India // Karnataka //


GULBARGA, 165km northeast of Bijapur, was the founding capital of the Bahmani dynasty and the region’s principal city before the court moved to Bidar in 1424. Later captured by the Adil Shahis and Mughals, it has remained a staunchly Muslim town, and bulbous onion domes and mosque minarets still soar prominently above its ramshackle concrete-box skyline. The town is also famous as the birthplace of the chishti, or saint, Hazrat Gesu Daraz (1320–1422), whose tomb, situated next to one of India’s foremost Islamic theological colleges, is a major shrine.

In spite of Gulbarga’s religious and historical significance, its monuments pale in comparison with those at Bijapur, or even Bidar. Unless you’re particularly interested in medieval Muslim architecture, few are worth breaking a journey to see.

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