Saturday 22 December 2012

A guesthouse that became a jail

Almost all visitors coming to Bijapur appear spellbound by the monuments in the walled city and go back with memories of the   Gol Gumbaz, Ibrahim Rouza, Malik-E-Maidan Tope and Gagan Mahal.
However,  only a few stay back to take in other sights in and around Bijapur and fewer travel to a place on the outskirts of Bijapur  called Darga.
Darga is well-known for housing the mammoth jail. The huge structure was built by the Adil Shahis and it still stands today as it was built-a magnificent testimony to the building skills of the Bijapuris.
Historians say that the Darga jail, as it is called, was built sometime in 1593. It was initially expected to serve as a guest house for the royal guests of the ruling Adil Shahi monarchs of Bijapur.
The monument or rather guest house escaped destruction perhaps due to the fact that it was situated a little away from the city and much away from the fort.
The guest house had stables within and even a mosque. The nearby tank supplied water to the guest house. The massive structure is surrounded by two walls all round. The walls are high enough to surround the entire guest house.
There are several tombs and small masjids around the guest house which was converted into a jail by the British in 1887.  This makes the Bijapur jail the oldest central jail in Karnataka.
It is better known as the Darga jail. The mosque inside the jail is thrown open to the public during Ramazan festival. During other times, entry is restricted.
The walls of the jail are secure and the jail has not seen much repairs since it was built. The staff quarters within the jail were used a shores stables during the times of the Adil Shahis.
Another monument in Darga worth visiting is the 12th century Sahasrapani Parsvanath temple complex.
This complex is just besides the Bijapur jail. This is a rare Parsavanath idol which has 1,000 hoods over its head.
The most unique feature of this idol is that when milk, honey or water is poured on one hood, it gets distributed equally to the other hoods also. The liquid comes out of the mouth of all the hoods.
This temple was unearthed a little over 110 years ago. The idol of Parsvanath was buried in ash near the temple.
The idol is black in colour and five feet in height, sitting cross legged in Padmasana posture.  A Choubeesi in marble is also consecrated in the temple.
All the idols in the temple belong to the 10th, 14th and 15th centuries. Jain priests conduct pooja from  9 a.m., to 10 a.m. This is called Atishaya Kshetra 1008 Sahastra Fani Parsvanath Digamber Jain Mandir.

No comments:

Post a Comment