WHOLE DUDE – WHOLE LEGEND

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SREE SEETHA RAMACHANDRA SWAMY SHRINE-TEMPLE OF LORD RAMA IN BHADRACHALAM

This temple town of Bhadrachalam, on the northern banks of the river Godavari in Khammam District of the State of Andhra Pradesh, India, best describes my Indian Identity as it brings together our myths, our legends and our quest for the “Ultimate Reality”. This place is connected to events described in the epic poem of ‘RAMAYANA’ which narrates Lord Rama’s journey in our Land. Rama while living in exile, camped in the forest by the name ‘Dandakaranya’ and His spouse Sita was abducted and eventually, Rama and His brother Laxmana cross the river Godavari at this place in search of Seetha. A pious man known as Bhadra had prayed at this place seeking Lord Rama’s return to this place. Much later, a simple woman who had lived in this area had discovered the idols of ‘Vaikuntha Rama’ with Sita seated on His lap and the idol of Laxmana standing next to them. Kancharla Gopanna, a Tahsildar(revenue official) of Palvancha Paragana, built this temple in 1674 A.D. The legend about the divine intervention and the miraculous release of Gopanna from the prison at the Golconda Fort is narrated in my previous entry titled, ‘The Benevolent Shia Ruler of Golconda-Verily A Blessed Soul’.

ABOUT MYTHS AND LEGENDS :

Myths are traditional stories which serve to explain our connection to God and the universe and hence they are not the same like the fictional stories. Myths exist in a historical context but may not be true historical accounts that are supported by scientific verification. Legends are stories handed down for generations among a people and popularly believed to have a historical basis but do not qualify for inclusion in a text-book of history. As an Indian, I depend upon myths and legends to derive a sense of direction, a sense of guidance and a sense of hope for my human existence. They help me to know who I am and where I am going.

ABOUT ” REALITY ” :

Indians are very concerned about the effects of ‘ TIME ‘. We practically witness in our daily lives the forceful consequences of time. Time changes the course of human life and time changes the physical world. However, the “Ultimate Reality” does not change, it is constant and it is eternal. Indians seek this Reality as it represents their natural home and that is their final destination on completion of the life’s journey. Since ‘TRUTH’ is unchanging in its character, is also described as the Reality that we cherish to experience. Millions of Indians express this desire for Truth and the Reality with a very simple statement. They claim that the name ” RA MA ” is eternal Truth. Our search for Truth and Reality becomes very easy if we just seek ” RA MA “. Great powers on this earth had vainly tried to destroy our belief in RAMA. Mughal Emperor Babur had destroyed the temple in Ayodhya which we consider as Rama’s birth place. The forces of Sultan Tughlak had destroyed the Rama temple in my hometown Rajahmundry. Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb had destroyed countless number of temples and idols of Rama. Yet the myth and legend of Rama survives. At Bhadrachalam also known as Bhadragiri or Bhadradri(the hill of Bhadra), Sultan Tani Shah, a benevolent Shia Muslim ruler of Golconda, had helped Kancharla Gopanna to maintain this temple and this devotee of Rama is popularly known by the name ‘ BHAKTA RAMA DASU ‘.

WOULD IT BE POSSIBLE TO DESTROY RAMA ???

” Lo ! In the creation of the heavens and the earth and (in) the difference of night and day are tokens( of His sovereignty ) for men of understanding”. Surah III, verse 190, Holy Book of Quran.

Many have tried to destroy the idols and images of Rama. For example, if someone would destroy the temple of Rama in Bhadrachalam, we still connect this place and the forest and the river with Rama’s life journey. If someone would destroy the forest, level the ground and change the course of the river, I would still look for the signs of His presence in the creation of the heavens and the earth. I would describe the blue sky as the color of Rama. If someone could destroy the blue sky and when I look up and see the dark sky, I would say that I am reminded of Lord KRISHNA who is described as black and dark as the sky of New Moon’s day. Our myths remind us that Rama and Krishna are the same. I do know people take great pride in their physical power but it may not be easy to wipe out a belief system which is more than the Idols which represent the Belief. I had mentioned before in a previous entry and the Indian Identity that I had defined is willing to accept the challenge of ‘TEN COMMANDMENTS’ and the Indian Identity would survive as long as there is a sky above our heads and as long as the difference of night and day exists on this earth.

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WHOLE DUDE – WHOLE BLESSED

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SULTAN ABUL HASAN QUTB SHAH(MAY PEACE BE UPON HIM)
 

Golconda Fort near City of Hyderabad, the seat of Qutb Shahi Dynasty.

 Sultan Abul Hasan Qutb Shah was the seventh and the last ruler of the Kingdom of Golconda(Deccan,Southern India) under the Qutb Shahi Dynasty. He ruled from 1672 A.D. to 1687 A.D. He is also known as Abul Hasan Tana Shah and more popularly, he is known as ” TANI SHAH ” meaning ” benevolent ruler “. He did not discriminate against those of other ethnicities or religions. He had hired Hindus as his ministers and generals. Madanna was his Chief Minister. Madanna had a nephew by name Kancharla Gopanna. He had appointed Gopanna as a “Tehsildar”( a revenue official) of Palvancha county. Gopanna had inadvertently used the public funds for construction of RAMA temple on the banks of River Godavari at a place known as Bhadrachalam. Sultan Tani Shah found Gopanna was guilty of the misuse of the funds and had him imprisoned at the Golconda Fort.  

A LEGEND ABOUT DIVINE INTERVENTION :

   

This Lord Rama's Temple in Bhadrachalam is a testimony about Lord's Compassion, Grace and Mercy.

  

Gopanna spent about 12 years in the prison. According to legend, God had intervened on behalf of Gopanna. Lord Rama in disguise had come before the King and returned the money owed by Gopanna and the debt was cleared with gold coins.God who had come to rescue Gopanna from the prison had met the Sultan but not the prisoner. Upon his release from the prison, Gopanna did express his sorrow for missing the opportunity to meet the Lord. Gopanna was released from the prison and he had successfully finished the construction of the Rama temple which stands even today. Sultan Tani Shah had publicly acknowledged that he had met ” ALLAH ” and had recognized the fact that Gopanna’s release from the prison was made possible by divine intervention. He made permanent arrangements for the upkeep of this temple. The funds that were collected as tax from Palvancha county were allocated to the temple and also he had established an annual tradition of sending pearls to shower the Deity during the annual temple festival. This tradition of offering pearls was continued by the rulers of the princely State of Hyderabad popularly known as the ‘Nizams of Hyderbad’, who had ruled the Telangana region continuously until India’s independence. The Hyderabad State became a part of the Indian Union and the State of Andhra Pradesh came into existence in 1956 and the Government of Andhra Pradesh followed the tradition established by Sultan Tani Shah in the 17th century and the tradition of offering pearls to Lord Rama still exists.  

VERILY A BLESSED SOUL :

Did Lord Rama actually visit Golconda Fort to obtain the release of Kancharla Gopanna from the prison? Sultan Tani Shah had believed that it was God or Allah who had come to him and cleared the debt owed by Gopanna. He had further expressed that belief in his actions. He had allowed Gopanna to complete the construction of Lord Rama's Temple in Bhadrachalam and had financially supported the maintenance of that Temple. By doing so, the Shia Ruler of Golconda gave us a chance to reflect upon Lord's Mercy, Grace, and Compassion.

 

   

This benevolent ruler defended the Golconda Fort for eight months when the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb had attacked it in 1687 A.D. In October 1687, the Fort was captured by bribery and Sultan Tani Shah was taken as a prisoner and was imprisoned in Daulatabad Fort until his death. 

  

I would call Sultan Tani Shah is a Blessed Soul for he had recognized God’s plan and purpose and had supported Gopanna to build the temple and had provided for the maintenance of the temple and gave us the opportunity to know about God’s Compassion, Grace, and Mercy. Secondly, Sultan Tani Shah had received the biggest gift that a man could ever seek. Man always cherishes the idea of meeting his Creator, the Father in Heaven, Allah, the Lord, RAMA the divine reincarnation of VISHNU and very few actually realise that dream. Gopanna was rescued but could not meet RAMA. Sultan Tani Shah did not pray or ask for this favor from God. He is a Blessed Soul because God had granted him that gift. He had received a sensory experience of that Reality called God and I fully trust this experience he had shared with others. Sultan Tani Shah’s  actions substantiate his claim. Most importantly, he did not seek any personal reward or personal gain while he acted in obedience of a God he never actually believed and had never intended to worship in any manner. He had acted without seeking the fruits of his actions. I bless this Shia Ruler of Golconda and may Lord’s Peace be upon him for ever.  

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham,  

Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, A.P., India.,  

M.B.B.S., Class of April, 1970. 
 

  

  

WHOLE DUDE – WHOLE REPLICA

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CHARMINAR-ARCHITECTURAL CENTER PIECE OF HYDERABAD 

Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah, the fifth Sultan of the Qutb Shahi Dynasty of Golconda had described the then new city of Esfahan of Persia as ” unparalleled in the world and a replica of Heaven itself “. He ascended to the throne in 1580 at the age of 15 and ruled for thirty-one years. He founded the city of Hyderabad and this most well planned city was modeled on the city of Esfahan. Architects from Persia planned the lay out of Hyderabad city which was built on the southern bank of Musi River in 1591. Charminar(Four Towers) was built as the architectural centerpiece and it defines the center of the Hyderabad city. He had married a Telangana Telugu woman named Bhagmati and hence the city is known as ‘BHAGYA NAGAR’. He had given her the name Hyder Mahal and the city got its name from her new identity. He built JAMA MASJID in 1597. 

Please view the related blog post titled ‘Shia Ruler of Golconda – Verily a Blessed Soul’. 

http://bhavanajagat.wordpress.com/2008/02/05/shia-ruler-of-golconda-verily-a-blessed-soul/ 

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, 

Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India., 

M.B.B.S.,  Class of  April,  1970.

WHOLE DUDE – WHOLE DYNASTY

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GOLCONDA FORT- “GOLLA KONDA”(SHEPHERD’S HILL) 

QULI QUTUB MULK  

Quli Qutub Mulk, a Shia Muslim from Persia(present day Turkmenistan) with friends and a few relatives had migrated to Delhi in the beginning of 16th century A.D. He migrated south to Deccan and served Bahmani Sultan Mohammad Shah. He conquered Golconda and was appointed as the governor of the Telangana region(about the size of France) in 1512 A.D. After the disintegration of the Bahmani Kingdom into the five Deccan Sultanates, he had declared independence, assumed the title of ‘QUTUB SHAH’ and established the Qutb Shahi Dynasty of Golconda in 1518 A.D. Qutub Shahis were great builders and patrons of learning. They not only patronized the Persian culture but also the regional culture of the Deccan, symbolized by the Telugu language and the Deccani idiom of Urdu. The Golconda rulers learned Telugu. 

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, 

Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India., 

M.B.B.S.,  Class of  April,  1970.

WHOLE DUDE – WHOLE MONUMENTS

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QUTUB SHAHI DYNASTY-HISTORICAL MONUMENTS OF HYDERABAD 

The Qutub Shahis was the ruling family of the kingdom of Golconda, DECCAN, southern India. They were Shia Muslims and belonged to a Turkmen tribe from the Turkmenistan-Armenia region. The dynasty ruled Golconda for 171 years until the Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb’s armies conquered the Deccan in 1687. Amidst beautifully laid out gardens of Ibrahim Bagh there are seven tombs erected in the memory of the departed kings of Golconda and they are known as Qutub Shahi tombs. They are located one km away from Golconda Fort. The site is considered to be one of the world’s largest necropolis and nowhere in the world there are so many tombs in one place. 

Each tomb stands on a raised platform. It is a domed structure built on a square base surrounded by pointed arches. The quadrangular terrace is approached on all sides by flights of steps. The galleries of the smaller tombs are single storied while the larger ones are two-storied. In the center of each tomb is a sarcophagus which overlies the actual burial vault in a crypt below. The material used was Grey granite embellished with stucco ornamentation. The domes were originally overlaid with blue and green tiles of which only a few pieces remain now. The tombs were once furnished with carpets, chandeliers and velvet canopies on silver poles. Qurans were kept on decorated supports.Golden spires were fitted over the tombs of the Sultans. The tombs were surrounded by rose gardens and fountains. The tomb of founder of Hyderabad City, Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah is the most impressive, rising to a height of 42.5 meters with a large dome and 28 open arches on each side. He had taken Iranian help in the planning of Hyderabad. 

Iranian Government and the Iranian Consulate in Hyderabad have taken a great interest in the restoration work of these tombs. During August 2006, six Iranian experts had visited the site to draw up the plans for restoration which also includes the Prema mati Mosque, and the Badshahi Ashoor Khana where tears are shed over the martyrdom of the Prophet’s grandson Hussain. The underground drainage system, the fountains and the hamam(bath) that existed before would be restored. Gardens will be developed in and around the monuments. This project when completed will be like 20 Taj Mahals at one place.

Please view the related blog post titled ‘Shia Ruler of Golconda – Verily a Blessed Soul’.

http://bhavanajagat.wordpress.com/2008/02/05/shia-ruler-of-golconda-verily-a-blessed-soul/ 

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, 

Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India, 

M.B.B.S.,  Class of  April,  1970.

WHOLE DUDE – WHOLE LAPIS LAZULI

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The entrance to Shah Mosque (aka Imam Mosque o...
Image via Wikipedia

 

THE TRADEMARK BLUE TILES OF ISFAHAN  

The Imam Square in Isfahan houses two blue mosques which use lapis lazuli and gold and silver work with shades of turquoise and emerald, the entire structure gets a dazzling blue appearance. These pale blue tiles of Isfahan’s Islamic buildings is very unique and the historical Qutb Shahi monuments at Golconda, Hyderabad, Deccan, India would be restored on the same lines and would be preserved like the monuments in the city of Isfahan.  

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham,  

Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,  

M.B.B.S.,  Class  of  April,  1970. 

WHOLE DUDE – WHOLE JAHAN

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THE BLUE MOSQUE OF ISFAHAN

Isfahan is located at about 400 km (250 miles) south of Iranian capital city of Tehran. Isfahan is considered to be a charming and memorable place and if it is known as ” nesf-e-jahan meaning that Isfahan is half the world, I would name Hyderabad(DECCAN),India as the other half. Hyderabad is charming and its historical monuments are being restored and the city was originally modeled after Isfahan and very soon people would appreciate the connection between these two cities.