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Travel: The magic of a sleepy town called Gulbarga

Last updated on: September 2, 2011 17:51 IST

Travel: The magic of a sleepy town called Gulbarga

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Deepak Warrier

Gulbarga may not necessarily figure on your regular tourist map. But a visit to the small town can be quite insightful indeed.

Travel 600 km north of Bangalore and you will reach a quiet town.

Hidden, concealed and protected to an extent from any major amalgamation socially, religiously or aesthetically. It is an absolute no nonsense place.

People sometimes are reluctant to move off the road or give way to another, but that can be forgiven or rather overlooked as nobody here is in a hurry. You would never see an aggressive seller or a desperate buyer. Life is just a daily routine and peace prevails.

There aren't too many places of interest to narrate from Gulbarga.

If we name, there are a few like the Sharana Basveshwara Temple where the architecture shows a Maratha inclination, the Saath Gumbaz spread across an area, an old unmaintained or rather unattended Bahamani Fort overlooking the Appa lake and finally the most significant Khwaja Banda Nawaz Darga and the recently built Buddha Vihar.


Image: Great Mosque in Gulbarga Fort
Photographs: Creative Commons
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An early morning visit to Khwaja Bande Nawaz Dargah means you are on an expedition to discover the most mystic and the most spiritually binding experience in Gulbarga.

Accompanying me during this journey was my friend Rajesh Mangat, a renowned wildlife photographer, a person who instilled fresh interest on travel in me. 

As we enter the dargah, we are handed over as much flowers as required to be offered inside, a cap which has to be worn mandatorily and a packet of icing which one can carry home after the rituals inside.

All these come at a price and being a tourist, it would not be a surprise if you were made to believe that they have to be mandatorily possessed.


Image: Khwaja Bande Nawaz Dargah in Gulbarga
Photographs: Deepak Warrier
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We washed our feet at the wash area and moved ahead. Nearly 600 years old and the tomb of Hazrat Khwaja Banda Nawaz Gaisu Daraz a sufi saint, is today one of the most sought after pilgrimage destination, in respect to a person who shaped the Muslim ideologies and advocated the most relevant concepts of religious harmony and tolerance.

As we entered the tomb, a strong sense of spirituality encompassed me. A priest assisted us with the flower offerings and helped go through the Dargah specific rituals. Soon my eyes stuck at the magnificent Persian architecture covering the inside of the tomb. Marvelously designed, religiously constructed and divinity at its epitome.

There was another tomb to the opposite where peacefully rested are the family members of the saint. After giving oneself in, fully to the rituals and beliefs of the Dargah, it seemed tough to leave the premises.

The feeling inside took me closer deeper to a religion which I always respected and cherished. You can blame yourself if you remain ignorant towards religious tolerance and harmony. Visit Bande Nawaz Dargah and you will know why.


Image: Saath Gumbaz, Gulbarga
Photographs: Krishna Warrier
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About 8 km from Gulbarga town is a 700-acre impeccably maintained Buddha Vihar -- a Buddhist temple built a couple of years ago.

The serenity and silence is at it immaculate enigma. We feel a Scottish landscaping touch as we drive two kilometers inside to reach the entrance of Buddha Vihar. The view of the temple, which seemed magnificent from a distance only got better as we got closer.

A wide arch marked the entrance to the temple. There is peace and silence everywhere.

A few students clad in Buddhist clothes walked past me after their classes. An Ambedkar statue adorned the entrance.

A respectful monk who seemed busy tripping the grass near the statue welcomed us. There was a purity of innocence in his smile.

We walked inside climbing one step after another and the surroundings kept cleansing me off my impurities. Mobile phones and cameras are a strict no-no.


Image: Buddha Vihar, Gulbarga
Photographs: Courtesy: Official website of Gulbarga district
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Inside the temple the statue of Buddha seemed charismatic. All that was heard was the chirping of birds and a CD of soft music flowing in from the speakers.

Below the main shrine, is a meditation centre. You are allowed to enter only if you have a minimum 10 minutes to spare for meditation.

The book counter donates books to visitors to raise their awareness on peaceful living. I left the place refreshed and with pure thoughts.

Two distinct religions with one message. Religious harmony and tolerance. Guiding and advocating on a peaceful way of life. Much justifying the Gulbarga style of calm existence.

Deepak Warrier writes features, articles and reviews for rediff.com and also scribbles on his blog deepakwarrier.wordpress.com


Image: Sharana Basveshwara Temple, Gulbarga
Photographs: Deepak Warrier
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