Continued from here
We headed back to the hotel for lunch and some respite from the sun. We then went towards the Gurudwara: Guru Nanak Jhira, unexpectedly since someone sent us towards that when we asked for the route to the Baridi Tombs. Neither of us particularly wanted to spend time there with the shorter evenings in winter and so lesser time to see other things we’d planned, and so went in and headed back out quickly. It’s quite a huge space and they are adding more rooms to it. It is believed that GuruNanak found a source of water/a spring here in the otherwise arid town and therefore the term “Jhira” or stream. It’s quite a culture shock to all of a sudden see a huge number of Sikhs in Bidar solely here! We saw 0 anywhere else we had wandered in Bidar.
We did notice however that there were 3 small tombs near the Gurdwara too. The gates were closed (since it was a Friday ?) and so we had to move on after a refreshing drink of lime juice from a cheerful vendor there.
We next went looking for the Baridi Tombs and the map simply wouldn’t point us to it. We asked people and realised that the place was referred to as the “Bareed Shahi Park” (note the spelling of Bareed). While the Bahamani tombs did have people picnicking, having an actual park with kids playground and fake deer felt a little close to the morbid view of things- like a playground in a cemetery…or maybe that’s just me.
We strolled around amidst school kids and harassed teachers trying their best to rein them in and maintain a semblance of order. It’s a small place with small tombs especially in comparison with the ones at Ashtur. Still pleasant enough for a 1/2 hr of relaxing.
Madrasa of Khoaja Mahmud Gawan
This was one place that seemed all kinds of interesting to me and I’d made up my mind to visit. Firstly it was a residential university of the time, it seemed to have beautiful tile work on its façade and legend says that it was struck by lightning. [The Archaeological Society of India says it was a gunpowder explosion that crashed into it, but I like the lightning theory better so I’m sticking to that story.] And so going through a lot of red soil in the air and on the roads we got there.
Only traces of the blue, green, white glazed tiles and delicate calligraphic text remains but it’s enough to make you sigh wistfully at how wondrous it may have looked in its time.
It then provided free accommodation for 1000 students while teaching them mathematics, theology, astronomy and other subjects and had 3000 books in its library too. The portion of the structure ahead is now a functional mosque where people had come to pray at the time we got there. A portion of the collapsed structure is supported by a pillar to hold it in place now. The caretaker opens up each area and shows you around briefly as the study halls, the professor’s chambers, and student’s living quarters. Oh, what we would give to have a quick peek into the past to see it with amidst the bustle of academics and wisdom.
Deva Deva Vana :
We decided to spend the evening at a place that’s a little less dusty than the city and headed to Deva Deva Vana that we had spotted on our way to Bidar. A stroll around the eco-tourism park helped us rewind from the interesting past 2 days. The plants around had boards with names to familiarise us with the diversity of the vegetation there but otherwise no information available. It wasn’t at its greenest in winter when we got there, nevertheless made a pleasant place for a relaxed walk as the evening got cooler and ended in yet another lovely sunset.
As we drove back towards Bangalore the next day, we stopped this time at a mosque we had seen on our way in. It is supposedly referred to as Bidar’s Taj Mahal and rightly so. A structure in pure white marble – Astana Chishtiya Hazrat Multani Baba, Gangwar Shareef. It too functions as a mosque as we had seen quite a few people coming back from their prayers on our way to Bidar.
A little ahead we decided to make yet another pitstop at an unnamed lake (even on online maps) by the road. We were amply rewarded with the perfect end to the trip -pretty scenes of birds completely oblivious to our presence going about their day with casual and enchanting grace.
Up next : China – EmeiShan – Of mountains and miracles