SHRI JHARNI NARASIMHA CAVE TEMPLE
After lunch, we headed for Shri Jharni Narasimha Cave Temple (6 kms away from bus stand) in a rickshaw for Rs. 80. It is a cave temple associated with Lord Narasimha, an incarnation (avatar) of Hindu god Vishnu. The ancient temple is excavated in a 300 metre tunnel under the Manichoola hill range. The temple was flocked by devotees and we decided not to enter the temple as there was a long queue.
The temple premises has a large hot water spring/ pool for devotees to bathe in. From there, a rickshaw driver agreed to drive us to Bahmani Tombs (5 kms away from Narasimha Temple), then to Chaukhandi of Hazrat Khalil Ullah (1 km from Bahmani Tombs) and then back to our hotel (8 kms) all for Rs. 300 (seems expensive but the guy was going to be with us till evening so that was okay).
Situated in the Ashtur village, the place is literally a complex of huge tombs. Out of the 13 tombs, 9 belong to the Bahmani Sultans and other 4 belong to their wives. It is located some 9 kms away from the city centre.
For Bahmani Tombs, you drive along the Mangalpet Road from Narasimha Templeand then take a detour to drive along the Ring Road. After another detour along the Ring Road towards Ashtur, you get to see Chaukhandi; another kilometer ahead of that and you get to see huge domes which are the Bahmani Tombs. It took us 15-20 minutes to reach there from the temple.
The earliest and grandest among them is the Tomb of Ahmad Shah-al-Wali, the ninth king of Bahmani dynasty. Built in 1436 AD, it honours the Sultan who shifted the Bahmani capital from Gulbarga to Bidar.
The tomb is decorated with calligraphic bands and inscriptions. While the most recurring color schemes include vermilion, turquoise and gold, there are also instances of cobalt, gray terra-verde and buff.
Near the tomb of Ahmad Shah, is that of his wife which essentially has the same layout, on a much smaller scale. However, it is placed on a four feet platform and rises about 29 feet above the Sultan’s own tomb.
A guide named Sultan Khaleel Shah Bahmani claimed to be the descendent of Bahmani dynasty. He showed us couple of coins from the Bahmani era. You may contact Sultan on 09739486771, to guide you about the place and its history. You may also check his credentials on Youtube here.
There’s a tomb which is partially collapsed but gives a wonderful view of the interiors of the dome. It belongs to Humayun Shah, son of Sultan Allauddin Shah. The structure seems like a cross-section cut model of a tomb. Sultan told us that the two walls and most of the dome collapsed due to lightning.
CHAUKHANDI OF HAZRAT KHALIL ULLAH
After spending more than an hour at Bahmani Tombs, we moved to the Chaukhandi which is a tomb of Hazrat Khalil Ullah. He was a spiritual advisor of Sultan Ahmad Shah. The structure showcases stucco work on walls, intricately carved pillars and beautiful arched doorways. The tomb is a two story octagon with a freestanding square domed tomb chamber within. The doorway walls are adorned with beautiful calligraphy depicting Quranic verses.
PAPNASH MAHADEV TEMPLE
Having left from our rooms at 6 pm, we reached Papnash Mahadev Temple (2 kms away) by rickshaw (Rs. 100 including journey back to Gurudwara Nanak Jhira Sahib). The temple is located in a beautiful valley and has a natural spring pond, called as “Papnash”. It is believed that Lord Ram while returning from Lanka installed a Shivalingam in this temple.
GURUDWARA SRI NANAK JHIRA SAHIB
We reached the Gurudwara post 7 pm which proved to be the best time to visit as it was less crowded. The gurudwara is about 2 kms away from the main road/ bus stand. The Gurudwara consists of:
Sukhaasan Room (Rest room for Guru Granth Sahib Ji)
A beautiful sarovar (sacred pool) is built in front of the Gurudwara stairs. The water from Sri Nanak Jhira (natural spring) is directed to this pool for pilgrims to take holy dip.