I'm always amazed at how, no matter in which direction you go, our country has all these little historic gems just waiting to be discovered. Take Gulbarga for instance. The name always brought to mind heat, aridity, dust and little else. Luckily, we live and we learn, for I now know that Gulbarga is actually home to an astonishing number of historic treasures. And the best part is that many of the buildings in the town are truly one of a kind.
Take the Jami Masjid, for instance, a building that historians and architects have waxed eloquent over for decades. It has a unique plan, a kind that you don't see anywhere else in the country. Or the Bala Hissar. Again, the building is the only one of its kind in India.
And yet, when my colleague and I asked our taxi driver to take us to the Gulbarga fort, his response was: "Why do you want to go there? It's a big, dirty, old ruin with nothing in it. Why don't you go see the new Buddha Vihar instead?" Well, we did actually make it to the fort, despite our taxi driver's best efforts. You can read a little more about the fort and a few of the other heritage buildings in Gulbarga in my article in today's Deccan Herald.
I was in Gulbarga for only a short while, certainly not enough to explore all, or even most of it. I hope to go back soon to see and experience more of the town. But I'm glad we did make it to the dargah of the sufi saint Khwaja Bande Nawaz. We went there just before closing time. All the courtyards, the mosque and even the paths between them were all full of people (of all faiths). And yet, the atmosphere was one of sanctity and serenity.
Oh and just for the record, at least when I went, Gulbarga was neither hot nor dusty!