Sunday, 31 July 2011

Gulbarga, Karnataka

From being a Hindu city to becoming the capital of one of the great Muslim kingdoms to dominate the Deccan, the city of Gulbarga is steeped in rich history. Gulbarga is a unique confluence of Hindu and Muslim cultures and contains some of the earliest examples of Islamic architecture in Karnataka. Gulbarga tourism has capitalized on these historic monuments.

Gulbarga derives its name from the word Kaliburgi which stands for stony land in Kannada. The Chalukyas of Badami and the Hoysalas of Dwarasamudra were the major Hindu dynasties to have ruled Gulbarga. The first Muslim kingdom came up with establishment of the Bahmani Sultanate in 1347 by Hassan Gangu, who chose Gulbarga to be his capital. 

When the Bahmani dynasty eventually collapsed, the kingdom broke up into the five independent Deccan sultanates, Bijapur, Bidar, Berar, Ahmednagar and Golconda. The present Gulbarga district came partly under Bidar and partly under Bijapur. In 1956 when the state of Hyderabad was partitioned among neighboring states along linguistic lines, most of Gulbarga district became part of Mysore state, later renamed Karnataka, excluding two taluks which were annexed to Andhra Pradesh.

Places to See:

Gulbarga Fort

The Gulbarga fort was originally built by Raja Gulchand, a feudatory of the Orangal Kakatiyas. As Gulbarga gained prominence as the Bahmani capital, the fort was fortified by Alauddin Bahman. 

Jumma Masjid

Nestled within the ramparts of the Gulbarga Fort, the Jumma Masjid bears a striking resemblance to the great mosque of Cordova in Spain. Built by Muhammed Bahmani in 1367, the Persian architecture of the mosque features stilted domes and narrow entrances. The mosque's unique feature is the roof which contains 68 domes that resemble a collection of gigantic pots. Historians reckon that the Jumma Masjid was built to commemorate Gulbarga's status as the Bahmani capital and is one of the earliest mosques in South India. 

Khwaja Bande Nawaz Durgah

The Khwaja Bande Nawaz Durgah, the tomb of the great Sufi saint Syed Mohammad Gesu Daraz (1320-1422), is another major tourist attraction of Gulbarga. One of South India's holiest Muslim shrines, the Durgah is a unique example of communal harmony. The annual urus held at the Durgah is attended by thousands of devotees including both Muslims and Hindus. The dargah library contains nearly 10,000 books in Urdu, Persian and Arabic on subjects ranging from history and philosophy to religion and literature. 

Royal Tombs

Gulbarga features a profusion of royal tombs and mausoleums. A complex of seven royal tombs known as the Half Gumbaz lies to the west of the Khwaja Bande dargah. Among the royal mausoleums, the one resting Firoze shah Bahmani is the largest and the most elaborate.


Gulbarga Excursions

Jewargi (40 km)

Located on the banks of Bhima River, Jewargi is a popular Jain pilgrimage. Many Jain Basadis are present here. 


The pilgrimage of Gangapur is a renowned seat of Dattatreya worship and locates the sacred math of Shri Narasimha Saraswathi. Devotees flock this place to take a holy dip at the confluence of the rivers Amreja and Bhima. A huge 'jatra' is held here every year in the month of February. 

Malkhed (40 km)

The erstwhile capital of the Rashtrakutas, Malkhed is known for two holy shrines, the Jain Bhattaraka Math and the Uttaramath of the Madhava sampradaya. Malkhed was home to Madhava saint, Tikacharya and Pushpadanta, the poet who wrote during the reign of Krishan II, the Rashtrakuta king. 


The pilgrimage of Sonthi is well-known for the revered Chandralamba Temple with the sacred Bhima River flowing besides it. On the either side of the main entrance are huge mantapas. In the inner courtyard are 12 lingas and the statues of Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Saraswathi............
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