02 January, 2007

Hazrat Khwaja Bande Nawaz Gesu Daraz - Gulbarga

Neither Hindu nor Muslim
I sit with all on a whim
Having no caste, sect or creed,
I am different indeed.
I am not a sinner or saint,
Knowing no sin nor restraint.
Bulleh tries hard to shirk
The exclusive embrace
of either Hindu or Turk.

--Bulleh Shah

Bande Nawaz Dargah

It is widely known, that Islam in India was spread much less by the sword than by the Sufis. After all, Sufism, with its holy men, visions and miracles, and its emphasis on the individual's search for union with God, has always borne remarkable similarities to the mystical side of Hinduism. Under Sufi influence it was particularly at the level of village folk worship that the two religions fused into one, with many ordinary Hindus visiting the graves of Sufi pirs - some of whom are still considered to be incarnations of Hindu deities - while Muslim villagers would leave offerings at temples to ensure the birth of children and good harvests. To this day, Sufi dargahs still attract as many Hindu, Sikh and Christian pilgrims as they do Muslims

Dargha hostel

The 14th Century Sufi saint was a disciple of Hazarath Khwaja Pir Naseeruddin Mahmood also popularly known as Chirag of Delhi. Khwaja Bande Nawaz played an important role in preaching Islam in India during the 14th Century. Khwaja, who had his formal education in Islamic and Koranic studies, Arabic grammar, prophetic traditions, theology, law and jurisprudence, philosophy, and Sufism under the watchful eye of Chirag of Delhi, also underwent training in the mystic path and mastered it at a young age. The Sufi saint settled down in Gulbarga on the invitation of Bahamani King Firuz Shaha Bahamani. For the next 22 years, till his death at the age of 105 years, Khwaja made Gulbarga his home and spread the message of universal brotherhood from here.

01 January, 2007

Jumma Masjid - Gulbarga

Jumma Masjid

The Jami or Jumma Masjid located inside the old fort was built by a Moorish architect in 1367, in imitation of the great mosque in Cordova, Spain. It is an important building of the early Baihmani period built by Muhammad Shah. It has a large dome on the west side and middle-sized domes at the four corners of the mosque. Instead of having a courtyard, it has many small domes in lines in the central area. Having these features, it can be regarded as one of the most interesting mosques in its form and structure in South Asia. The main entrance is provided at the north side and has a higher arch-shaped gate than the other sides.

In the west prayer room, pillars are painted in white with no decoration. In addition, wide spans of these pillars supporting large arches create a majestic atmosphere. (Matsuo Ara)

V opted to wait outside while I went in with U and J. They didn't seem to be interested in seeing the mosque and they walked out quite quickly. I went out, took the camera from V and went in again and took few pictures. There were very few people in the mosque.

I probably could have gone further into the mosque. But I didn't dare to, as I didn't see anybody going further beyond the prayer hall. I didn't want to listen to somebody say "Women shouldn't be going in".

I sat in the prayer hall for a little while and later joined the others who were waiting outside the mosque for me. There was nothing much to see in the fort. It was barely quarter to 10 when we walked out of the fort to shop for Ilkal saris in 'super market'.

Gulbarga Fort

Entrace To Fort

An old provincial town, Gulbarga rose to prominence under the illustrious Bahmani dynasty founded by Hasan Ganga, a rebel Amir of Daulatabad who later assumed the title of Ala-ud-din Bahman Shah. The Bahmani dynasty ruled over the Deccan for nearly 200 years with Gulbarga as the Capital until 1424 and, later, Bidar. The title, Bahman Shah, is mentioned in an inscription on a local mosque and also on the coins of the dynasty.

Another legend traces the title to a half-mythical figure from Persia called Bahman. But, according to Ferishta, the great scholar and poet, Ala-ud-din called himself Gangu Bahmani in memory of a Brahmin who had employed him as a servant. Bahman Shah filled Gulbarga with beautiful palaces, mosques, stately buildings and bazaars. His successors continued the good work and the town blossomed completely.

Gulbarga Fort

The Gulbarga fort, occupied by the mighty Bahamani Sultanate, had withstood the advances of the mighty Vijayanagara empire. It was originally built by Raja Gulchand, and later strengthened by the first Sultan Sikandar-i-Sani Ala-ud-din Hasan Bahaman Shah-al-Wali, popularly called as Bahaman Shah. The smoky-looking structure has been a silent witness to generations of invading armies, raiding marauders and victorious rulers. Razed to the ground by Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagar it rose like a Phoenix when Adil Shah undertook its repair with the booty captured from Vijayanagar. Standing tall, the Gulbarga fort contains large buildings, temples, stables, ammunition godowns, carriages, 15 towers, 26 guns and several beautiful courtyards. But, owing to neglect, the buildings have turned into crumbling ruins. Several illegal constructions mar the beauty of the fort and the encircling moat is filled with garbage.

The genesis of the Bahamani Sultanate may be traced to the several insurrections that broke up the Delhi empire in the 13th century which was then ruled by Mohammed-bin-Tughlaq.

The officers in the province of Daulatabad (now in Maharashtra) had failed to collect the revenue. When the emperor's punishment seemed imminent, some of the rebels planned to escape to Gulbarga under the leadership of Hasan Gangu.

Gathering an army at Gulbarga, Hasan Gangu went to Daulatabad and defeating Nasir-ud-din, who had been earlier proclaimed king of the Deccan by the rebels, proclaimed himself the king and assumed the title of ‘Sikandar-i-Sani Ala-ud-din Hasan Bahman Shah-al-Wali’.

He was the first sultan of the mighty Bahamani dynasty, and acceded the throne in 1347. He moved to Gulbarga the same year and the rest, as they say, is history.

The fort and the buildings in the fort, have been recognised as national monuments by the ASI, and are guided by The Ancient Monuments & Archaeological Remains Act of 1958 (24 of 1958). The Jama Masjid built by the second Sultan of the Bahamani, Mohammed I, in 1363 A D, an abandoned Vishnu temple with the Vishnu missing, the 'Rana Mandala', a huge structure situated in the centre of the fort used as a canon firing position, horse and elephant stables, and other small structures dot the fort.

Fort Wall

The fort is currently being repaired by the ASI. Gulbarga Urban Development Authority has stated that land will be identified where the families of the encroachers will be shifted. Over 150 families are currently enchroaching the fort and they have been quite successful in destroying the historical monument. Whatever little is left of the fort, will also be totally destroyed if some measure is not taken immediately.

We walked besides the crumbled fort wall for a little distance. We saw a few playing cards lying strewn around. They might have probably been used by the encroachers. U had been mentioning that we should have brought a deck of cards with us to play on the train and V didn't let go of this opportunity to mention that we could pick up the cards and play later on the train :).

When it seemed totally impossible to step through the piled up garbage, we returned to the main fort tower (probably the only one). We saw a little boy riding his bike and V greeted him in Kannada in the North Karnataka dialect (or so he thinks :)...). Since there was nothing much to see in the fort premises, we walked over to the little building that we had seen from atop the fort.

Sharana Basaweshvara Temple - Gulbarga

Dedicated to the Hindu saint and reformer, Basaveshwara, the temple is a popular year-round pilgrimage centre for Hindus. A chariot festival is held in his honour near the Gulbarga tank.

Sharana Basaweshvara Temple

Gulbarga, a historical city in Karnataka is known for its rich cultural heritage. For nearly 1500 years, Gulbarga has been prominent in the history and culture of the Deccan. Many great dynasties rose to power in the region in rapid succession leaving indelible marks of their glory in the history. The very first known work in Kannada literature, "Kaviraj Marga" was produced during 850 AD by Srivijay during the reign of the famous emperor Nrupatunga. Around the same time Mahaveeracharya wrote his mathematical works and Vijnaneshwara gave his Mitakshara Law - an epigraph preserved in Martur village 22 km from Gulbarga. The region has witnessed a profound revolutionary movement during 12th century led by Basaveshwara. Later Gulbarga became a bastion of the philosophical school of Sufism and produced a very eminent saint and scholar, Hazrat Khajaa Banda Nawaz in 15th century and another famous saint Sri Sharana Basaveshwara in 19th century.

vachanadalli nAmAmR^ita tumbi
nayanadalli nimma mUruti tumbi
manadalli nimma nenahu tumbi
kiviyalli nimma kIruti tumbi
kUDala saMgama devA
nimma charaNakamaladoLagAnu tumbi

The words spoken (by me) are full of ambrosia of (Your Holy) Name !
The eyes are enriched with the vision of Your Form !
The mind is full of Your thoughts !
The ears are filled with Your Glory !
Oh Lord of kUDala saMgama,
in Your Feet lotus, I am there as a bee !

attalitta hOgada.nte heLavana mADayyA ta.nde,
sutti suLidu nODada.nte andhakana mADayyA ta.nde,
matto.nda kELada.nte kivuDana mADayyA ta.nde,
nimma sharaNara pAdavallade
anya viShayakkeLasada.nte irisu,

Not digressing here and there, make me a lame person, my Father !
Not letting sight around and away, make me blind, my Father !
Not letting hear something else, make me deaf, my Father !
Other than Your refugee's feet, keep not getting dragged
into anything else, Oh the Divine of kUDalasangama !!

nIrige naiDile sR^i~NgAra
samuDrake tereye sR^i~NgAra
naarige guNave sR^i~NgAra
gaganake chandrama sR^i~NgAra
namma kUDala sa.ngana sharaNara
nosalige vibhUtiye sR^i~NgAra

For the water (pond) water-lily is the charm;
For the ocean tides are the charm;
For the woman character is the charm;
For the sky moon is the charm;
For foreheads of the refugees (devotees) of the
Lord of kUDala sangama, the holy ash is the charm.

GYAnada baladinda aGYAnada kEDu, nODayya
jyOtiya baladinda tamantada kEDu, nODayya
satyada baladinda asatyada kEDu, nODayya
paruShada baladinda avalohada kEDu, nODayya
kUDala sangana sharaNara anubhAvadinda
enna bhavada kEDu, nODayya.

By the power of knowledge, is the destruction of ignorance, You see.
By the power of light, is the destruction of darkness, You see.
By the power of truth, is the destruction of falsehood, You see.
By the power of paruSha stone, is the destruction of iron, You see.
By the experience of the refugees of Lord of kUDala sangama,
is the destruction of my birth cycle, You see.

umba baTTalu bEre kanchalla
nODuva darpaNa bEre kanchalla
bA.nda o.nde bhAjana o.nde
beLage kannaDiyenisinittayyA.
aridaDe sharaNa maredaDe mAnava
mareyade pUjisu kUDalasa.ngana.

The vessel used for eating is not a different bronze and
the mirror is not made of different bronze.
Material is the same; Nature is the same;
When polished it shines as the mirror.
If realizes (s/he) is a sharaNa;
If forgotten then (ordinary) human being.
(So) worship without forgetting the One in kUDalasangama

Gol Gumbaz Museum - Bijapur

Gumbaz Museum

It was 8:30AM and we had spent sufficient time at the Gumbaz. We had to only visit the museum and that was to open at 10:00AM. We had sufficient time to eat our breakfast. After eating the dinner at our hotel restaurant the previous evening we were sure we didn't want to eat there again. I remembered from my previous visit to the Gumbaz that there was a small canteen in the premises. We strolled in the garden for a while and then went to the canteen.

It is a small place with a seating capacity of at most 6 people. Small wooden benches and a few rusty chairs form the complete set of furniture in the canteen. I opted to have "avalakki" (beaten rice) and the others opted to have upma. After the miserable dinner the previous night, the breakfast tasted really delicious. I ordered for KT -- this tea is prepared with a generous amount of milk and is also flavoured with elaichi. The previous evening we had tea in the hotel restaurant that tasted not just yuck , but also smelled bad. I am almost certain that it was prepared with Goat's milk. V felt repulsive after I revealed the secret of the bad tasting tea :). U reminded him that Goat's milk was good for health and Bapuji had Goat's milk everyday :). I guess only Gandhiji can drink this milk :) and I didn't finish my tea. I'm not sure if V drank it either :).

While we were relishing the tea, we saw another family (a man, two women and a little girl, perhaps there were more people and I didn't notice them) who came to the canteen. They wanted to eat idlis :) but the canteen didn't serve any. I am not sure what they had for breakfast, but what I am certain about is the fact that they didn't know anything about cleanliness . They sat on the grass in the garden and had their breakfast. When they left the canteen, we noticed that they had strewn food on the grass :(. The little buss boy didn't clean the garden after them either.

We had to return to the hotel, freshen up and then return to the museum. The hotel supplied hot water in the rooms only between 6 and 9 in the morning. Though it was well past 6:30 AM when we left the hotel room in the morning, the water in the shower wasn't hot. We felt it would be a good idea to visit the Gumbaz and then return to the hotel, shower and then visit the museum. We had to check out of the hotel at 10:00AM and so we vacated the rooms after we had showered. We stored our bags in the hotel reception area and went to the museum.

Jain Yakshini

The museum located in the Naqquar Khana (Trumpet House) of the Gol Gumbaz Complex, was originally established as a district museum in 1892. Later on it was taken over to develop it as a site museum in 1982. Naqquar Khana is in typical Adilshahi architectural style and has elevated platforms and tall and loft arches raised over massive piers. The large and good massive showcases introduced by the British officers, themselves have become good examples of antique furniture.

The collection comprises of stone inscriptions of Arabic, Persian, Kannada and Sanskrit languages in different scripts and written in varied calligraphy, Brahmanical and Jaina sculptures, hero stones, illustrated and plain manuscripts, coins, China wares, wooden carving, carpets, maps, sanads and firmans, miniature pantings, Bidiri ware and other house hold articles, datable from 6th to 18th century AD.

The museum has six galleries, three in the ground floor and the rest in upper story. It houses a majority of movable cultural property of the region with a special collection of Adilshahi art objects.

The first gallery displays Brahmanical sculptures and second gallery has Jain sculptures. Third gallery displays inscriptions of Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit and Kannada languages with a variety of calligraphy. Fourth gallery exhibits arms, weapons and other metal wares. Fifth gallery has miniature painting, carpets, smaller metal objects. Sixth gallery exhibits Arabic and Persian manuscript, China porcelain wares etc. Inscribed slabs depicting excellent calligraphy, illustrated manuscripts of the Holy Quran, arms and weapons, well attired torso of a royal person, photo enlargements of excellent specimens of Adilshahi miniatures, translides of kings and queens and world’s famous monuments comparable with Gol Gumbaz are the main attractions in the museum.

...en bek mallayya...

After visiting the museum we went back to the garden and sat under the shade of a huge tree. A lot of school children were visiting the monument that Sunday morning. A group of little children were playing underneath the tree where we were seated. It reminded us of our school days when we used to play the very game but probaby sing a different song while playing. The kids were singing something that goes like... "something something, en bek mallayya..."

V, post your comment with the song that you sang while playing this game...