Budh Vihar, Gulbarga : Visiting timings
8AM to 12pm(Noon)
5PM to 10PM (Evening)
Gulbarga is all set to emerge as a major Buddhist pilgrim centre in South India. The Buddha Vihar of Siddarth Vihar Trust was formally inaugurated by the President of India and the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet.
Located six kilometres away from Gulbarga, adjacent to the Gulbarga University campus, the Buddha Vihar complex has been constructed in conformity with traditional Buddhist architecture. The imposing domed structure on elevated ground reminds one of the Taj Mahal.
But there are basic differences between the two. While the Taj is a white marble wonder, the Vihar’s dome is an RCC structure covered with Italian white marble chips. The Vihar blends the best of the architectural features of Buddhist centres of Sanchi, Saranath, Ajanta and Nagpur.
The construction of the Vihar, originally a small one, began in 2002. The Trust changed the blueprint to make it a huge complex making it one the best Vihars in the South.
Spread across 18 acres, it can be divided into the main building which has a meditation centre at the cellar and a Lord Buddha chaitya (temple in Pali) on the ground floor. The dome is 70 ft in height and 59 ft in diameter.
Besides, it has 48-ft tall four Ashoka pillars in the corners of the main building. It has an attractive Sankalpa stupa, 26 ft in length and 30 ft in diameter.
The other attractions are 100×100 ft open-air theatre with a 2,500-seat capacity, four large Mahadwaras (arches) known as Sanchi gates and a group of 11 cement statues led by a bronze statue of Dr B R Ambedkar indicating the Dhamma Kranti Yatra of 1956. Another feature is the U-shaped Dhamma complex housing a dormitory, a library, study centre, kitchen, dining hall, conference hall, exhibition hall and guest rooms. The Dhyana Mandir (meditation hall) in the main complex draws attention. It has a 6.5 ft tall black granite Buddha statue made in Bidadi by famous sculptor Ashok Gudigar. It is bliss to see the smiling face of Buddha while listening to the chanting of the mantra “Buddham Sharanam Gacchami” (I take refuge in the supreme knowledge).
The prayer hall is 15,625 sq ft with 170 pillars and 284 blocks. Each block has a carving representing the architecture of Buddha temples of Ajanta, Ellora, Nagpur, Bodh Gaya, Saranath, Rajgir, Lumbini, Kusinara, Thailand, Singapur, Sri Lanka, Tibet, Japan and Rome. The marbled floor of the hall has a seating capacity of 1500. There are 28 huge ventilators named after Buddhas of various eras.
The main attraction in the complex is a gold coated 8.5 ft tall panchaloha statue of the seated Buddha. This is supposed to be the tallest Buddha statue in the South. Imported from Thailand, it was consecrated in September last year. Statues of Buddha’s disciples Ananda and Kashyapara are also part of the complex. The hall has a seating capacity of 500. The walls have cement carvings depicting the jataka tales, Tipitaka and Buddha charite.
There are three huge arch-shaped entrances to the basement and the ground floors. In the corridors of the ground floor there are cement statues of Buddha. The entrance door is made of rosewood. The dome is 75 ft from the ground and has a 10-ft-tall panchaloha kalasha.
The white arch is in the shape of a peepal leaf (Bodhi tree) which symbolizes enlightenment. A beautiful landscaped garden stretches from the Mahadwara to the temple.
The Ashoka pillars in the four corners are symbols of four noble truths or Arya Satya – suffering; attachment, which is the origin of suffering; cessation of suffering and path to the cessation of suffering.