Bidar Fort

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Timings : 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Time Required : 2-3 hrs

Entry Fee : No entry fee

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Bidar Fort, Bidar Overview

Bidar Fort stands tall with historical significance and architectural brilliance in the city of Bidar in Karnataka. A favourite tourist spot in the state, the majestic fort is a sneak peek into the opulent past of India and mighty South Indian dynasties that ruled over Deccan. Now a deserted place with over 30 structures inside the fort walls, it boasts of its massive bastions, fortifications, moats and the colourful royal palaces and museums. Entry is free for all and photography is allowed so you can capture the experience of your walk down the lane of history forever.

The actual origin of Bidar Fort has been lost in time, like many other ancient forts of India. The old city of Bidar is said to be the home of Vidur, the uncle of the Pandavas in the story of Mahabharat. However, it saw prosperity during the middle ages as the capital and seat of power of the Bahmani dynasty. As per that folklore, the glorious fort has a colourful past and has seen the rise and fall of a good many ruling families of South India - Satvahanas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Kakatiyas and Yadavas are the more known names among them. Later it fell into the hands of the Sultanates, Mughals, Nizams; and over the years it has seen renovation, development and enrichment of its constructional beauty.

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Architecture of Bidar Fort

The grand fort is built in an Islamic and Persian style of architecture. When Ahmad Shah took to renovate the old fortress of Bidar, he built inside the 10 kilometres perimeter of the walls an entire royal complex. The glacis, the triple-layered moat and thick red laterite stone wall and proof of the foolproof security the fort commanded, which even withstood the Mughal attack by Aurangzeb until fire rockets were used.

The Bidar fort also boasts of 37 massive octagonal bastions with metal-welded cannons. The Munda Burj is the largest of them all. The parapets are honeycombed with openings meant for firing. Of the seven big arching gateways of the fort, the Mandu Darwaza is the first one, followed by an intermediary Sharza Darwaza named after the lions carved onto it signifying the empire's strength and finally the looming Gumbad Darwaza with ethnic Persian architecture leading into the main complex. The edifice of the entire Bidar Fort is a reminiscence of the rolling times of Indian history and how it has left an imposing effect on the country's many magnificent structures.

Structures Inside Bidar Fort

1. Rangeen Mahal: Within the fort, the complex stands the colourful palace Rangeen Mahal, built by Muhammad Shah during the early 16th century with ornate tiles of vivid colours. It was constructed primarily as a safer enclosure for the royalty but also used for summer escapades, as concluded by the presence of tanks, baths and underground rooms. The palace was later decorated by Ali Barid with the mother of pearl engravings on black granite and wood. There is a museum beside this grand structure, where you can take a walk down the history seeing various remnants and artefacts of the bygone times.
Rangeen Mahal Work

2. Solah Khamba Mosque: The next stop is a masterpiece built by Qubil Sultani in 1423-24 AD with a majestic central dome above long arches and 16 pillars of its prayer chamber, from where it gets its name. This place of worship is said to be used by Aurangzeb on his many visits to the Deccan. The visitors are not allowed to the interior parts, but the building stands along the rectangular garden Lal Bagh with as much splendour as the fort itself.

3. The Mahals: South of the Lal Bagh is the Tarkash Mahal built for a Turkish wife of a Bahmani sultan of Bidar who during the 14th-15th century. Built during the same era is the Gagan Mahal known for its security and beauty. It used to be a residential complex for royalties in the inner part and staff on the outer, but some say that women used to witness animal fights from here down in the moat below. The archaeological museum deserves a visit for its collection of artefacts and royal possessions.
Takht Mahal

Takht Mahal was the throne room ever since the fort was renovated by Ahmad Shah and it witnessed the coronation of many Bahmani and Barid Shahi rulers over the years within its highly embellished and decorated pavilions.

4. Diwan-i-Am and Diwan-i-Khas: While most of us connect these names to the Mughal rulers, this fort also had a high walled magnificent audience hall standing near the mosque. Diwan-i-Am, used as a court for the public had intricate trellis work which gave it the name Jali Mahal.

Bidar Fort History

The first documented history of the Bidar Fort dates back to the Delhi Sultanate era when it came under the control of Muhammad bin Tughlaq in the 14th century. Later in 1347, when a governor of the Sultanate, Hassan Gangu led a successful revolt and established a separate independent dynasty of Bahmani Sultanate in the Deccan, the city of Bidar began to grow and flourish under the new rule. He assumed the name of Ala-ud-din Bahaman Shah and thus started a new family name. Gulbarga was chosen to be the state capital before it was shifted to Bidar in 1429 during the tenure of Sultan Ahmad Shah I. He rebuilt the old fort of Bidar and renovated it with brilliant fortifications, grand bastions, and ramparts, big gates, royal palaces, baths and kitchens, gardens, pavilions, and mosques.

The fort stayed witness to the fall of Bahmani dynasty, rise and separation of the five Deccan Sultans and was captured first by the Barid Shahi and then the Adil Shahi dynasties, only to be won over by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in the siege of Bidar in 1657. It fell back to the Nizam for a while in the 1700s, but later the British colonization waited for it like every other part of India. Post-independence, it falls in the state of Karnataka.

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