Have you ever given a thought to the importance of sound? No, not the stereos and the blaring music. We are talking about acoustics, the one field in engineering that is always ignored. These same acoustics played an extremely important role in ancient India.
Read on to learn a little more about the creative geniuses who used the obvious power of acoustics to their strength and architecture.
GOL GUMBAZ-Acoustic Whisper Of LOVE
First, let’s talk about love! OK, I know; I’m deviating from the entire acoustics topic. However, it is necessary to discuss love, for it was the same powerful love that triggered the then Sultan to build this beautiful monument. Gol Gumbaz was built by the Sultan to meet the love of his life, to listen to the heavenly chimes of her anklets while she practiced, and to speak to her clearly, even when they were standing 110 meters away from each other on opposite sides of the dome. This magnificent architecture, my friends, is known for its excellence and is crowned as the architectural wonder of the world.
Situated in Bijapur district, in the state of Karnataka, the architecture was built under the dynasty rule of Sultan Muhammed Adil Shah, the seventh son of the Adil Shahi Dynasty. There are lesser-known facts about this place that we shall dig into!
But before that, let me remind you that Gol Gumbaz is an architectural victory for India. Yes, it is only a tomb, but this wonderful architecture decoded the ancient knowledge of acoustics. It is built as a cube with an extending tomb above it; the Gol at the top is the whispering gallery. It is impressive to see how two rotated squares coincide without the support of pillars.
Gol Gumbaz is known as one of the world’s largest single chambers inside which lies the tombs of the king himself along with his family and his love Rhambha. It is raised to seven stories, and you would need to heave and catch a breath now and then to marvel at the wonder!
- The whispering gallery at the top floor can only be reached after a strenuous climb of 100 odd steps bringing you to the serene Gol at the top. Even if you are 110 meters apart, on the far end of the floor, each whisper, each clap, and each shift of your garment will be heard to the person at the other end.
- The sound waves inside the Gol travel so that they cannot be transferred to the lower chambers. The sound waves are hit by the artistic structures and can be heard only at the top. No matter how much you scream your lungs out, no one on the floors below you can hear it.
Very much like the Taj Mahal, Gol Gumbaz is the epitome of love! It is said that the Sultan used to hold conferences with the ministers of other states in this Gol, and he heard even their slightest whispers. He secretly spied on them and used it to talk to his love Rambha, the dancer.
The Golconda Fort: The Ancient Diamond Keeper
This fort is spread over a sprawling 11 km, with four distinct forts, high walls, the Rani Mahal, the stables, excellent water, and an air conditioning system, all built on a granite hill. To experience the whole of the magnificent fort and redeem the experience is a cumbersome task. Just visiting without a guide would leave you circling the fort, with stone structures and architectural wisdom left unheard of. If you haven’t already heard about this marvelous place, then let me give you an overview.
The famous Koh-hi-Noor diamond and the hope diamond, and other diamonds excavated from Golconda were treasured in this fort as it had an incredible security system. There were no alarm systems or CCTV cameras but guess what – there was absolutely no security breach.
Well, did you know that a slight step, movement, or even a ruffle of your cloth could be heard miles away? The fort consists of four major citadels built with such mathematical accuracy that any acoustical disturbance such as a slight invasion hint could be heard to the highest points.
The ceilings had such exemplary engineered art that the sound in the hallway reached the King’s private rooms. Hence, if by any chance the enemy crossed all the security systems, his sounds were clearly heard in the king’s room, alerting the guards.
So these were the lesser-known facts about the acoustic marvels of India. If you happen to pass by another marvel or would like to share your thoughts on this, the comment column is all yours.