Friday, 4 January 2019

World’s largest cannon (Bara Gazi Toph). Kalabaragi Fort, Karnataka

Longest cannon, Bara Gazi Toph,  Fort Kalabaragi .Deccan Digest
Longest cannon, Bara Gazi Toph,  Fort Kalabaragi .thehindu.com
Above image: Rehman Patel, researcher, Indo-Islamic Art of North Karnataka, Mohammad Ayazuddin Patel, national award-winning artist, measuring the Bara Gazi Toph (cannon) atop the fort in Kalaburagi (formerly Gulburga). .............................................. 

The Indian subcontinent in the last 2000 plus years had been ruled by various kings, maharajahs, Sultans. Nawabs and finally by the European colonists, particularly, the English who ruled the vast land for more than 200 years.  Hence, India is home to thousands of monuments, both religious and  non religious. The latter includes colonial buildings, forts, palaces along with armory, artillery, etc. Equally, the Indian rulers, especially in the northern states like
Bara Gazi Toph (cannon) Fort Kalabaragi Journeys across Karnataka
Rajasthan and  western  states like Maharastra and Gujarat had lots of formidable forts built and  equipped them with powerful cannons backed by a big army  to defend their land  as  they were vulnerable to raids from the Delhi Muslim rulers and  from the NW frontier states.                              

Longest cannon Bara Gazi Toph (cannon) Fort Kalabaragi,Karnataka YouTube
 The  Bahmani Sultanate, the independent Islamic state  of the Deccan , now part of the present day North Karnataka was no exception to it.  They ruled the land for about 191 years (1347-1538 A.D.)  With the arrival of Portuguese colonists on the western coast of India, the Bahmini rulers  became more vulnerable to raids and attacks by the Portuguese army. So they had kept powerful artillery weapons as a deterrent against the enemies. Sultan Allauddin Hasan Bahman Shah, between 1327 and 1424 of the Bahmani Sultanate, was the builder of The Bara Gazi Toph (cannon) located atop the 14th century fort built by him in Kalaburagi ( formerly called Gulbarga city). It measures 29 ft in length, with a circumference of 7.6 ft and is believed to be the  largest cannon in the world according to three researchers at Kalaburagi Fort, Mohammad Ayajuddin Patel, Rehman Patel and Mohammad Ismail,  who conducted a study on the cannons in the fort  and found the 29-feet long Bara Gazi Toph.

The cannon, is made  of an alloy of (Panchdhatu) - five metals and  measures 2 ft in diameter and is 7 inches thick. There were countless metal experts living in the Bahmini sultanate then. The cannon  had  20 rings on its top portion for its movement. During the war time  it needed twenty soldiers to pull the cannon. Now it is left with only 5 rings and it is due to lack of security on the part pf the government. According to Mr. Ayazuddin,  a national award-winning artist   the weight of the cannon would be 80 tones.

Mr. Ayazuddin Patel, a national award-winning artist  said that according to the Guinness Book of World Record, the Tsar Cannon in Russia is the world’s largest cannon. The Jaivana Cannon in Jaipur in India is said to be the 10th largest cannon. 
The Bara Gazi Toph cannon. which  is 6 ft larger than the Jagadamba Bhavani Toph located at the Koulas Fort in Nizamabad district in Telangana,  was claimed to be the largest cannon in the world in 2013.
The following are the big cannons in the world:
    Tsar Cannon (17.5 feet) 15th century Russia
    Pumhart von Steyr (259 cm) 15th Century, Austria
    The Basilic-Ottoman (732 cm) Turkish
    Faule Mette (181 cm) 15th century, Germany
    Malik-e-Maidan (14.6 feet) 16th century, Bijapur, India
    Dulle Griet (345 cm) 14th century, Belgium, Europe
    Dardanelles Gun (518 cm) 15th century, Turkish
    Mons Meg (4.6 m) 15th century, Scottish, Scotland
    Faule Grete (250 cm) 15th century,
    Jaivana (20.2 feet) 18th century, Jaipur, India


The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the State Archaeology Department have not taken any serious steps to make it a popular destination for the tourists and, for no reason, the largest and deadliest cannon in the world kept in the fort in 
Kalaburagi is in a state of neglect and lack of periodic care. It is the responsibility of the ASI to protect this historical cannon  and take steps to recognize it as one of the longest cannons in the world. It is not properly barricaded, so trespassing by  the ant-social people may ruin the surroundings. A proper roof-cover is a must to protect the cannon from harsh weather conditions.
Three of the longest cannons in the world are in India. The Gulbarga cannon is 29 feet long, Nizamabad cannon is 23 feet and Jaipur cannon is 20.2 feet. It is unfortunate that the authorities concerned  did not take the effort to measure the cannons lying in several Indian forts. Nor have any researchers or historians done a proper study on the historical cannon.
http://cms.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2016/dec/03/the-worlds-longest-cannon-1545187.html
https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/gulbarga-fort-cannon/article16780098.ece
https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/news/state/discoverers-worry-for-the-worlds-longest-cannon/articles
http://www.youngmuslimdigest.com/miscellany/06/2018/worlds-longest-cannon-bahmani-fort/