From sampling the local cuisine each day of my trip Gulbarga to stopping at roadside Dhabas for a quick bite, walking along a mighty dam to pronouncing the best restaurant in Gulbarga, I had a blast with my two little super active kids painting the town red! We had one more visit pending, and this was something I was saving for my kids! I know the significance of what they saw will dawn on them only a few years later, but all the same, I wanted to impress on them the importance of the Buddha Vihar Gulbarga. A unique edifice, this represents more than just a building. It is to me, the dawning of a new culture in Karnataka. The Buddha Vihar, located about six kilometers from Gulbarga has emerged as a major Buddhist pilgrim centre in South India. This structure is adjacent to the Gulbarga University campus and is created in Buddhist architecture style, an imposing domed building on a elevated ground.
The dome is of Italian white marble chips, blending the styles of Sanchi Stupa, Ajanta, Saranath and Nagpur. The building is spread across 18 acres. My kids and I went in to discover a meditation center at the cellar and a Chaitya or temple of Lord Gauthama Buddha on the ground floor. The dome is 70 feet high.
The main attraction is the gold coated 8.5 feet high Panchaloha statue Buddha seated. An impressive fact that thankfully absorbed my kids as well, this is supposed to be the tallest Buddha statue in South India, imported from Thailand. The walls of the complex have cement carvings depicting the Jataka tales, Buddha Charite and the Tipitaka.
Other attractions include an open-air theater housing 2,500 visitors, a U-shaped Dhamma complex that houses a dormitory, study center, library, dining hall, kitchen, conference hall, guests rooms and dormitory, A bronze statue of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and three massive arches, the largest and white arch shaped as a peel leaf over the statue of Buddha to signify enlightenment. There are four Ashoka pillars in the four corners, 48 feet high, symbols of noble truths – Suffering; Attachment, the origin of suffering; Cessation of suffering and lastly path to the cessation of suffering.
We had a lovely time at the Buddha Vihar Gulbarga. As soon as our visit was done, we turned our attention to a favorite pastime, the pursuit of taste bud tickling food in local eateries to satisfy our foodie tongues. And I’m thinking as we check out yet another place, “I don’t have to cook for a few days yet! What a fun holiday this is going to be!”, Aarushi Singhaniya signing off for the day!