Monday, November 14, 2011

As we have seen, the formation of the Bahmani kingdom coincided with the formation of the mighty Vijayanagar Empire. It is probably soon after the establishment of this great Hindu kingdom that a geographicalBahmani line was drawn between the Deccan and the Carnatic. The former represented that portion of Central India which lies between the Godavari as the northern boundary and the Tungabhadra, and extended not before long from one coast to the other. The latter comprised of the rich valleys if the tributaries of the Penna river with their mountainous passes, and then extended to Kanchipuram, Arcot and subsequently Madhura.

Sultan Allauddin was not slow to take advantage of the disturbances in Delhi and he soon expanded his kingdom. He won over the Afghan, Moghul and Rajput chiefs who were stationed by the Emperor at Bidar and Kandahar (near Daulatabad). He died after 11 years, 2 months and 7 days after being the first Sultan of his dynasty and was succeeded by his son, Mohammed Shah in 1357 AD.

The town as we see today, is a mixture of Hindu and Muslim population and you will find the Deccani legacy or flavor all around. Most of the residents have been there since generations who were part of the citizens of the Bahmani kingdom. Gulbarga was known as “Kalburgi” in former days which means stony land. In the 6th century, the Rashtrakutas gained control of the area around the present town. Later Chalukyas, Yadavas of Devagiri (Daulatabad) and the Hoysalas ruled. The present Gulbarga and Raichur districts formed part of their dominions. After the advent of the MDSC03655ohammedan empire, all the traces of the Hindu rule vanished, save some temples and the fort of Basavakalyan constructed by the Chalukyas. Sadly, this erstwhile initial capital of the Bahmani Kingdom is ignored by travelers as well as tourism promoters who prefer to stick to the well-beaten track. Gulbarga is a city where one has to embark on a hunting quest for all the important mosques now lie abandoned and unprotected without even the local population being aware of their location or importance.

Even though BDSC03656idar was the first site I visited in my trip, I shall start with Gulbarga to stick to the chronological events in the Bahmani kingdom. I arrived in Gulbarga the night before my trip, so it was not tiring. My first destination was supposed to be the Government museum. Alas.. It was a Monday and was a weekly closing day. I had to be satisfied with capturing shots from outside the complex. The complex houses two domed structures which serve as the museum buildings. The maintenance of these are pathetic. You can find weeds cropping out from the top of the dome. However, the designs on the entrance are still intact and extremely beautiful.

I then visited the Darga of Khaja Bande Nawaz (Helper of the Needy), born as Syed Mohammad Gesu DSC03667Daraz in 1320 and died in 1422. It is one of the most famous places religious places where people from all walks of life irrespective of religion can visit and offer prayers which is a perfect example of religious harmony. This 14th century Sufi saint played an important role in preaching Islam in the Indian context. The annual urs (fair) was happening when I visited the place, but it is very crowded almost the entire year. Photography is prohibited inside the Dargah but you can take shots of the outside beauty.

The stDSC03671ructure has two minarets. Shops and stalls leading to it sell caps, flowers, bangles and what not. The entrance of the darga is decorated with silvery designs with verses from the Quran written. Talk to any of the caretakers and they offer you to tell you the story of Khaja Bande Nawaz and his generosity. There are other tombs inside which belong to the family of the Sufi Saint, including one of a woman who lost 21 children at various ages, all of whom are buried around her. TDSC03673he entire complex looks extremely beautiful and holy. The saint was a scholar of repute having studied Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit and Urdu. In his lifespan of 101 years, he is said to have authored 105 books. The great library on the premises has around 15,000 books on various array of subjects.

After relaxing there for about half an hour, I move on to the historical monuments, the first of which is the Haft Gumbaz or the Saat Gumbaz as it is called today.


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