Gol Gumbaz, Karnataka, India
Set in tranquil gardens, the magnificent Golgumbaz mausoleum houses the tombs of emperor Mohammed Adil Shah (r 1627–56), his two wives, his mistress (Rambha), one of his daughters and a grandson. Octagonal seven-storey towers stand at each corner of the monument, which is capped by an enormous dome. An astounding 38m in diameter, it’s said to be the largest dome in the world after St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
Climb the steep, narrow stairs up one of the towers to reach the ‘whispering gallery’ within the dome. An engineering marvel, its acoustics are such that if you whisper into the wall, a person on the opposite side of the gallery can hear you clearly. Unfortunately people like to test this out by hollering (its unnerving acoustics have the nightmarish effect of a bad acid trip).
There’s also the archaeological museum, with an excellent collection of artefacts, such as Persian carpets, china crockery, weapons and scrolls dating back to Bijapur’s heyday.
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