June 28, 2012

Bidar, Gulbarga and Bijapur

Ibrahim Roza
A marvelous work of craftsmanship, they say is modeled on the Taj. For me however, it is a model building not seen elsewhere.
It actually does look like the Taj in its later or perhaps an earlier avatar. And though the comparison comes naturally, it does do a bit of unfair justice to a beautiful creation such as the Roza, for it is a true gem on its own accord.It is cool inside and clean outside, unlike the rest of the city.

Looking at a place like this, completely overshadowed as it is by the imposing gumbaz near the present day railway station, I realize that every city has its historical paradox. Implying that for every Qutub there is a Raja ki Baoli, for every Gol Gumbaz, there is a beautiful piece of art called the Ibrahim Roza.

The city had till now left a not so sweet impression for the amount of dirt, grime and sometimes not so pleasant looking people (that is not a generalization, just with reference to the people whom we met). Then there was this wonderful security guard at the Taj Baoli who reacted adversely when I was not even referring to him, but to a kid who was spitting. I told the kid that he should not dirty the place and the guard immediately pounced upon this and said 'Tell the DC that the place is not clean and it is not his responsibility', but the DC's.
Another interesting thing that we found in the Ibrahim Roza was this film crew with a knowledgeable anchor cum team leader. She told us to explore underground and lo behold, that was sight to see. Left the Roza at 13.12.

Gulbarga in the dusk

Nothing spectacular except perhaps the fort area, which holds a small settlement inside. We went, though not before having a lovely lunch at a roadside dhaba where the cook was 9 years old and the roti wallah was even less, perhaps. After a rather fresh meal where everything was cut and cooked in front of our eyes, we went on.

Reached Bidar in the dark where everything looked dark and green and dense and lonely. I only expected it to be the same the next morning as this area was reputed to be a dry zone.

At Bidar 0945

North 17 58 21.0
East 77 23 12.7

An amazing site, perfect location for a jungle lodges that could be imagined in dry landscape such as Bidar. One comes to a place like Bidar usually combining it with a trip to Bijapur or Gulbarga and usually to visit the fort. Visitors hardly associate it with the lush forests of the western ghats that Karnataka is famous for. But the region springs a surprise and a huge one at that. Barely 15 kilometres from the city, driving at a leisurely pace, one’s eye staring at the vast expanse of the Deccan Plateau, suddenly something jumps out of the view. What could it be, one may wonder. And then at a distance you the male, the male blackbuck, venerated and worshipped, elegant and sinous. And then you see more, upto twenty in a single herd. You are in Black buck country
The lake must be 12-14 acres. It is a decently beautiful lake that abounds by the sounds of several peacocks and loads of smaller beings. Butterflies thrive in the vicinity, making it a noisy biodiverse habitat.
There are fields in the command area of the lake with cows grazing around.

It is DDF Forest or more likely a scrub.

Did a great walk alongwith Karthik Sir.


-Bee mimic king fly, besides the obvious difference, the fly does look like a bee.
-Canthium, ashrub has fruits that are eatable, lots of thorns and is good to look at.
-Rounded Pierrot is found in the dry areas. It is white and Black.
-Joker is another dry area butterfly.
-Fungus in the wild. When it is ripe, it explodes and the dust spreads everywhere.
-Story of Ants - -- - It digs up the soil from underneath and puts soil on the top level. Pangolins feed on ants. The lazy ones keep the soil on the corners while the hardworking ants put the soil at the very top
-They make an underground chamber for the family to live in.
-They make soil as good as earth worms

Millipedes have two pairs of legs per segment while centipedes have one pair of leg per segment.

We reached the end of the walk at 11.20. That means, it took us one and half hours of slow walk to reach this far.

Crimson Rose butterfly - - We saw both the butterfly as well as the caterpillar. The host plant is called Aristolochia. The flowers are unique for there is a bulb with hairs pointing downwards. When the pollinator goes down the bulb, the hair makes it difficult for them to come out. Only when it has collected all the pollen, that the hair withers out and the pollinator comes out. That is what is unique about this Aristolochia.

The Bidar property boasts of an amazing nature walk of more than two hours if done properly. One can walk down on to the embankeme

nt of the Vilaspur tank and cross over to the other side. A small climb and one can walk till the end of the forest on both the sides. Climbing up to the plateau, the walk back is an exciting ride through dense forests on both sides and one can well imagine the ancient spread of the vast central Indian forests that is unique, fragile yet an eye-opener.

You know the magic of nature

On a stony hilly plateau atleast 50-75 metres away from the nearby forests/plains, where due a to a lack of soil depth, just about everything makes an attempt to survive and life is held to tenaciously (an the proof being that releatively huge nem tree, which must have taken several years to reach this height in such a punishing environment, fallen, possibly because it could not fight a strong burst of wind or a heavy spell of torrential rains. Suddenly, I see a dip and see an oasis of greenery. Almost evergreen in nature, it was a paradise in the top of a tough hill. And then I see, that the entire area has subsided inwards, as if a giant JCB has scooped the rock and flung it far away. A soft layer of alluvial soil held out life to several trees and with little scope of exit, most of the water was being utilized by the trees.

Walking on that plateau, I feel that the slope or aspect plays a magical role. On the plateau, the slope was from the left to the right and as a result the vegetation on the right hand side of the cliff was much more green and luxurious.

Bidar has been carefully chosen as Jungle Lodges flagship in North Karnataka. It serves the twin purpose of showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the region while at the same time sensitisies the visitor of the hidden natural gems, usually hidden from public eyes. The nature walk for example being offered in the surroundings of the resort is an attempt to explaore and make visitors understamd the nature of dry, scrub forests of this part of Central India. And if the walk is undertaken in the rains, it gets even better as the lush environment adds to the charm.

We came back and read books, rested, had a pleasant evening and slept. The next day we fionally left, went around Bidar and then to Hyderabad, through the most terrible traffic I have perhaps ever seen in my whole life. In the list of bad traffics, this counted as highest. Waited for the train and finally left.