplete due to the demise of the queen mother a few years later. Though small, the walls of this tomb rise to a height of 25 feet from ground level. The external dimensions are the same as the other royal tombs. It is very likely that the architect had initially planned a dome as the structure is massive enough to withstand the load. The exterior of the tomb towards the south has a large arch in the middle which forms the entrance.

DSC03208Next is the tomb of Sultan Muhammed Shah III, entitled Lashkari which is also incomplete. The reason could be even if he ruled for nineteen years, he was merely a puppet in the hands of the queen mother and the two ministers, Khwaja Jahan Turk and Mahmud Gawan. His tomb is almost similar to that of Nizam Shah except that the dimensions of the arches vary a little. It is possible that it had been designed by the same architect. There are three graves inside and one of them must have belonged to Muhammed Shah’s wife.

DSC03207The title Malika-E-Jahan is commonly given to the queen consorts during the Bahmani and subsequent dynasties when they ruled, but here it specifically refers to the wife of Sultan Humayun who played a very important role in Deccan politics during the reign of her minor sons, Nizam Shah and Muhammed Shah III. She retired from State affairs and devoted to religious activities once Muhammed Shah was of age. The Malika’s tomb is a little smaller than that of her husband and two sons. With respect to ornamentation, it has good stucco work which gives a pleasing look. There are four graves below the vault and the one right in the middle of the vault is of the queen.

DSC03211The tomb of Mahmud Shah Bahmani is one of the most imposing structures in the vicinity. He also ascended the throne at a tender age of twelve years. He took control of the kingdom from the de facto rule of Ministers and ruled for thirty six years and probably had his tomb built during his lifetime. His tomb also possesses all the solid dignity of the tombs of the earlier Bahmani kings but lacks in austerity for it does not either have decorative tiles on its outside or paintings inside. The walls rise to a height of 45 feet and strongly support the gigantic dome and are crowned by a parapet of 5 feet.

DSC03212The enclosure walls measure 77 feet on each side and has a wide arch in the center of each wall. There are smaller arches above this arch and this is a common pattern followed all across the building. The dome has an octagonal base on the roof and its circumference at the springing point is 206 feet. The interior of the tomb is somewhat somber with light entering through windows filled with trellis work. Apart from some minor designs here and there, there is no decoration found but the tomb is consistent in its massive and spacious interiors which is a signature of the earlier Bahmani tombs.

DSC03213There are two unidentified tombs in front of this one. They are supposedly of two puppet kings Ahmed Shah and Allauddin who were placed on the throne by Amir Barid in 1518 and 1521AD. Of these two sepulchers, one has a conical dome with eight facets, which are marked by plaster ribs. The interior of the tomb is square measuring only 15 feet. The walls have an arch on each side with a parapet of 2 feet above. The second sepulcher is incomplete. The walls of this building have not been plastered but traces of a tomb were noticed and the building restored by the ASI.

Now that we have completed the Bahmani tombs, we will visit the remaining monument in this place, the very famous Chaukandi.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

We have seen the glorious and massive tomb of Ahmed Shah Wali in the previous post. In this post, we will visit the remaining tombs.

DSC03148To the east of Ahmed Shah’s tomb, but at a lower level, is a tomb which is assigned to the wife of the king. There is no inscription on the tomb and its internal decoration has perished with its usage as a dwelling by the locals. Its architecture is similar to that of Ahmed Shah’s but considerably smaller in dimensions. It must at one time, nevertheless, have been quite imposing as its built on a platform and the walls of the tomb rise to around 28 feet above the Sultan’s own tomb. Inside, there are traces of paintings on the ceiling, but owing to neglect over the centuries, the designs have almost perished. There are five graves iDSC03144n this monument, of which the one at the extreme left is said to be that of Ahmed Shah’s wife.

There is another tomb to the south of Ahmed Shah Wali’s which is said to be of his son Hassan Khan. However, it is very untrue as Hassan Khan was Ahmed Shah’s nephew and was also a rival. So it is unlikely that he was buried at the royal cemetery. The tomb, in view of the above facts, probably contains the grave of one of the two princes Mahmud Khan or Daud Khan, or perhaps both, for there are eight graves inside and it could have been the family vault of Ahmed Shah. From an architectural point of view, this building is not of much importance as it is comparatively very small than the others we had seen.

DSC03196The next one is the tomb of Allauddin Shah, the eldest son of Ahmed Shah Wali. This tomb probably built during his lifetime should have been magnificent in those days with the colored tiles and floral designs. Much damage has been done to the tiles due to weaDSC03198ther and vandalism of curious visitors who plucked the tiles till where hands could reach. The specimens which are intact show pleasing floral scrolls, geometric patterns and calligraphic motifs. The principal colors used were blue, green and yellow on white background, of which yellow was used as a contrast.

The black stone margins and along the decorative panels is a distinctive characteristic of this tomb. You can find these slender black stone bands at the four corners of the tomb where walls join one another. They are not only finely polished but also carved intricately which is very pleasing. The tomb has three doorways and the ornamentation on its exterior may perhaps at one time have given the same impression of splendor and glory as is produced by the tile decorated walls of the Dome of the DSC03194Rock at Jerusalem. The name of the King with his title was given in the band of tiles above the southern doorway, but except the word Sultan everything else has perished.

The ceiling of the dome was originally painted, and a few fragments of them can be traced here and there. The interior of the tomb seems to have been used roughly by some uncultured people causing damage not only to the paintings, but also to the pDSC03201laster on the walls. They unfortunately destroyed the sarcophagus over the grave and this has been rebuilt by the Archeological Survey of India.

Situated next to the one of Allauddin Shah, is the tomb of his son Humayun, the cruel. Probably in retaliation to his cruelty, nature showed its vengeance. The tomb was struck by a lightning in recent times and the larger part of its dome and walls have fallen down. The debris of the dome was lying inside till the 19th DSC03205century after which it was cleared by the ASI. The architecture of this building, even though not much pleasing, is different from the ones constructed before, particularly in the arches. This arch construction was later predominantly used in the buildings of Adil Shahi and the Baridi dynasties.

The tomb at its base measures 77 feet on each side externally DSC03193and the thickness of the walls is 13 feet. Steps are built in the thickness of the walls which lead to the roof. The tomb is entirely built of black trap masonry laid in lime, but the upper courses of the dome are built in light spongy brick which float in water. When ASI sent samples of these bricks for examination, it was found that the quality of these is far superior than those found in the Ramappa Temple in Warangal. The construction of this tomb is indeed a new experience and good information to any student of Bahmani architecture. We shall visit the remaining tombs in the next post.