On the way to the Shivalaya group of temples Badami, Karnataka.
Badami, formerly known as Vatapi, is a town in Karnataka, India. It was the capital of the Badami Chalukyas from 540 to 757 AD. It is famous for its rock rock-cut structural temples. See wikipedia for more….
Amma veedus are the palatial houses where the minor queens or the consorts of the Travancore king used to stay. There are still a few amma veedus in the West Fort area of Trivandrum. One of these has been tastefully converted into a fine dining restaurant.
The house in the image is opposite that restaurant, taken from its second-floor window.
In January 2015 on a visit to Varanasi, a curious sight caught our eyes. It was a bull squatting non chalantly in a textile showroom under a Shiva idol while the customers and the staff went about their business uninterrupted. We captured the image and moved on.
Only later we learnt that the bull visits the shop every day without fail. The locals attribute this to the Siva idol in the shop. Maybe the shopkeeper feeds the bull too. On holidays, the bull just hangs around outside. The shop is called Chikan House – Exclusive.
I have seen many social media posts of this bull and the shop. This post is only to assure that the bull’s visit is real and not all bull like many social media forwards. These images are taken by me. I can not, of course, vouch for the regularity of the bull’s visit as I was there only for two days.
There are episodes where the Nandi hides darshan of Shiva, but here is a situation where the Nandi provides not only unhindered darshan from the street but uninterrupted business too.
There are a couple of YouTube videos taken in 2011 and 2014. You may watch those too if you wish.
Most of us know Aurangazeb as a tyrannical and bigoted emperor who tortured and killed his family members, suppressed non-Muslims,fought many unnecessary wars which drained the exchequer. He is also known as the one who paved the way for the decline of the Mughal Empire.
But how many of us know the ‘softer’ side of this emperor? I have read in my school history book that Aurangazeb used to stitch caps and transcribe by hand copies of the Koran to sell anonymously to earn money for his burial and tomb.
The remains of the mighty emperor who lorded over the sub-continent for about five decades lie in a modest tomb in a non-descript town of Khuldabad, about 30 kilometers from Aurangabad.
Aurangzeb died in Ahmednagar(1707 C.E.), but he had a desire to be interred near the tomb of his Islamic guru, Sayyad Zainuddin Shirazi at Khuldabad.
Originally, his tomb was open and on all sides. Lord Curzon directed the then Nizam to put up marble panels all around. The top is still open to the sky.
A blind caretaker Sheikh Hakim was at the site when I visited and was most helpful.
Flowers for the emperor
Aurangazeb’s son and his wife are also buried near the emperor’s tomb and Zainuddin Shirazi’s dargah is just behind. Behind the dargah there is a small room which is believed to house the robes of the prophet.
Across the narrow and busy street is the dargah of Sayyad Burhanuddin another notable teacher. The tomb of the first Nizam is also in this complex.
The dargah of Sayyed Burahnuddin
Nizam’s second son lies here
The tomb of the first Nizam
The whole complex is devoid of any visual or architectural attraction but it stands as a testimony to the frugality of a mighty emperor who hailed from a dynasty which took pride in building grandiose monuments and tombs.
The Bibi ka Maqbara was built by the son of Aurangazeb, Azam Shah, in memory of his mother. Aurangazeb was never keen on building monuments and he was also stingy. He sanctioned only Rs.7 lakh for this project.The son finished the project in about 6,68,000 Rupees (cf. Taj Mahal Rs 320,00,000) . Only the domes and doors are made of marble. A lot of it is brick and lime mortar with eggshells.
The monument resembles Taj but it is clear that it is an imitation. Yet it is worth a visit.