Mar 30, 2019

What to see in Tumkur district

Tumkur district was formed in 1865 CE. It is bound by eight districts namely Chitradurga, Hassan, Chikkamagaluru, Mandya, Ramanagara, Bengaluru Rural, Chikkaballapura and Ananthapuram (Andhra Pradesh). Tumkur district consists of nine talues- Chikkanayakanahalli, Gubbi, Koratagere, Kunigal, Madhugiri, Pavagada, Tiptur, Tumkur, Turuvekere. This is the only discontiguous district in Karnataka since Pavagada taluk has no geographical continuity with the rest of the district. Pavagada taluq shares its border with Chitradurga and Ananthapuram districts. The terrain is a mix of hills and plains. The hilly east of Tumkur district is covered with forests. Tumkur city is an educaional, industrial and religious city. For tourists, Tumkur district has a lot to offer- forts and temples. Tourists can choose between religious and historical.

Here's the list of places to see in Tumkur district-
  1. Sree Siddaganga Matha - Sree Siddaganga Matha is an ancient ashram established by Sree Gosala Siddeshwara Swamiji in XV Century CE. The present head of this Matha is His Holiness Dr. Sree Sree Sivakumara Swamigalu. The Matha's Gurukula provides education to more than 8000 children at no cost, without any discrimination of caste or creed. Sree Siddaganga Matha is situated on the southeatsern side of Tumkur city.
  2. Kote Anjaneya - This is the 75 feet tall statue of Hanuman situated on the western shore of Amani Kere, the largest pond of Tumkur city. 
  3. Amani Kere Park - Amani Kere is the largest pond of Tumkur city. On its shore is a small park with a glass house. There are two parks, the one with glass house is opposite Kote Anjaneya statue.
  4. Shirdi Sai Baba Mandir - Tumkur city has four temples dedicated to Shirdi Sai Baba. The temples of Ramakrishna Nagar, Kunigal Road and Sai Baba Nagar are big and beautiful.
  5. Ramakrishna Vivekananda Ashram - Ramakrishna Vivekananda Ashram and Bhagwan Ramakrishna Mandir are situated in Ramakrishna Nagar, very close to Sai Baba Mandir.
  6. Sri Raghavaendra Swamy Matha - This monastery of Madhwa Brahmin community is situated in Raghavendra Nagar, Upparhalli.
  7. Shri Jain Agam Mandir - This is a large Jain temple on Sira road, Tumkur city.
  8. Tomlinson Church - Established in 1931 CE, probably this is the oldest church of Tumkur city.
  9. Library Building, Sri Siddhartha Institute of Technology - SSIT is one of the top engineering colleges of Tumkur. Its library is a globe shaped glass building, a unique design.
  10. Ganesh Devasthana, Gulur - A temple with a big colorful statue of Ganesha. Guluru is about 6 kms south of Tumkur.
  11. Kaidala - Kaidala also known as Kridapura is said to be the birthplace of the legendary sculptor Jakanachari. He is known as the builder of temples for Kalyani Chalukyas and Hoysalas. There are three temples of historic importance- 1. Chennakesava Devasthana, 2. Someshwara Devasthana and Kodirameshwara. Kaidala is about 10 kms south of Tumkur.
  12. Devarayanadurga - Devarayanadurga is a hill station with an ancient fort, ancient temples, a village and covered by forest. The main temples are Yoganarasimha and the Bhoganarasimha. This is one of the favorite places for youngsters seeking adventure. Devarayanadurga is about 16 kms east of Tumkur.
  13. Naamada Chilume - This is a natural spring situated in Devarayanadurga forest. Clean drinkable water flows out from the surface of a rock. The place is connected to ancient Hindu legend Ramayana. Naamada Chilume is situated on Tumkur-Devarayanadurga road.
  14. Ramadevara Betta, Kyatsandra - Also called as Karigiri Betta, this hill is another favorite for trekkers. The hill's summit, a plateau has a small temple and mantapa. The the hill top offers a great view of the surrounding plains, hills and lakes. The hill is situated east of Kyatsandra.
  15. Mandaragiri Digambar Jain Basadi - This Jain Basadi is situated atop a on a rocky hill. The hill with a straight flight of steps leading to its summit is visible from Bangalore-Tumkur highway. Also next to the hill, on the plains is a recently constructed temple shaped like a flower vase and painted in peacock feather colors. Mandaragiri is about 12 kms southeast of Tumkur.
  16. Kuchhangi Jain Basadi - This ancient Jain Basadi is situated 12 kms north of Tumkur, off NH48.
  17. Nijagal Betta - This is an interesting rock hill situated right next to NH48. This hill also known as Chikkasiddara Betta is another favorite for trekkers and adventure seekers. On the hill are ruins of a fort, military barracks and temples. NIjagal Betta is about 19 kms southeast of Tumkur.
  18. Shivagange - Shiva Gange is a religious place situated on a rock hill. The rick hill looks like a Shiva Linga when seen from east and a sleeping Nandi from west. On the hill slope are ancient shrines and temples namely Gangadhareshwara and Honnammadevi. There's a natural spring named Olakal Teertha, fresh water comes out from a hole in the rock. At the hill top is an ancient statue of Nandi, a small temple and a Deepa Stambha. Besides religious people, trekkers frequent this hill. Shiva Gange is about 28 kms southeast of Tumkur.
  19. Yediyur Siddalingeshwara Devasthana - Yediyuru is a popular pilgrimage centre. Though called as a temple, it is actually the tomb (Nirvikalpa Shivayoga Samadhi) of Tontada Siddalinga, a Lingayath saint of XV Century CE who has served at Sree Siddaganga Matha. Yediyuru is about 63 kms southwest of Tumkur and 96 kms west of Bangalore.
  20. Hattana Jain shrine - Hattna or Hatna is known for its temple dedicated to Bhagawan Parshwanatha in the Kayotsarga posture. The history of this temple dates back to the XI Century CE. Hattna is siotuated 3.5 kms west of Yediyur, off Bangalore-Hassan road.
  21. Markonhalli Dam - Markonahalli Dam is a dam built across river Shimsha. This dam was designed and built during Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV rule under the guidance of Sir M Visweswaraiah. This dam is known for its syphon system which lets excess water flow out automatically when the water level reaches its maximum. The other dam in similar design is the abandoned Madenur dam in Linganmakki backwaters. Markonhalli dam is about 65 kms southwest of Tumkur via Kunigal.
  22. Turuvekere - Turuvekere was once an Agrahara. Turuvekere is known for its Hoysala temples like Gangadhareshwara, Chennigaraya Swamy, Moole Shankareshwara and Beteraya Swamy. Within the premises of Moolae Shankareshwara Devasthana is a large Nandi. Turuvekere is 71 kms southwest of Tumkur and 12 kms from Kibbanahalli cross on Tumkur-Tiptur road.
  23. Nagalapura – Nagalapura is known for two Hoysala temples- 1. Kedareshwara Devasthana and 2. Chennakesava Devasthana. Nagalapura is 15 kms south of Turuvekere and 75 kms west of Tumkur. 
  24. Aralaguppe - Aralaguppe is know for two ancient temples - Chennakeshava Devasthana and Kalleshvara Devasthana. Kalleshwara temple was constructed in IX Century CE in by Ganga-Nalamba kings. Chennakesava temple was built in XIII Century CE by Hoysala kings. Aralaguppe is about 63 kms west of Tumkur, 22 kms east of Tiptur and 15 kms north of Turuvekere.
  25. Vignasanthe - This village is known for Lakshminarasimha Devasthana built in XIII Century CE by the Hoysalas. Vignasanthe is about 87 kms west of Tumkur, 32 kms south of Tiptur and 18 kms west of Turuvekere.
  26. Settikere - This village is known for Yoga Madhava Devasthana built in XIII Century by Hoysalas. Settikere is about 25 kms northeast of Tiptur and 70 kms west of Tumkur.
  27. Kuppuru Gaddige Matha - This is the Samadhi of Sri Marulasiddeshwara Swamy. Kuppuru is situated about 80 kms east of Tumkur and 38 kms north of Tiptur.
  28. Chowdeshwari Devasthana - This ancient temple with an interesting history is about 10 kms north of Tiptur. 
  29. Goravanahalli Mahalaxmi Devasthana and Theetha Dam - Goravanahalli is known for its Mahalaxmi temple established in XIX Century CE. The temple was in a neglected state between 1910 and 1952 after which it was revived by a pious lady. Also close by is Theetha Dam built across Jayamangali, a tributary of Penna river.  Goravanahalli is about 30 kms northeast of Tumkur.
  30. Jayamangali Blackbuck Reserve, Mydnahalli - This wildlife sanctuary is about 66 kms north east of Tumkur and 30 kms east of Madhugiri.
  31. Shri Kamakshi Sharadamba Devasthana, Hebbur - Kamakshi Sharadamba temple in the premises of Sri Kodandashrama Math, an Advaitha centre. A rare piece of Hindu iconography called 'Shri Chakra' made of five metals is installed in the shrine. It is supposed to represent the Primeval Energy from which the whole universe issues forth. Hebbur is 33 kms south of Tumkur.
  32. Gubbi - This small town is known for three ancient places of worship. The first one is Sri Channabasaveshwara Devasthana, an ancient shrine dedicated to Channabasaveshwara, nephew of Jagatjyoti Basaveshwara. The second one being William Arthur Memorial Church which was established in 1904. Gubbi is 21 kms east of Tumkur.
  33. Ranganatha Swamy Devasthana, Singonahalli - This is an ancient temple dedicated to Ranganatha, a form of Lord Vishnu. Singonahalli is about 4 kms west of Gubbi.
  34. Siddara Betta - This is a hill for the religious and adventerous. This hill is known to for its herbs of medicinal value. At the hill top is a temple and a cave where ascetics mediated long time back. Siddara Betta is north of Tumkur, about 32 kms via Chelavada.
  35. Channarayanadurga fort - This fort built is on the slopes of a rock hill. This is the hill where some scenes of 1980s Kannada cinema Bangarada Jinke was made. Channarayanadurga was built in the XVII century CE by a feudal king named Channappa Gowda. Channarayanadurga is about 40 kms northeast of Tumkur and 10 kms from Madhugiri.
  36. Madhugiri fort - Madhugiri, along with Savandurga, is the one of the largest monolothic hills in Asia. On this rock hills' slopes is a fort built in XVII Century CE. Originally built by Raja Hira Gowda was later taken over by Tipu Sultan. The fort has a number of gateways and bastions. At the summit is a temple dedicated to Gopalakrishna. This hill is popular for trekking and climbing. While at Madhugiri you can also see the ancient Malleshwara Swamy Devasthana, Laxmi Venkateshwara Devasthana and Jain Basadi. Madhugiri is about 45 kms northeast of Tumkur and 113 kms northwest of Bangalore.
  37. Siddhara Gudi - is a cave temple on the shore of the pond in the valley to the east of Madhugiri hill.
  38. Harihareshwara Swamy Devasthana - This shrine dedicated to Harihara was built in 979 CE. This temple is nestled in the valley south of Madhugiri hill, about 5 kms from the town.
  39. Midigeshi fort - Midigeshi was a headquarters of the hobli by the same name which was under Madhugiri kings. Midigeshi fort is said to be built by Nagi Reddy. On the hill are ruins of incomplete temples along with a shrine dedicated to Hanuman, several water tanks, granary and a mosque. Midigeshi is about 22 kms north of Madhugiri. 
  40. Pavagada fort - A formidable hill fort built during Vijayanagara rule. The hill is approximaately 200 meters high with steep slopes. Close to the base of the hill is Kote Anjaneya Devasthana. Pavagada is about 100 kms north of Tumkur.
  41. Pavagada Solar Park - This is Asia's largest solar power park covering approximately 10K acres of plain land. The solar park is about 28 kms northeast of Pavagada.
  42. Nidgal Betta - Nidgal village is situated at the base of the hill with same name. The hill has a small plateau in the middle where ruins of fort and a temple can be seen. At its peak is a small shrine with ancient inscriptions. Fort ruins are also seen on the base of the hill. Besides the fort, there are other ancient temples namely 1. Rama Devasthana 2. Lakshminarasimha Swamy Devasthana, 3. Veerabhadra Swamy Devasthana, 4. Someshwara Devasthana and 5. Jain Basadi. Nidugallu is about 27 kms west of Pavagada and 118 kms north of Tumkur.
  43. Shri Ramthirth of Nidugallu - This is an ancient Kalyani with a small temple next to it. This spot is about 1.2 kms west if Nidgal village.
  44. Narasimha Swamy Devasthana, Seebi - This temple with an interesting history was established 210+ years ago. Seebi is off NH48, about 24 kms northwest of Tumkur and 36 kms southeast of Sira.
  45. Kaggaladu Bird Sanctuary - After Kokkare Bellur, Kaggaladu bird sanctuary is one of the largest painted storks sanctuaries in South Asia. Birds are seen here between February and August. Kaggaladu 10 kms from Sira. 
  46. Kasturi Rangappa Nayakana Kote, Sira - Sira town was founded by Ranagappa Nayaka, chief of Ratnagiri. This fort was also built during his time. The four-sided fort with one entrance and bastions on all sieds is built on plain ground. It was later taken over by Mughals, Marathas, Tipu and finally British.
  47. Hazrat Malik Rehan Dargah and Juma Masjid, Sira - Sira was the capital of a province named Suba which existed during Mughal rule.  Malik Rehan was the governor of Suba. These two monuments are from the XVII Century built in in Saracenic architectural style. Sira is about 54 kms northwest of Tumkur.
  48. Bhasmangi Kote - This fort is also known as Bhasvangi Kote. This fort was probably built by Kasturi Rangappa Nayaka and later strengthened by Tipu Sultan. Bhasmangi is about 37 kms from Sira via Badavanahalli.
  49. Huliyuru Durga - Huliyurdurga was once the headquarters of the taluk of the same name till 1873. The hill fort is said to be built by Kempegowda. Also in the vicinity is another hill called Hemagiri on which is Mallikarjuna Devasthana. Huliyurdurga is about 65 kms south of Tumkur and 85 kms west of Bangalore.

Mar 23, 2019

Bahamani tombs of Ashtoor

September 3, 2018
This was my third visit here, the place had changed so much since the first visit in Feb-1996. The site was open, now its bound by walls, good way to keep out vandals. During the first visit there were just three people here- the caretaker and two visitors from Bidar. One of the visitors had said that he and his friends came here whenever they wanted to take important or difficult decisions. He said the peaceful ambiance and their belief in this Dargah helped them think clearly. In fact the place was  serene, Gulli and I must have spent an hour here.

The next visit was January 2011 with my maternal uncles. We met a young man who was a tourist guide here. He- Kalil Shah Bahamani -claimed to be a descendant of Bahamani dynasty. I'd made a video of his narration and uploaded it to YouTube.

This time with Pushpa. We had stopped at Chaukandi, tomb of Hadrat Khalimullahullah, before coming here. I happened to see and recognize Kalil Shah. He poured his heart about the difficulties he's facing to prove his Bahamani connection. He showed us around Chaukandi and then came down here to show us the tombs as well.

This is the first structure seen as we enter this necropolis, tomb of Ahmad Shah-al-Wali. This is the only tomb public get to see the inside.

A small board describes the monuments as-
Ahmad Shah was the ninth king of the Bahamani dynasty and ruled for thirteen years (AD 1422 - 1436). This is the earliest and grandest of the Bahamani tombs located at Bidar. Built in AD 1436, upon the demise of Ahmad Shah, it honours the sultan who shifted the Bahamani capital from Gulbarga and Bidar. The tomb displays continuing Persian influences of the time, as well as synthesis between Indic and Islamic cultures. The monument is unique as it is the only tomb at the site under veneration. The tomb is a square, domed structure with three tiers of arched recesses. There are four recesses, each on the bottom and middle floors, and seven on the highest of the three floors. The pointed arches are one example of Persian elements which continued. The tomb is decorated with calligraphic bands and inscriptions, representing similes used by meta-physicians of the time to express their views regarding the unity of God. Foliate and arabeque designs are painted on the interior of the tombs and have retained their original colour. While the most recurring colour schemes include vermilion, turquoise and gold, there are also instances of cobalt, grey terra-verde and buff. The most striking aspect of the paintings is not merely the variety of colour used but the manner in which they play upon one another to create striking contrasts within the designs. There is also a crenelated parapet with corner finials on the ground floor which is repeated on the sixteen sided drum on which the dome is raised.

Near the tomb of Ahmad Shah, is that of his wife which essentially has the same layout, on a much smaller scale. However, it is placed on a four foot platform and rises 29 feet above the sultan's own tomb. Only traces of the original paintings are visible in this tomb.

As seen from the other side. The white structure is a mosque. A group consisting of men, women and children had come from Gulbarga district. For them it was a religious visit, they would spend the entire day here.. perform a ritual, cook food, offer it to the Dargah and then consume it.

The next building is the tomb of Aladdin Ahmad Shah II who reigned between 1435 and 1457. This structure is almost the same size as the previous one. As you see the outer walls had been covered in cobalt colored tiles, like Madrasa of Mohemmad Gawan. The other interesting thing is the sculpted stones outlining the arches and building corners.

I think originally Ahmad Shah's tomb was white colored while Alladin's tomb was striking red-blue-white.

The next one is the tomb of the eleventh Bahamani Sultan i.e. Humayun Zalim Shah who reigned between 1457 and 1561. It looks like the dome collapsed at some point of time, not sure if it was due to defect in construction or it was cannoned. The person standing is our guide who claims to be Bahamani himself.

This structure was pyramidal, tapering upwards.

Diagonally opposite the damaged building is a much smaller building which is marked as the tomb of wife of Sultan Humayun. A board planted near the entrance read as follows-
All the queens of Bidar were given the title Malika-I-Jahan, queen of the world. However, this particular tomb is dedicated to Sultan Humayun's wife, and the regent queen for both her sons, Nizam Shah and Muhammad Shah who came to power at the ages of eight and nine, respectively. Upon the assumption of full kingship by her son Muhammad Shah the queen withdrew from the court and became extremely religious. Her tomb is smaller than those of her husband and sons. The walls of the tomb is not extensive but displays neat workmanship in the stucco and plaster work medals, which bear religious themes.

Next to the damaged building is the tomb of Nizam Shah who reigned between 1461 and 1463. This four-walled structure is either by design or incomplete.

Next is the tomb of Muhammad Shah III who ruled from 1462 to 1482. Going by the looks, this is an incomplete structure.

Moving on to the next one.. this is the tomb of Mahmood Shah Bahmani II, he was in power for 36 years, between 1482 and 1518. It was during his rule that the kingdom disintegrated. This structure is comparable to the the tombs of Ahmed Shah and Aladdin Shah.

All four faces are marked with arched niches, some with mesh covered windows. You have to see them closely to actually see their beauty.

This square slab with an embossed circle is positioned at the tomb's entrance. This doesn't seem to be part of this tomb's design. From its looks, this is a dance stage of a Chalukyan temple. You can see such slabs at Mahadeva temple of Itagi in Koppal district. Quoting a line from Wikipedia page on Bahamani Sultans.. "Bahmani Sultans were fanatics and did not show any interest in general welfare of their subjects." Their subjects were mostly Hindu people, Sultans' soldiers must have looted and pillaged Hindu shrines and temples.

The next two tombs are small and different by design. Instead of domes, these tombs are crowned by six-sided pyramids. This reminds me of structures seen at Firozabad fort near Gulbarga. These are the tombs of Waliullah Shah Bahmani and Kaleemullah Shah Bahmani who ruled between 1522–1526 and 1525–1527 respectively. Their rule was not independent but under Amir Barid I.

The last structure in this site is a simple mosque.

This is the third tomb with pyramid crown. Mortal remains of Ahmed Shah Bahmani II are buried here.

The necropolis of Ashtoor. How much money must have been spent on raising these structures for the fancy of few men and women. I wonder why Muslim kings had a liking for grand tombs.. to make their names immortal?

Going back to the starting point, there are two more structures. One is an unidentified tomb, which is damaged just like Humayun's tomb.

And the last one is said to be a queen's tomb, not sure which queen. The group from Gulbarga had gathered around this building. Children huddled together, busy with a mobile phone. men were chatting while women had setup a make shift kitchen preparing a feast. Pushpa went up to them and made friends.

About eight women were preparing holige and chapatis. They must've planned to prepare some curries and rice too. Pushpa was awestruck by the jewelry on the lady in blue-orange saree.

The other two ladies.. attired in traditional North Karnataka sarees were preparing madli. The elderly women must be in her 90s and I'm sure she would be working in fields along with her family. Observe the number of bangles around their arms.. these are the people who have preserved our traditions so far.

From here we drove back to Bidar city. We wanted to quell our hunger and the explore Bidar fort.

Mar 16, 2019

Sola Kambh Masjid, Bidar fort

My first visit to Bidar. Gulli and I had ridden from Bangalore to Bidar, 750 kms on my Hero Honda Splendor. Back then every corner of the fort was accessible, we could decide where to go and where not to. Gulli and I had explored the fort non-stop, we had climbed the army barracks, peeked into the prisoner dungeons, walked along the walls, climbed bastions and turrets.. the energy of that age! The gateway buildings were a complex maze, it was fun to explore the ruins, wish we had digital cameras back then, we would've shot a thousand pictures for sure. We carried a aim and shoot Yashica, had to change rolls and batteries after 36 shots, photographs had to be rationed. Anyway, I'd scanned some pictures and saved them.

This is how Sola Kambh mosque was in 1996. That's me with the caretaker standing on the fountain platform. The caretaker was washing clothes when we arrived here, this was his regular washing, bathing place. We ventured into the mosque and were amazed at the pillars and domes. 

February 1996

My next visit was with my maternal uncle Praveen. We had come on a business trip to Basava Kalyan and did some sightseeing too. The place had changed little.. the previous caretaker was gone, the enclosure was gated as well.

January 2003

September 3, 2018
This was my fifth visit, this time with Pushpa. I wanted her to see the northern most district of Karnataka. Let me be frank, tourism department had made Bidar fort tourist unfriendly. We came here early morning hoping to see the fort in cool weather. The guards at the gate did not allow us in stating that fort opens at 9 AM. A ugly board handing on the fort gate stated two timings- 6 AM and 9 AM. As per rules all monuments are open to public between sunrise to sunset i.e. 6 AM to 6 PM. We decided to end our conversation with the insensitive guards and leave the place. Wishing the authorities train the guards basic etiquette. We went towards Narsimha Jharani and Ashtoor. We came back to the fort by noon. We walked a lot.. first to see the huge cannon on the eastern wall, then towards Kali Burj (black turret) to see the other cannon, the palace ruins and then came back to see the mosque.

We approached the mosque enclosure from the rear side. This is the mosque's rear wall above which is its impressive dome. The triangles on the base is a neat touch. try imagining the structure when its painted white.

The mosque's facade, scarred by those metallic grills. The dome as seen from the front, sitting majestically above the tall pillars and arches. A board planted by ASI describes the mosque as below-

This mosque is Bidar's oldest Islamic building and one fo India's largest mosques. Built in 1423-24, it was originally Bidar's principal mosque, when it was known as Masjid-i-Jami. The name Solah Kambh derives from sixteen pillars in the middle portion of the prayer hall.

This mosque is a good example of the second phase of the Deccan style of architecture. The mosque's large prayer hall is divided into aisles by massive circular columns, a distinctive feature of this building. The tops of these pillars have simple foliar decorations of a style unusual in medieval Indian mosques. The roof is crowned by a majestic dome raised on high clerestory with windows of perforated screens in different geometric patterns. Th mosque's long facade of uniformly sized arched openings is topped with a parapet that has pleasing geometric designs. As interesting aspect of the mosque are the arrangements made for water supply. Water was collected in a reservoir on the roof from where it was distributed to cisterns on the ground floor for use by worshippers. There are also traces of a water channel on the western wall of the mosque.

In 1656, when Aurangzeb, then Mughal Viceroy of the Deccan, conquered Bidar, it was in this mosque that he had the khutba (prayers) recited in his father's name to proclaim his sovereignty over the newly acquired territory.

I think there are 16 arches. Sola Kambh means 16 columns, that's how the mosques is known as. The interior is similar to Jamia Masjid inside Gulbarga fort, though its much lower in height.

View of Tarkash Mahal from the mosque. A board planted by ASI describes the palace as below-

Tarkash Mahal was probably originally built by the Bahamani kings (14-15th century AD). However, the style of decorative work in the upper storeys show these parts were added by Barid Shahi kings. It was possibly named for having been built for a Turkish wife of the king.

The ground floor has a series of rooms with vaulted roofs built in four rows, one behind the other. These rooms were used for storing miscellaneous articles of domestic and state use, including ammunition. On the first storey is a principal apartment consisting of a hall divided into eight bays by the insertion of massive arches. Beyond this hall, towards the north are two more halls. Beyond the halls is an open space. Traces of an old parapet here show that the upper portions of the palace were later additions. The uppermost storey consists of a hall in the centre and small rooms on either side. The hall has arched openings and a number of small arched niches in the wall. A terrace with a fountain is found in front of these apartments.

The walls in many of these rooms are beautifully decorated with coloured tiles and stucco work. The distinctive Barid Shahi motif of a chain and pendant is prominent in the upper rooms of the palace.

The ground has been converted into a garden.

This wall and building are opposite the mosque. Behind it is a large courtyard suitable for gatherings or meetings. Lets take a look at the enclosure.

This is the enclosure with special types of buildings on one side. I wonder what the tall building is for. Unfortunately all these buildings are under lock and key, out of bounds to public. The two storey building with sloping roofs is interesting, but the entrance seems to be on the side.

Panning to the left, a cylindrical-conical dome comes into view. Adjoining the dome is a laterite sentry shelter. There's another such sentry post on the opposite end. Looking at these, Pushpa said this seems to be a prison. Well, unless we see the inside, we can't be sure what exactly this place was used for.

Another view of the dome and sentry shelter.

The opposite end.. another dome and sentry post.

 Turning our attention back to the house with sloping roof. It has a twin. Wondering if these were built during Bahamani time or much later during Nizam's rule or British rule. They could be officers quarters or offices themselves. Next to the second building is a narrow space, a small gun is seen there.

The cannon. Purely functional. Its bore is about 6". Going by its length, this gun's range could be 200 to 400 meters.

If you with to see Bidar fort completely, plan to spend an entire day here. If tourists could hire bicycles to tour the fort, it would be great.

Mar 9, 2019

medieval artifacts collection, Ashtoor

September 3, 2018
Our day started early with a quick visit to Narasimha Jharani, there was a log line of people queued up already. Though Pushpa wanted to see the cave, we skipped it because of time constraint. Then we moved on to Chaukandi - Dargah of Hadrat Khalimullahullah, where we happened to recognize the tourist guide Kalil Shah Bahamani. I'd met him in January 2011 at Bahamani tombs at Ashtoor. He had claimed and still claims to be descendant of Bahamani dynasty. He carries a bag full of papers supporting his claim including a print-out of my post on Bahamani Tombs. He offered us to show his collection of artifacts at his home. Naturally, I was interested and agreed. He lives in a small village near Ashtoor, we drove down to his small house. From the looks of the house, he seems to be a carpenter and probably a farmer too. When we entered the house, a collection of arms spread on a plastic mat greeted us, large enough to rival a small museum.

This collection included swords, daggers, stirrups, martingales, horse shoes,daggers, spearheads, arrow heads, scissors, sword handles, shield, one screw with a handle, bowl, a brass cat and coins (currency).

Here are the horse-shoes and stirrups. Stirrups are horse rider's foot rests. I have no idea where the linked rings are used.

A curved dagger, sword, spearheads and broken sword.

These are known as Katar. This is usually concealed on a person and used for self defence.

A brass sword-handle and a silver bowl with Persian or Arabic inscription.

Silver and brass coins. The small coin must be issued from Hyderabad since Charminar is embossed on it.

This just a part of his coin collection, impressive isn't it.

Lastly, we come to the deadly item- the screw. Kalil is holding the screw and its handle separately (left). The screw fits on to the handle, together they become a torture device. I need not describe its usage, you might have imagined how this would have been used on a human being. How cruel can man be!

Kalil in front of his house. The kid here (see inset) is his son, he's holding a foot tall brass cat in his hands. Its Kalil's wish to make a museum in his village and he's reserved a place also. He's trying to raise funds to make his dream come true. On the other hand, he's trying to prove his Bahamani lineage legally..

Thanks to Kalil for his invitation to see this invaluable collection.

Mar 2, 2019

ಶ್ರೀ ನರಸಿಂಹ ಝರಣಿ, ಬೀದರ್

ಸೆಪ್ಟೆಂಬರ್ ೩, ೨೦೧೮

ನರಸಿಂಹ ಝರನಿ ಇದು ಒಂದು ಗವಿ. ಸುಮಾರು ೩೦೦ ಮೀಟರ್ ಸುರಂಗದ ಒಳಗೆ ಹೋದರೆ ನರಸಿಂಹ ದೇವನ ದೇವಾಲಯವಿದೆ. ಈ ಸುರಂಗದುದ್ದಕ್ಕೂ ಸುಮಾರು ನಾಲ್ಕರಿಂದ ಐದು ಅಡಿ ನೀರು ಯಾವಾಗಲೂ  ಹರಿಯುತ್ತಿರುತ್ತದೆ. ನಾನು ಮೊದಲ ಬಾರಿಗೆ ಇದರ ಕುರಿತು ಸಿದ್ದನ ಬಾಯಲ್ಲೇ ಕೇಳಿದ್ದು. ತುಂಬಾ ಆಸಕ್ತಿದಾಯಕ ಸ್ಥಳವೆನಿಸಿತು. ಸಿದ್ದ ೨೦೧೨ ರಲ್ಲಿಯೇ ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಬಂದು ಹೋಗಿದ್ದರು. ನಾನು ನೋಡಲೇ ಬೇಕು ಎಂದಿದ್ದಕ್ಕೆ ನನ್ನನ್ನು ಕರೆದುಕೊಂಡು ಹೋದರು. ಈ ಸಣ್ಣ ಗುಡಿಯ ಹಿಂದೆ ಶಿವ ಪಾರ್ವತೀ ಕುಳಿತಿರುವ ಗೋಪುರವಿರುವದೇ ಗುಹೆಯ ಪ್ರಾರಂಭ.

ಹಾಲು ಬಿದ್ದ ಗುಡಿಗಳ ಸೌಂದರ್ಯ ಮಾನವನ ಹತೋಟಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಅಥವಾ ಜನ ಪೂಜೆ ಮಾಡುವ ದೇವಸ್ಥಾನದಲ್ಲಿ ಕಾಣಲಾಗುವದಿಲ್ಲ. ಎಷ್ಟೇ ದೀಪ ಧೂಪ ಹಚ್ಚಲಿ, ಎಷ್ಟೇ ಕಾಯಿ ಕರ್ಪೂರ ಬೆಳಗಲಿ ಹೊಲಸು ಮಾಡುವದನ್ನು ಮಾತ್ರ ಮರೆಯುವದಿಲ್ಲ ಜನ. ಕೆಲವರಿಗೆ ನಾನು ಹೇಳುವದು ತಪ್ಪು ಎಣಿಸಬಹುದು ಆದರೆ ಇದು ನಿಜ. ಹಳೆಯ ಬಟ್ಟೆ ಎಸೆಯುವದು, ಉಗಳುವದು, ಅಡಿಗೆ ಮಾಡಿ ಅಲ್ಲಿಯೇ ಮುಸರೆ ಹಾಕುವದು ಮುಂತಾದ ಎಲ್ಲ ಲಕ್ಷಣಗಳನ್ನು ಪ್ರಸಿದ್ಧ ಧಾರ್ಮಿಕ ಸ್ಥಳಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಕಾಣಬಹುದು. ನಾನು ಇಲ್ಲಿ ನೋಡಿದ್ದೂ ಅದನ್ನೇ.

ನಾವು ಬೆಳಿಗ್ಗೆ ಬೇಗನೆ ಹೋದರು ಆಗಲೇ ಜನ ಜಂಗುಳಿ ತುಂಬಿತ್ತು. ದೊಡ್ಡ ಸಾಲೊಂದು ದೇವರ ಸನ್ನಿಧಿಗೆ ಹೋಗಲು ತಯಾರಾಗಿ ನಿಂತಿತ್ತು. ನನಗನಿಸಿದಂತೆ ಅವರು ಹಿಂದಿನ ದಿನವೇ ಬಂದು ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಉಳಿದುಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದರು. ಜನರು ನರಸಿಂಹ ದೇವರಿಗೆ ಹರಕೆ ಹೊತ್ತುಕೊಂಡು ಅಲ್ಲಿಗೆ ಬಂದಿರುತ್ತಾರೆಂದು ಸಿದ್ದ ಹೇಳುತ್ತಿದ್ದರು. ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ, ಆಂಧ್ರ, ಮಹಾರಾಷ್ಟ್ರ ಮತ್ತು ಬಹುಶ ತೆಲಂಗಾಣದಿಂದನೂ ಜನ ಬಂದಿದ್ದರೆಂದು ತೋರುತ್ತದೆ.

ಸುರಂಗದ ಒಳಗೆ ಹೋಗಲು ಆಸೆ ಇದ್ದರು ನಾನು ಮೊದಲೇ ಸಿದ್ದನ ಅನುಭವ ಕೇಳಿ ಹೆದರಿದ್ದೆ. ತುಂಬಾ ಜನಸಂದಣಿ ಇರುತ್ತದೆ, ಸಿದ್ದ ಹೋದಾಗ ನೀರಿನ ಮೇಲೆ ಸತ್ತ ಜಿರಳೆಗಳು ತೇಲುತ್ತಿದ್ದವಂತೆ, ಮೇಲೆ ಯಾವಾಗಲೂ ಬಾವಲಿಗಳು ಜೋತಾಡುತ್ತಿರುತ್ತವೆ, ಕೆಲವೊಮ್ಮೆ ಹಾರುತ್ತಲೂ ಇರುತ್ತವೆ, ಆದರೆ ಈವರೆಗೂ ಅವು ಯಾರಿಗೂ ಹಾನಿ ಮಾಡಿಲ್ಲವಂತೆ. ಸುಮಾರು ಮುನ್ನೂರು ಮೀಟರ್ ನಡೆದ ಮೇಲೆ ಗರ್ಭ ಗುಡಿಯ ಹತ್ತಿರ ಅಷ್ಟೊಂದು ಜಾಗವಿಲ್ಲ, ಒಂದು ಸಮಯಕ್ಕೆ ಕೇವಲ ಎಂಟೇ ಜನ ದೇವರ ದರ್ಶನ ಮಾಡಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯ. ಮಿಕ್ಕ ಜನ ನೀರಿನಲ್ಲಿ ತಮ್ಮ ಸರದಿಗಾಗಿ ಕಾಯುತ್ತ ನಿಲ್ಲಬೇಕಾಗುತ್ತದೆ.

ನೀರಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಸಲ್ಫರ್ ಇದೆ ಎಂದು, ನೀರಲ್ಲಿ ಹೋಗುವದರಿಂದ ಚರ್ಮ ರೋಗಗಳೆಲ್ಲ ಗುಣವಾಗುತ್ತವೆಂದು ಜನ ಹೇಳುತ್ತಾರೆ. ನಾನಂತು ಬಟ್ಟೆ ತಂದಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ, ಅಲ್ಲದೆ ಜಿರಳೆ ಕಂಡರೆ ಭಯ ಜಾಸ್ತಿ, ಆದ್ದರಿಂದ ಒಳ ಹೋಗುವ ಧೈರ್ಯ ನಾನು ಮಾಡಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಹೊರಗಿನಿಂದನೆ ದೇವರಿಗೆ ನಮಸ್ಕಾರ ಮಾಡಿದೆ.

ಒಳಗಡೆ ಬೆಳಕು ಗಾಳಿ ಸೌಕರ್ಯವನ್ನು ಮಾಡಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ತುಂಬಾ ಜನ ಪ್ರವಾಸಿಗರು ತಮ್ಮ ಮಕ್ಕಳನ್ನು ಕರೆದುಕೊಂಡು ಬಂದಿರುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಅವರನ್ನು ತಮ್ಮ ಹೆಗಲ ಮೇಲೆ ಕೂರಿಸಿಕೊಂಡು ಹರಿ ಹರಿ ಎಂದು ನರಸಿಂಹ ನಾಮ ಸ್ಮರಣೆ ಮಾಡುತ್ತಾ ನಡೆಯುತ್ತಾರೆ.

೨೦೧೨ ರಲ್ಲಿ ನರಸಿಂಹ ಝರನಿ.