There would have been a rival to the Gol Gumbaz just 5 km from it had Jahan Begum’s wishes been fulfilled. Jahan Begum was the wife of Muhammad Adil Shah, the man for whom the Gol Gumbaz was built. She founded a suburb outside the congested city of Bijapur (which at that time was home to 9 lakh people) just beyond the outer fort walls but close enough to take its protection. She named it Jahanama but it is today known as Ainapur.  The unfinished tomb of Jahan Begum dominates the landscape. Only the first few storeys of the four corner towers which were completed survive. A few complete arches frame the raised platform on which rests the beautifully carved cenotaph of the queen along with smaller cenotaphs (maybe of her close relatives). The cenotaphs are made from black granite are polished smooth and are open to the sky. The actual burials are located in a vaulted chamber below and can be accessed from the northern entrance.  There is a mosque in the same compound and is used by the villagers. The stepped wells around the mausoleum wear a desolate look and one can only imagine the landscape that was planned. Walking around the ruined incomplete structure, I am in awe of the queen who attempted to have a mausoleum for herself in a time when only the ruling king commissioned one for himself. Usually queens, princes and princesses were buried in the mausoleums commissioned by the King so it is surprising that Jahan Begum chose to have her own mausoleum. Unfortunately the locals don’t know anything about this monument and I couldn’t find out why the mausoleum was not completed.

The ruins of Jahan Begum’s Tomb dominates the landscape

A short distance from the tomb of Jahan Begum is the ruins of her garden palace built in the midst of what was her landed estate. It is a single-storeyed structure with stairways leading to an open terrace though the ceiling of the first floor has collapsed.  Three spacious rooms with arched windows and jaalis still survive in the ground floor around a veranda. The palace has an arched façade just like the Gagan Mahal in Bijapur and Sangeet Mahal in Nauraspur. This palace is perhaps the only surviving example of the living quarters of the Adil Shahis.

Facade of Jahan Begum’s Palace

The next time you are in Bijapur, hire an auto or drive from Gol Gumbaz to Ainapur. It is located off the Bijapur-Sindagi state highway. The woman who dared to commission a mausoleum for herself, that too along the lines of her husband’s magnificent one deserves a visit in her forlorn mausoleum. You can also visit Kumatgi which is about 10 km from Ainapur and was the royal resort of the Adil Shahis. It houses pleasure pavilions and interesting hydraulic devices. The tomb of Ein-Ul-Mulk is just 2 km from Ainapur and many believe it served as a prototype for the Gol Gumbaz.

This article was published in Spectrum, Deccan Herald on 28th February, 2017. DH Article


2 thoughts on “Jahanama – The Legacy of the Ambitious Queen

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