Capital of the Bahamani Sultanate, Gulbarga is the fourth largest city in Karnataka. Time has taken a toll on the royal buildings but what remains speaks eloquently of the city’s magnificent past.
Gulbarga is said to have derived from two Persian words called Gul and Berg. The words meant flower and leaf respectively and epitomized the grandeur of the city. Some believe Gulbarga is derived from Kaliburgi, which means stone land in Kannada.
The history of the city dates back to the sixth century, when the Chalukyas regained their kingdom from the Rashtrakutas and ruled it for two hundred years. The city shot into prominence under the rule of the Bahmani Sultans, who founded the city and made it their capital.
In was later part of the Bijapur Sultanate and from 1724 to 1948, the city was a part of the Hyderabad state ruled by the Nizams. It was integrated with India in 1948.
Besides its history, the city is also famous because of its association with poet-philosopher Purandara Dasa, one of the trinities of Carnatic music and the famous saint Sharana Basaveshwara. It is also known for the rare sculptural portrait of Emperor Ashoka that was found in 2009 during an excavation.
A visit to Gulbarga is incomplete without a visit to the fort and other buildings constructed during the rule of the Bahamani Sultans. Mosques, palaces, tombs, and other structures were added during the rule of the Bahamani kings. The Jami Masjid within the fort stands out. Built in Persian architectural style, it is modeled on the Cathedral mosque at Cordoba in Spain.
The car festival at the Shri Sharanabasaveshwar temple and the Urs at Khwaja Bande Nawaz Dargah are celebrated with fervour.