Mehtar Mahal, Bijapur.
Photographer: Dwyer, J.
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph by J. Dwyer of the Mihtar Mahal in Bijapur, Karnataka, from an album of 40 prints taken in the 1860s. The old walled city of Bijapur contains some of the finest examples of Islamic architecture in the Deccan. The Adil Shahi dynasty ruled parts of southern India from the late 15th to the late 17th centuries, with their capital in Bijapur. The dynasty was founded by the governor of Bijapur, Yusuf Adil Shah, of Persian origin, who broke away from the declining Bahmani kingdom of the Deccan. Rulers of the dynasty such as Ibrahim Adil Shah II (1579-1627) were great patrons of art and architecture. The Adil Shahis were constantly involved in struggles for hegemony with the other Muslim states of the South. They also came under pressure from the Mughal rulers who were extending their rule into the Deccan.
Finally Bijapur fell to Aurangzeb, after which its importance faded. The early 17th century Mihtar Mahal, though modestly sized, is one of the city's most beautiful structures. A gateway leading to the Mihtar Mosque, the graceful three-storey building is surmounted by two slender minarets and covered with delicately carved birds and rows of swans.