Friday, February 17, 2012

Chaukandi is a compound Hindi word, meaning a four storeyed building. Although the building itself is double DSC03217storeyed, the term has been applied as it is situated at a high ground and reached by a flight of steps. Hadrat Khalil-Ullah was the son of Shah Nimat Ullah Kirmani, and as mentioned in of the posts, the former came over from his native place to Bidar in 1431 AD during the reign of Allauddin Shah Wali Bahmani and his sons were married to the royal princesses.

The Chaukhandi has three graves in the main vault and several others in the corridor. The tomb is approached from the road which goes from the Dulhan Darwaza to the Bahmani DSC03220tombs. To approach the outer gateway of the tomb, the visitor has to ascend a flight of steps and walk across a long pavement which has intermediate steps. There is a pleasing façade at the end of the pavement, comprising of an arch in the middle and a parapet of trefoil pattern at the top of the wall. The arch has a stilt at the top showing Persian influence. There is a panel with medallions of stucco work and contains the names of Allah, Mohammed and Ali written in the Kufic script but arranged in the Tughra style.

DSC03219Just outside the gateway, there is a hall to the left which is barred for entrance. It has three arches and its ceiling is divided into three compartments built across its width, each compartment containing a vault. The upper hall of this building was originally used by musicians, who played on trumpets and drums at the four watches to maintain the ceremonial dignity of the shrine. Passing through the gateway, the visitor has to ascend some steps to reach the passage. On either side of the passage at this stage are a large DSC03222number of graves belonging to Shah Khalil-Ullah and his successors. From here, there are again a fleet of stairs after which we reach the building.

The Chaukandi appears to have been designed by the same architect who planned the tomb of Sultan Allauddin, for there is much in common in the decorative schemes between the two. However, their ground plans are different as the Chaukandi is octagonal unlike the other which is square. DSC03226The walls of the Chaukandi were originally decorated with encaustic tiles, the trace of which are found only in a few places. Black stone borders have been done for the this tomb as well as we had seen on the tomb of Sultan Allauddin. There are arches on two levels which is again a similarity of DSC03229the two buildings. The walls are built of black trap masonry laid in lime and they are very massive in construction.

The interior of the tomb is approached by a covered passage from the arch facing South. The tomb of the saint, which is built in the middle of the interior of the Chaukandi, as a square plan externally and an octagonal plan internally. The walls are decorated with stucco work both inside and outside. In later times, separate vaults have been built for the graves of the descendants of Shah Khalil-Ullah, one of which is attached to the Chaukandi itself and and may be noticed in the form of a projection to the east of the passage. Over the doorway of this vault the date of 1675 AD. is carved which show that it was built after the conquest of Bidar by Aurangzeb in 1658. Inside the vault, there are 9 graves. The beautiful inscription in the Thulth style if writing which beings from the main doorway of the Chaukandi is continued till the inner corridors. It was designed by a calligraphist of Shiraz named Mughith.

DSC03230To the east of the Chaukandi, until some 70 years ago, stood a tomb which has since perished completely, but photographs of its exterior and interior were fortunately taken by the Archaeological Department in 1917. It was not of large dimensions but had distinctive decorative features which made the building picturesque.

The Chaukandi, apart from its lofty position, which has made it a prominent feature in the panorama of Bidar, possesses certain architectural merits placing the monument among the best constructions of the Bahmani period. It is now denuded of much of its splendor, but its stately arches, neat carving, and magnificent calligraphy and artwork show the highest quality of Bahmani architecture, which probably reached during the reign of Sultan Allauddun, whose own tomb as similar decorative features as the Chaukandi.


Team G Square said...

Wow , nice detailed post ....

picture said...

So good...

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