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Malik Rihan Darga, Sira

LOCALITY: Sira (Lat. 130 44' N; Long. 760 56' E)

The foundation of the town and the fort is attributed to Rangappa Nayaka, a chief of Ratnagiri, during post¬ Vijayanagara period. Before the fort was completed, the region was conquered by Ranadulla Khan, a commander of the Adil Shahis of Bijapur. Malik Hussain who was appointed as provincial governor by the Adil Shahis, completed the fort and enclosed the town with mud walls. He was also responsible for constructing a palace at this place. The capture of Bijapur by Aurangazeb in 1687 was followed by the conquest of this region and Sira was made the capital of the new province south of Tungabhadra, with Kasim Khan as its governor in 1690. Sira rose to prominence and prosperity under Dilavar Khan (1724-56 AD). Subsequently, it came under the control of the Marathas, and still later under the rule of Mysore kingdom under Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan.  

Malik Rihan Darga constructed in 1651 AD is an exquisite example of the Adil Shahi Darga. It contains the tomb of Malik Rihan who ruled Sira province as its Subedar between 1637 and 1651 AD.  The tomb, square in plan, rests on a stone veneered moulded basement of moderate height reached by flight of steps. The verandah with pointed arches runs around the walled tomb. Paintings and lotus medallions decorate the wall. The eaves are supported by corbelled brackets with drops. The parapets have trefoil design. The small supporting minarets have octagonal shafts ornamented with two storeys of pointed arches. The bulbous dome above, built of brick and lime, is small but elegant, resting on narrow petalled neck and carries finials. A small mosque with two squat minarets situated behind the tomb is said to have been used by Malik Rihan for prayer. The open area surrounding the mosque accommodates numerous burials.