There, a brief but bright lightning far away and on my right side. One more, this time slightly closer and in the front. And as I press the accelerator, dry leaves fly on to my path and get illuminated in front of the headlamps. The winds are picking up and I can feel the crosswinds on my steering wheel. Most probably an end of summer thunderstorm. It has been dark for some time now and this stretch of road is narrow, as it passes through a reserve forest. Bad time and place to get caught in rains!
And my desk phone rang. It was the client. Damn! I was day-dreaming, again, lost in my thoughts as I stared at my desktop monitor. As if I had been teleported to one of the scenes from my recent solo road-trip.
A scene which looked like this!
This happens every time I come back from a trip. As if my heart stays outside the city limits, and refuses to come back in with me. And then, it keeps calling me to get out on my next trip!
This one was a long weekend road-trip. Long weekends are meant for travel, because I have recently realized that sleeping is too lazy. I realize things late, like thirty-odd-years late. Anyways, I thought of taking Pearl (that’s what I call my Scorpio; and yes, it is perfectly normal behavior!) out to stretch her legs a bit. And when you take a Scorpio out to stretch its legs, the most important thing it needs is leg room. My Pearl is no different! I decided 400kms one side was just enough leg room Pearl would need for stretching. So, Bijapur it was!
For starters, Bijapur (presently known as Vijayapura, in Karnataka, India) was the erstwhile capital of the Adil Shahis, one of the five Sultanates that the Bahamani kingdom broke into. It will not be an exaggeration if I call Bijapur as the “City of Domes”, because of the hundred odd small and big domes that dot the city’s skyline.
I have been reading about history of ancient and medieval India for some time now. It fascinates how (un)related events of India of the past that shaped up the India of today, are (conveniently) ignored by our history books. Few weeks ago, I had written a small piece on drawing parallels during medieval India, and called it “Drawing Parallels”. You can read it here.
The reason I chose Bijapur was because of the role it played in our history that shaped our present. After all, Adil Shahis of Bijapur stayed sovereign for two centuries. The same two centuries when Vijayanagara to the south, the Marathas to the west and the Mughals to the north were vying for control of the same piece of land.
Join me in a series of posts titled “Dome Diaries”, in the coming days. I will try to comprehend the later Adil Shahis of Bijapur, and their fascination for grand mausoleums, architectural marvels that are Gol Gombuz and Ibrahim Rouza, discover their religious inclinations (Adil Shahi rulers came from both sides of the Muslim community – the Shias and the Sunnis), and if possible, also their diplomacy and military might.
In frame: A narrow stretch of empty road lit by my car’s headlamps and shot on mobile (No! I was not using the mobile while driving). This stretch of road was between Kalaburgi (Gulbarga as it is presently known), Karnataka and Hyderabad, Telengana, in India.
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© Amrit Panigrahy. All rights reserved.