Bidar is about 120km from Gulbarga. It is located in the northwest corner of Karnataka. It was the first capital of the kingdom of Bahamani and then the main centre of the dynasty of Barid shahi until it fell to Aurangzeb in 1656. The town possesses an old world charm with its tiled tombs and red laterite countryside. Bidar is world famed for its encrusted metalware, known as Bidri. The craft of Bidriware was evolved by the ancient Persians and Syrians and was introduced here in the early 15 century.
The fortified town was once the capital of the Bahamani’s and the Barid Shahi’s. The Bahamani Empire broke into four kingdoms and Ahmad ShahI, the 9th Bahamani ruler shifted his capital from Gulbarga to Bidar in 1424. He rebuilt the old Hindu fort and also made beautiful palaces and gardens. The Bahamani’s were succeeded by Barid Shahi dynasty, which ruled here from 1487 to 1619. There are fine palaces and tombs, some of them are great examples of Muslim architecture in the Deccan. It is also an important Sikh and Hindu pilgrim centre.
Other buildings worth a visit include a semi spherically domed Solah Khamba Mosque (1423) inside the fort, and the tomb of Saint Hazrat Khalilullah at Chaukhandi.
Bidar has train connections to Gulbarga, Bangalore and Mumbai. Buses head to Gulbarga, Hyderabad (120km) and Hospet(380km).
This stronghold of the Bahamani Kings in the14th and 15th centuries was built by Ahmad Shah Bahmani between 1426 and 1432. There are five Darwazas (gateways) of the fort and within its precincts are fine palaces and tombs. The impressive Bidar Fort provides a glimpse of the richly textured history of Karnataka. The external circumference of the fort is 4km with 37 bastions. It is protected by a triple moat carved from red rock and has intricate battlements and imposing gateways, all well preserved. The fort has evocative ruins of the palaces - the Rang Mahal, Tarkash Mahal, Takht Mahal and the Gangan Mahal.
South of the fort lie the ruins of Madrasa of Mahmud Gawan, a fine example of his native Persian architecture. This Islamic seminary still has few colorful remains of tiles with swirls of floral patterns and bold calligraphy. It is three storeyd with tall minarets at its two corners.
A 23m circular watchtower, the Chaubara in the center of the city offers goods views from the top. South of this is the Jami Masjid and the Kali Masjid. From here move on to the eight huge domes of the Bahamani Tombs at Ashtur whose exteriors are decorated with some magnificent stone carvings and colored tiles, while the interiors have carefully preserve medieval paintings with gilding. The Barid Shahi Tombs also show a strong Persian influence like the Bahamani tombs with granite carvings and floral patterns on the colored tiles. Some of these show the typical arched niches.
The 71ft high watch tower is set in the heart of Bidar town.
Madrasa of Mahamud Gawan
It was built in 1472, by Muhammad III and was a renowned centre of learning, attracting scholars from all over the Muslim world.
This Sikh pilgrim site is associated with a miracle of Guru Nanak, the first guru of the Sikhs. He is said to have visited here during a severe famine and created a Jheera 9spring) of crystal clear water. The scared site is marked by huge gurudwara.
Nanak Jhira is about 3km from Bidar. It is a Gurudwara associated with Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism it is said that he visited Bidar when the place was drought-struck. At the request of the people, the Guru touched the rock below his feet, resulting in a continuous gush of water.
Dev Dev Vana
It is 6km away is the Dev Dev Vana, an eco tourism project housing more than 200 species of medicinal plants in a botanical garden. The cave temple Narsimha Jharani and a Sikh holy Gurudwara, Nanak Jhira, where Sikhs believe that a miracle performed by Guru Nanak resulted in the eruption of a spring (jheera).
Basavakalyan is 80km southwest of Bidar. Basavakalyan was the capital of the Kalyana Chalukya Empire in the 10 Mahadevi. A fort around this place ha bastions some of which are mounted with pieces of weaponry of extraordinary size. There is a museum with many interesting antiquities within the fort.
It is the only subterranean stream of Karnataka. The cave with waist deep water has an image of Lord Narasimha. Papanaash, the sacred shrine of Lord Shiva is visited by a large number of devotees.
On the outskirts, Jharani Narasimha is a temple having a roughly carved image of Lord Narasimha placed on a stonewall at the end of a cave. A legend states that Vishnu after slaying Hiranakashyap slew another demon named Jharasura. The demon at the moment of his death prayed the Lord to dwell in the cave in which he was living and grant boons to the devotees. The devotee have to wade through a cave, 91m long, 2m wide and slightly more than a meter deep to have a look at the deity. The cave is fed by the water of a natural spring.
Humnabad, 52km, is the place having the ancient temple of Lord Veerabhadreshwara. The shikhara of its sanctum contains the figures of the 28 incarnations of Lord Shiva, 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu and the stories of the puranas. The annual jatra in January/February with its spectacular cart pulling festival attracts large number of devotees. The shrine dedicated to Lord Chandrapraba reminds that it was once a flourishing Jain city in ancient times.
Sangam is the place of confluence of rivers Manjara and Karanja. The typical Kalyanna Chalukyan style Sangameshwara Temple here was attractive columns and doorways.
Bidar Distance Guide