Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Gulbarga Fort

Date: 28-12-2010
Today I chose to tour Gulbarga City. Reached there from Yadgir (Karnataka) on train(on Chennai-Mumbai rail route). Called once as Ahsenabad during Bahmani Sultanate period, now as Kalburgi in native language Kannada has its own culture and heritage. I visited Gulbarga Fort and Khwaja Bande Nawaz Durgah.
Gulbarga Fort was known to be built by Raja Gulchand of Warangal. It served as Capital of Bahmani Empire during 1347 to 1424 AD. This fort consists around 75 acres and 2 rounds of fortification. The outer wall is of lesser height and the inner wall is slightly higher and also had a moat around it. It has 15 bastions and 26 cannons. Most of the fortification was in a ruined state and encroachers were living happily in side the fort with full amenities.
I entered in to the fort through east entrance. There was a tallest stone built structure within a close distance from the entrance. A bifurcated path was going beside that structure from the entrance. Another one was leading towards Jumma Masjid. The stone built structure was 50 feet height with raised walls on all 4 sides and having an array of steps that were covering half of it's height at one corner beside the path, were leading inside. At the end of the steps there was a huge open top space still covered with walls on all sides. Up to this it was basement area. Open space area was only 1/5th of the total structure and the rest of it on the left side was further heightened. There were some openings to the left side wall, but they were sealed off with stones. At the other end of the floor there were another series of steps leading to the top. Atop there were 3 cannons placed strategically. So this must be a security post. From its top stared the most of the destroyed fortification, Jumma Masjid and another security post at a distance with a big cannon.
Came out of it and walked towards a bastion. On the way there were houses. People in those houses were not happy as I was inquiring about the path that was leading to the bastion. They were telling there was no way. But at last they agreed to go on. Thorns were lying in large on the path. It looked like officials cleared all the bushes. While I was approaching bastion a guy called me and yelled don't go. I told him to come there. He came and said, don't go up. It's a dangerous place. A wrong foot will make you collapse, like that. But I continued and asked him to come along with me. There was cannon on that bastion. I asked him about the cannons on other bastions. He told some were missing. Came down and marched towards Jumma Masjid.
This was a great mosque that can accommodate about 5000 worshipers at a time. It was built by an architect Rafi from Iran in 1367. Masjid is supported on 140 pillars. It has 250 arches and 5 large domes. The central dome was 80 feet in diameter and its interiors were decorated with flowers and creepers. There were 63 smaller domes also and they look like pots up on the mosque. This mosque was said to be fashioned on the lines of the famous Mosque of Cardova City in Spain. This was a silent place except for some chirps and tweets. Sat there in silence escaping urban chaos for a while.
Came out of Masjid, walked toward another security post in the fortification. This post was round and has 29 foot cannon, longest in this fort's artillery. Both the security posts were on same line. Walked along fortification until I had a all dome view of the Masjid. From the back also it has an attractive appearance. Except in the three structures area, everything was untidy. One can't even walk along the fortification. Path was full of thorns and human excreta. It seemed a few days ago authorities or care takers of the Fort or may be encroachers might have cut all the thorny bushes. So that I could have roamed here and there. Otherwise I wouldn't have made that adventure. At some places there were tiny passages in the inner fort wall to reach outer fort wall. Earth was filled to the wall height all along the inner fort wall, might be because it would be a repellent to enemy artillery.
Impression: The fort before decades was in ruining stage. Because there were no care takers. But nowadays everyone is there and all are allowing the fort to ruin in a rapid pace. Some of the places in the fort are not accessible now, thanks for the people who were residing in peace, happily erasing nearly thousand years of history. Archaeological Survey Of India washed its hands by putting a "trespassers are prosecuted" like thing. It seemed the fortification was being defaced in large in the last two to three decades time. This great fort withstood nearly for a millennium against all odds like wars, conflicts, change over between dynasties, unnoticed during British rule, face lift afterwards and now it is fighting for its existence in this peace time.



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