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Gulbarga

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"Kalaburagi of Karnataka"

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 district in Northern Karnataka, is an essential landmark in the history and culture of the region. 

Laid out with rich cultural heritage dating back to the 6th century, Gulbarga has traces of almost all the major powers of the Southern region in its map, but the most prominent of them is that of the Bahmani Sultanate and the subsequent dominance of the Aurangzeb after its decline. 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 with your loved ones. 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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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

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

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

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.

Accommodation and local transport

Gulbarga is an excellent budget tourist destination, as you don’t have to strain your wallet a lot even during peak tourist time. You can find air-conditioned hotel rooms beginning at a price of INR 800 per night. Non-air conditioned rooms can be found as cheap as INR 300 per night, although you may not be able to access many amenities. You can travel within the city on buses, auto rickshaws or taxi cabs. We recommend hiring a private cab to explore the many wonders of the city at your own pace.

Restaurants and 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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