Gulbarga's association with Buddhism has been dated back to 3rd and 4th century BC. Buddha Vihar is one such attraction that depicts the bygone era in this place. Right next to the Gulbarga University, in the outskirts, is the Buddha Vihar. The massive six-foot idol of Buddha here is made out of black and has a glossy finishing. There are also gold-plated idols of smiling Buddha along with his disciples, Anand and Kashyap, which has been imported from Bangkok.
The intricately carved doors add to the beauty of the place. There is a museum, guest houses, a dining hall and an auditorium within the temple complex. The temple complex is built in an area of 75 acres and the main structure has a resemblance with the Ajanta and Ellora sculptures.
Khwaja Bande Nawaz Dargah, dedicated to the Sufi saint Syed walShareef Kamaluddin bin Muhammad bin Yousuf AlHussaini, is one of the popular Muslim shrines in Gulbarga. The Sufi saint here is said to have played a significant role in bringing harmony between various religions. This saint, who spent most of his time in Delhi, finally settled down in Gulbarga on the invitation of Bahamani Sultan, Taj Ud-Din Firuz Shah.
After completing his education in Delhi and teachings in Gwalior, Mewat and several other places, he came to Gulbarga in the year 1397 and died in the year 1422. He earned much respect from the Bahamani Sultan and his tomb is a place of ziyarat. The saint has also written various books and people from every walk of life and religion visit his dargah in Gulbarga to celebrate the death anniversary every year on 15th, 16th and 17th of Zul-Qa'dah of Muslim calendar and seek blessings.
Bonal Lake is the second largest bird sanctuary after Ranganathittu in Mysore. Bonal Lake is located in Gulbarga and is 10 km from Shorapur. It attracts a lot of tourists. There are facilities of camping and jungle trails for travellers to enjoy the place around much better; this is an initiative by the government. This place attracts a lot of flamingos, egrets, aquatic fowls, white ibis, black ibis, brahminy duck, white-necked storks and many more.
The sanctuary is built on a water conservation tank by a ruler of Shorapur called Pam Naik in the 17th century. This is one of the largest tanks built in the drought-prone region and the same is mentioned in the autobiography of the British administrator of Shorapur, Meadows Taylor's, "The Story of My Life".
Located in the Chandrampalli village on the bank of river Bhima is the Chandrampalli Dam. The dam is less popular; however, it is one of the most beautiful attractions of Gulbarga. In and around the dam is the lush green forest, Chincholi, where travellers can camp and trek to experience Mother Nature. There is also a Hanuman temple close to the dam. This dam is one of the most important ones in the district as it supplies water to irrigation. This dam was built in the year 1973.
There are 6 spillway gates and the release gates are towards the southern end of the dam; the dam is an earthen dam with spillway gates on the left bank. The height of the dam is 28.65 metres and the length is 926.54 metres. At full reservoir level, the dam is 493.16 ft and maximum water level the dam can store is 496.21 metres. There are 6 gates in total and the main purpose of the dam was irrigation.
Gottam Gutta forest is located in the Chincholi Taluk of Gulbarga district. Gottam Gutta forest is covered by lush green forests and the best time to visit this place is during monsoon. The forest is less explored by travellers and hence, remains a virgin beauty and a perfect place to hang-out for those who love offbeat travelling. With the amazing backwaters from the Chandrampalli reservoir built on the Bhima river, this place is a natural beauty, which calls for a visit.
Gottam Gutta forest is an amazing option for trekking and camping enthusiasts. Water turfs are built for the animals of the forest and there is also a watchtower. A plan of having a guest house to facilitate the travellers has been thought through the Karnataka State Tourism and Development Corporation in this region.
An abode of Sri Jayatheertha is at Malkheda. This shrine is dedicated to the Dvaita philosopher, Sri Jayatheertha, also known as Sri Theekaraayaru. Founder of Sri Uttaradi Math and teacher of the Dvaita philosophy, he not only teaches the principles but also criticises the other philosophical system. It is believed that Sri Jayatheertha was born as a bull that carried the philosophical works of Sri Madhwacharya; when his other disciples wanted to write commentaries of the work, Sri Madhwacharya told them that none other than the bull has this privilege.
The bull gets cursed by the disciples—it would die of a snake bite. Upon knowing this, Sri Madhwacharya says that the snake would die and not the bull. Jayatheertha, initially known as Dhondupant, gets introduced to Sanyasa by Akshobhya Tirtha and his forced marital life ends on day one when he transforms into a snake leaving the bride scared. Every year aradhana of this great philosopher is celebrated here and this place attracts a lot of devotees.
Located on the banks of Bhima in the taluk of Chitapur, Gulbarga, Sannati is a popular attraction; Sannati is popular for its Chandrala Parameshwari Temple complex and the archaeological excavations that date back to emperor Ashoka's rule.
The idol of Goddess Kali was destroyed in the year 1986 when the complex collapsed and that revealed the inscriptions written in Prakrit and Brahmi language that belonged to the emperor Ashoka. The excavations included the clay pendants, black polished pottery, coins that belonged to the Satavahana and pre-Satavahana eras and these things are preserved in the Gulbarga Museum.
Sannati is also known for its Chandrala Parameshwari Temple; it is believed that the goddess appeared on the banks of the river Bhima to save a devotee from the clutches of a wicked king. Legend also says that Sannati is the place where the sage Markandeya composed parts of Markandeya Upanishad.
Rayan Kollur is also known as Rajan Kollur, which is known for its megaliths that are 2000–3000 years old. Different varieties of sandstone megaliths are found in Rajan Kollur in Gulbarga. The speciality of the megaliths in Rajan Kollur are that they are prevented from collapsing inwards since all the longer side slabs are projecting beyond the shorter ones. The dolmens seen here were taller than a human being and were more than 3.5 m long. This place when initially built stretched almost 360 m, meaning three times more than what we get to see today. These are the monuments built for the dead though it is believed that there were houses built for the living.
The dolmens present in Rajan Kollur are similar to that of Wales and it is said that there were once 160 dolmens out of which only a 100 can be spotted today.
Malkhed (Manyakheta), the former capital city of the Rashtrakuta and the Chalukya dynasty, is the abode of the beautiful Malkhed Fort. The fort has two massive bastions made of limestones placed on top of each other and these stones are known as Shahbad stones, famous in this region. The walls are close to 20 feet tall and a pair of wooden doors hanging by their hinges can be seen as you enter the fort. There is also a dargah inside the fort and the inner fort is beyond an arch found opposite to this dargah.
As you enter the fort, a narrow passage opens up and to the east of this platform is a watchtower, which has spiral stairway and to the west there is a mosque called the Kaala Masjid. There are carvings of Jain images and the floral designs on the door. There is a path from mosque that leads to the fort wall running parallel to the Kagini river. A lot of cannons and the ruins of houses and a complex can also be seen here.
Located in the taluk of Afzalpur, Kalburgi district, Ganagapur or Deval Ganagapur is a village and a holy place of Sri Narasimha Saraswati (incarnation of Lord Dattatreya). It is believed that Sri Narasimha Saraswati would always be at Ganagapur (as per the book Guru Charitra) and as long as he was alive, he followed the ritual of bathing at the confluence of the river and would beg for alms during the noon and the pooja offered by the devotees were accepted at the Padukas present in the temple.
Hence, even to this day, the devotees visiting this holy place take a dip at the confluence of the Bhima and Amarja rivers and beg for alms from at least five houses and seek blessings at the Paduka of Sri Narasimha Saraswati. Ganagapur has buses and train facilities from Gulbarga. There are accommodation facilities too.