Malik-e-Maidan Tope (Canon), Bijapur
Next to Gol Gumbaz and Ibrahim Roza, Malik-e-Maidan Tope is the next major attraction in Bijapur. According to my guide Veeranna two such cannons, each weighing 50 tonnes, were made in present day Madhya Pradesh and brought here. One of the cannons got drowned in a river while crossing it.
The body is supposed to be an alloy of five metals and one specialty of this cannon is that it never heats up even in the worst of summers. The bore diameter is approximately 15 inches. Just try to imagine the power of the blast.
Art and engineering join hands to create this weapon. As you see here, an elephant is getting crushed in a lion's jaws. That's supposed to depicts the cannon's destructive power.
The lion face actually looks fierce. The eyes and whiskers add fierceness to the face. Notice the nostril and the ears. Very detailed. The cannon would flatten everything in front of it and leave an open field.
This cannon is installed on the western wall of Bijapur city to defend itself from Maratha onslaught.
In it's glory days the cannon was mounted on a swivel mechanism which allowed it to be turn 180 degrees. There were massive walls on the rear side which acted as locks to prevent the cannon being aimed at the city itself.
It seems the cannon generated extremely loud noise and heat. Only one soldier would remain near the cannon to light the fuse. Once the fuse is lit, that soldier would submerge himself in water to get shield from the cannon's noise and heat. The water pit (white square behind the 3 boys) can be seen in the picture below, now it's kept covered.
Here Veeranna explains the signalling method used those days. A clap close to the square in the wall could be heard 150 meters away at Upuli Burj, a stone tower which gives a commanding view of the entire city.
I forgot the story behind this Moon, Sun and the two lions...
Cannons, even though they are created to wreck havoc, never fail to fascinate me. If you are interested to see bigger ones you have to visit Bidar fort, they are probably the largest in Karnataka. Basavakalyan Fort also has a very interesting collection of cannons and in much better condition.