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"Centre of Sufism in South India"

Gulbarga Tourism

Officially known as Kalaburagi, this city is famous for its historical monuments, temples, tombs and delectable cuisine. Located at a distance of 623 kms from Bangalore, Gulbarga, the administrative headquarters of Gulbarga is laid out with rich cultural heritage dating back to the 6th century. The city thrives on architectural marvels of those ages while being an important religious centre of Sufism.

The stark architecture and monuments of the area, with Hindu and Muslim influences in equal measure, look stunning and serene. The forts, in particular, are a must-visit. With a busy tourist season, budget accommodation options and colourful festivals, Gulbarga promises an enjoyable time for its visitors. If you’re looking for a healthy dose of cultural beauty, heritage and breathtaking locations, Gulbarga is just the place for you.

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Gulbarga History

Gulbarga is a city steeped in history through the ages. While ‘Gulbarga’ in Urdu means ‘garden of flowers’, its official name is the Kannada ‘Kalaburagi’ which means ‘Stone fort’. The fascinating story of this city goes back to the sixth century. Initially, under the control of Hindu empires including the Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Kalahari, Yadavas, Hoysalas and the Kakatiyas, the Muslim rulers of the Delhi Sultanate eventually got control of the region. Mohammed bin Tughlaq is said to have been fond of the city.

After a revolt, the Bahmanis came to power under Zafar Khan Alauddin Hasan Gangu. Under his regime, Gulbarga gained fame as the capital of the empire. This was eventually annexed by the Mughals, who undertook many architectural projects around the city. In the eighteenth century, Gulbarga was taken over by the princely state of Hyderabad. After independence, it eventually found its way to the state of Karnataka. The tumultuous history of the region lends it its unique culture and heritage – you can expect to see buildings from different parts of history and architectural styles.

Languages Spoken in Gulbarga

Gulbarga is located in North Karnataka, where Kannada is the prominent language. The characteristic dialect of Gulbarga Kannada is easy to understand if you have a basic idea of the language. Urdu and Marathi are also spoken by most of the locals. You can find your way around with Hindi as well. Tour guides and vendors near tourist locations speak English, as do most taxi drivers. It is recommended that you learn a few phrases of Hindi or Kannada before you make your way to this historic city. The locals are friendly and helpful. Most signboards carry instructions in English and the local language.

Festivals Celebrated

Gulbarga is famous for its colourful festivals. The Urs Festival held annually at the tomb of Khwaja Bande Nawaz brings thousands of visitors to the region. Held in August, this event commemorates the death anniversary of the mystic.

Another must-visit celebration is the annual Car festival of the Sharana Basaveshwara Temple. Held in March, this event sees a brilliantly decked up chariot which carries the deity around the city. Celebrated with joy and revelry over a period of two weeks, the Car festival hosts international visitors too.

Shopping in Gulbarga

Souvenir shopping is effortless at Gulbarga because of the abundance of trinkets, jewellery and showstoppers on display. Handicrafts are especially sought after here – keep an eye out for intricate designs on sandalwood, rosewood and teak. From small souvenirs like jewellery to huge statues of animals and gods, the woodwork industry of Gulbarga thrives like never before. Bidriware items are in great demand as well. Composed of delicate designs of gold and silver to embellish goblets, vases, pipes and wall hangings, these are sure to make for memorable gifts! Women's’ clothing including Saris and Kurtas in cotton and pure silk are perfect souvenirs for loved ones. Incense sticks are famous in Gulbarga – choose from a range of natural, organic fragrances to spice up your vibe.

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How to Reach Gulbarga

How to Reach Overview

Located just 4 hours from Hyderabad, Gulbarga is one of the best-accessed cities in North Karnataka. The nearest airport is the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad (230 km). There are frequent buses that go from Bangalore and Hyderabad. It has a major railway station which connects to many major cities in the country. 

How to reach Gulbarga by flight

The nearest international airport is the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, which is around 4-5 hours away. This airport is connected to all major national destinations including Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Cochin, Bangalore, Jaipur and Coimbatore.

How to reach Gulbarga by road

How to reach Gulbarga by train

Gulbarga is connected to most cities in the southern states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala and Tamilnadu by rail. Northern cities like Delhi and Mumbai are also connected to Gulbarga. There are two railway stations in the vicinity – Gulbarga and Martur. Shatabdi Express, Konark Express, Chennai Mail, Lokamanya Express, Coimbatore Express, Rajkot Express, Udyan Express and Shirdi Express are a few major trains that halt at Gulbarga.

How to reach Gulbarga by bus

Gulbarga is best reached through bus from Bangalore and Hyderabad. Both journeys take around 10-12 hours. Both government and private buses are available. You can avail air-conditioned sleeper buses too. Charges range from INR 400 – 800.

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Gulbarga Photos

Historic Jama Masjid Gulbarga - Built in A.D. 1367
Bahmani Sultanate Architecture of Jama Masjid, Gulbarga
Gulbarga Fort - Built in Ancient Islamic Architecture

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FAQs on Gulbarga

What is the best time to visit Gulbarga?

The best time to visit Gulbarga is between the winter months of October and March. During this time, the average temperature is 25°C, which is cosy and comfortable. In the summer months between March and June, it gets scorchingly hot in Gulbarga – temperatures go as high as 40°C, making travel very difficult. Monsoon strikes the region at the end of June and extends till the end of September. Gulbarga sees heavy rains, which may hamper your travel plans. The rains tend to slow down as the year ends, so you can still visit the region in September.
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What is the local food in Gulbarga?

Gulbarga is famous for its unique, eclectic cuisine which is influenced by Persian, Marathi and Kannada dishes. The cuisine is distinctly spicy and sweet, with chillies and jaggery being the main ingredients of most dishes. The staple diet includes millets as opposed to rice. There are many vegetarian options you can try out too. Vegan-friendly cuisine is hard to come by, so make sure you take a few snacks with you if you’re vegan and planning to travel to Gulbarga. The Jolada Rotti, made with whole grain, is a staple food that is a must-try. The Tumbu Gai is an eggplant dish that is served with ground peanuts. If you’re one for sweetmeats, make sure to try the Godi Huggi, Shenga Unde, Malpuri and Holige Roti, which predominantly contain jaggery and coconut.
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What is the best way to reach Gulbarga?

Located just 4 hours from Hyderabad, Gulbarga is one of the best-accessed cities in North Karnataka. The nearest airport is the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad (230 km). There are frequent buses that go from Bangalore and Hyderabad. It has a major railway station which connects to many major cities in the country. 
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What are the things to do in Gulbarga?

The top things to do in Gulbarga are Khwaja Bande Nawaz Dargah, Buddha Vihar, Gulbarga Fort, Sharana Basaveshwara Temple, Chandrampalli Dam, Jama Masjid Gulbarga. You can see all the places to visit in Gulbarga here

What are the places near Gulbarga?

The top places near to Gulbarga are Hampi which is 225 km from Gulbarga, Hyderabad which is located 175 km from Gulbarga, Ajanta and ellora caves which is located 345 km from Gulbarga, Bijapur which is located 131 km from Gulbarga, Mahabaleshwar which is located 343 km from Gulbarga

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