Sunday, March 11, 2012

Rangin Mahal literally means “The Colored Palace”, and this name was apparently given to it on account of its walls being originally decorated with tiles of different hues, traces of which still exist.   It was DSC03505originally built by Mahmud Shah Bahmani and some of the apartments were rebuilt by Ali Barid Shah, who adorned them with wood carving and mother of pearl works. In modern times, this has been used by the local administration, and several portions have been built which not only mar the general appearance of the building, but makes it difficult to trace its original plan. Today, it is completely barred from entrance and is opened only for dignitaries. DSC03529

I badly wanted to visit this building right from when I started planning for the trip. I visited the local ASI office which is inside the Fort and asked for permission, which was obviously turned down. My cab driver came to my rescue. We had chosen a time in the morning even before the ASI office opens. There were two ASI workers doing some maintenance work. My driver went over theDSC03526m and talked in such a way that I was an important visitor and wanted to see the place. They gave up after some persuasion. This incident always make me laugh. There is no detailed information about this building over the internet and i am writing this post after a lot of study and comparing with my pictures.

Access to the building is now obtained by two flights of steps which lead to a landing from which, by passing through some rooms, the interior of the palace is reached. One of the rooms opens on a verandah which is modern  but there are tDSC03530wo halls at the back which are of the Bahmani period. To the south of this hall, there is another which was originally connected by an opening in the wall. This hall also seems to be from the Bahmani period, and may have been added by Mahmud Shah.

From the court, a view of the upper walls may be had. These were once richly adorned with tile work arranged in arch shaped rectangular panels as you see in the picture above. The color scheme DSC03512now visible consists of white patterns on a dark blue background. They must have contained others colors also, however due to extreme weather conditions, they totally faded. The designs consists of floral and calligraphic texts exhibiting a highly developed technique and refined taste. The court has a water channel with fountains and a cistern in the middle.

At the southern end of the court is a hall and pavilion built by Ali Barid. The hall originally had two apartments, each containing five bays. The divisions are arranged by means of columns, which are of woodDSC03513 and most beautifully carved. The designs are both Hindu and Muslim. An interesting feature is presented by the ornamental arches. The ceiling of this wooden hall is also extremely beautifully carved.  The walls of the hall were originally decorated with tile work which unfortunately has been destroyed in the course of repairs done in the recent times, but specimens of it may be seen in the spandrels of the doorway which leads to the royal paviDSC03514lion. This doorway is built at the back of the hall and consist of two arches, one on the outer side and the other inside, with a passage between them. The outer arch is a little larger in size. This arch has a black stone mouldinDSC03515g (of rope pattern type) above the imposts, while below are tiny shafts elegantly carved. In the spandrels are lovely floral designs worked out on tiles, and above the doorway is a Persian verse inscribed on the same. The inner arch of the doorway is decorated with mother-of-pearl work, which, inlaid in jet black stone, appears all the more brilliant. Beyond this arch is a square room which served as an antechamber between the royal pavilion and the hall. This room was also once richly decorated with tiles, which are to be seen now only in some places. The designs are floral, with pink, green, blue and yellow colors – all arranged and contrasted most tastefully. The room besides leading to the royal pavilion, has two more rooms attached to it.

To be continued…

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Once I pass through the naqar khana of the Sharza Darwaza, I see one of the most beautiful sights. An awesDSC03486ome view of the fortifications simply awed me to the core. I am sure that anyone would love that sight. Imagine those days when king was moving inside the fort with soldiers guarding the gateways and the sides. On the left stretches the lines of ramparts with bastions in between and having a passage along the basements for the use of garrison firing at, and hurling missiles on the enemy during siege.

To the north-west, stands the Gumbad Darwaza, which is a most massive structure, the appearance of which presents a striking contrast DSC03494to the somewhat weak and decorative features of the first two gateways. The distance between the Sharza and Gumbad Darwaza is considerable, but they are connected by a broad passage which is well defended on both sides by massive construction. Two to three thousand solders can easily be posted between these two gateways in time of danger.

The architecture of the Gumbad Darwaza forms an important landmark in the history of Deccan monuments. Its battering walls, its low arch shaped parapet, its fluted corner turrets (guldastas), and its DSC03488hemispherical dome are all reminiscent of the contemporary architecture of Delhi, but the shape of its outer arch with its significant stilt show Persian influence which gradually became more and more prominent in the buildings of Deccan. The span of this arch is 29 feet. With a view to greater security, the entrance through the Darwaza is through a recessed arch of much smaller dimensions than the outer one, and is fitted with doors plated with iron. The walls of the Darwaza rise 45 feet, above which the dome is built. You would not believe when I say that the DSC03495thickness of the dome is 10 feet. The interior of the gateway has platforms on either side of the passage for the accommodation of the guards.

From its style of architecture, the gateway seems to be of the earliest period, and it is not unlikely that it was built by Ahmed Shah Wali when he laid the foundations of the fort in 1429. The bastions adjoining the front seem to be later additions built at different periods. We can clearly understand this as they are architecturaDSC03243lly not welded into the main body of the gateway, as they cover portions of the original wall and appear as if superimposed. From the entrance of the Gumbad Darwaza, the first object to attract attention is a Banyan tree which is of great antiquity and at one time was of colossal size. 

To continue description of the fortifications, it will be best to take the road which goes in a north- easterly direction on entering the fort from the Gumbad Darwaza. First you notice a bastion and a tower, perhaps used as a keep as it commandDSC03531s a complete view of the city. I have read that the interiors of the tower is beautifully finished with plaster work but today it is barred from entrance. On either side of the tower, there are remains of halls. At a lower level, there are some rooms as shown in this picture with arches heavy in proportion.

There are various other fortifications and gun points all across the fort like the Kalmadgi Gate, Kalyani Burj, Delhi Darwaza, Petla Burj, Lal Burj, Kala Burj, Carnatac Darwaza. However, I am not mentioning the details of each as it would be boring for the readers. Each of these gates and bastions are formidable and of utmost importance in the fort.

In the next post, we will visit the Rangeen Mahal. I am sure that my next post would interest a lot of people as Rangeen Mahal is completely barred from entrance to public and my post would be an exclusive account.