Bangalore - - Gulbarga

Gulbarga District 616 kms of Bijapur

This small provincial town contains some of the earliest examples of Islamic architecture in Karnataka. These date to the capital of the Bahmani Sultans first of the great Muslim kingdoms to dominate the Decan.

The Dargah of Gesu Daraz to the northeast of the present town is one of South India's holiest Mulim Shrines. Khwaja gesu Daraz or bande nawaz as he was affectionately known,
was a sufi mystic from the Chishtisect. He fled from North India and sought refuge here at the court of Firz Shah Bahmani, a pious and enlightened ruler. His simple tomb stands in the middle of a large, sprawling complex comprising a group of lesser tombs, mosques and is a major pilgrimage centre. The Dargah of Shah kamal Mujarrad, another saint who lived in Gulbarga lies further south.

A Complex od seven royal tombs known as the Half Gumbad, lies to the west of the dargah. Firuz shah Bahmani, who also died in 1422, is buried here in the largest and most elaborate of all the mausoleums. Immediately west of the city are the desolate ruins of the forbidding fort, almost circular and protected by a wide moat. Little of the royal centre remains intact today. Near the entrance gateway is the Bala Hisar a solid keep dating from the 17th Century when the Adil Shahis occupied the city. The most interesting structure however, is the large Jami Masjid built in 1367, to commemorate Gulbaraga's status as the capital is one of the earliest mosques in South India, and the only one without an open Courtyard. To its rear is the 14th - Century Bazaar Street, lined with small chambers now converted into dwellings.This leads to a series of gateways shielded by walls that protrude outwards from the fort are the derelict tombs of the early Bahmani sultans.

Another 14th Century monument is the Shah Bazaar Mosque is the north of the fort. Its domed entrance chamber leads into a coutryard with a prayer hall beyond. A street from here proceeds westwards to an arcaded portal flanked by lofty minarets. Behind this portal lies the Dargah of Sheikh Sirajuddin Junaydi, a simple tomb with arcaded recesses and a flattish dome.

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