Buddha circuit in Gulbarga - new attraction for visitors

by ND Shiva Kumar, TNN, Aug 12, 2012

BANGALORE, India -- Lord Buddha - smiling and sleeping -- is an added attraction in the Hyderabad-Karnatak region, the treasure of Islamic monuments.

The Buddha Vihara in Gulbarga became an instant hit after it was inaugurated in 2009. Shortly, the 'Sleeping Buddha' in the adjoining district will draw crowds. The hills surrounding the Shahpur town in Yadgir district hold the curiosity. The visitors can hardly miss the view on a hill, which looks like 'Sleeping Buddha.' Realizing the importance of the place, the government is developing the area as a tourist attraction at Rs 4.38 crore. The Buddha hill will have a walkway, watch tower, parking facilities, open air theatre, meditation center, barbed wire fencing, direction markers and roadside facilities. The union ministry of tourism has already approved the and the state government has already released Rs 40 lakh to the Yadgir deputy commissioner.

The government is developing four acres 25 guntas of land for the purpose. The process of land acquisition has already begun and Rs seven lakh has been released for the purpose.

In Karnataka, 767 monuments have been declared as 'Protected Monuments.' The number of protected monuments in the Hyderabad-Karnatak region is 196. Of this, Gulbarga has 32 and Yadgir 55. Mosques, tombs, Dargahs, pre-historic stone circles, cairns and avenues are the most common monuments in Gulbarga and Yadgir.

The department of Kannada and culture is developing 14 monuments in the twin districts at Rs 813.35 lakh. The four-year project, which has begun in 2011-12, will be completed in 2014-15. From the tourism department, to develop the religious and historical places in Gulbarga district, Rs 17.74 crore is being spent and Rs 9.4 crore in the Yadgir district.

Besides being a tourist attraction, the Buddha Vihara, which is adjoining the Gulbarga University, has now become a meditation centre. The Vihara, which is built in 70 acres of land was inaugurated by former President Prathibha Patil and Tibetan spiritual Guru, the Dalai Lama in 2009, draws huge crowd, especially during the Full Moon Day and special occasions like Buddha Purnima. Brahmanand, a visitor, said: I visit often for meditation. I never miss to be here during the Full Moon day.'' Buddha Vihara has two floors -- ground floor has six-foot tall black stone statue of Buddha and the first floor hosts a six-foot tall statue of smiling Buddha.

Besides these two places, the authorities have unearthed several scripts and Stupas in Gulbarga district. Stupas have been found in Sannathi and Knaganahalli.

Priyank Kharge, whose father Mallikarjun Kharge, union labour minister, is responsible for the establishment of Buddha Vihara, admitted that the increasing fascination for Buddhism. But, Of late, it has become a fashion status for many, including those from the Hollywood. This shouldn't be done. Budddhism teaches only basic human values,'' he said.