Ruins and still-intact gems of 15th- to 17th-century Islamic architecture embellish old, dusty Bijapur like so many tatters of faded sultans’ finery. It’s a fascinating place to explore, blessed by a wealth of mosques, mausoleums, palaces and fortifications, whose austere grace is in complete contrast to the sculptural extravagance of the Chalukyan and Hoysala temples further south.
Bijapur was the capital of the Adil Shahi kings from 1489 to 1686, and was one of the splinter states formed when the Bahmani Muslim kingdom broke up in 1482. The town has a strong Islamic character but is also a centre for the Lingayat brand of Shaivism, which emphasises a single personalised god. The Lingayat Siddeshwara Festival runs for eight days in January/February.