Bidar Fort Beckons

It was a long yearning that we should visit Bidar which many a times we missed out because of paucity of time and inclination. We had come as close as Humanabad and Basavakalyan and still missed out the seat of Bahmani empire. This time around we were on a four day trip to Nanded and Bidar. ( Christmas vacation )
After covering Gurudwaras and Jyothilinga at Aundh Nagnath we moved towards Bidar. After reaching Bidar we lodged ourselves in the Gurudwara and freshened up and headed towards Bidar Fort. ( Open from 9am to 5 pm ) The best part is that entry to this fortress and museum is free, i hope it remains so till it attracts substantial tourist inflow.
Bidar fortress is spread almost 8 kms in circumference boundary wall. It is fortified with seven gateways : bidar1

1. Main gateway is Mandu Darwaja
2. Second gateway is Kalmadgi Darwaja
5. Fifth gateway is called Delhi Darwaja
6. Sixth gateway is known as Kalyani Darwaja
7. Seventh one is referred to as Carnatic Darwaja
There are no names for the third and fourth Gateways.
In all there are 30 monuments inside the Bidar fortress, and if one has to cover the entire fortress it may take upto 4 hours and more. We managed to quickly cover the same within 2.30 hours.
As soon as we enter the Mandu Darwaja on the right side there is a small building housing the museum with various artefacts found in and around Bidar. Some of them are remanents of the Chalukyas Architecture. The Nandi’s displayed on the passage definitely points out to a huge temple nearby which may have been decimated. Temple pillars and artefacts are abundantly strewn around the fortress.
The prominent monuments inside the fortress are Rangin Mahal ( painted palace ) which was closed for public maybe because of renovation. Jamia Masjid or the great mosque is a ruined structure.

Tarkash Mahal : This landscaped enclosure was probably built for the Turkish wife of Barid Shah. Most of the interior of the palace is barricaded and entry is banned. The first floor has 8 rooms and the terrace garden has a fountain leading upto the garden. There are number of basement rooms which were storing the royal kitchen items and various other artefacts including arms and ammunition.
Sola Kambah Masjid : On the right side a barricaded structure contains the 16 pillared mosque for use by the royalty.
Karej water channel : Rainwater and spring water harvesting was undertaken with Persian technology by the Bahmani Kings. The Karej taps into the under ground water channel of natural springs and it is distributed among the general public too. One can find one of the underwater springs in the Nanakji Gurdwara of Bidar.
The other notable monuments inside the fortress are Shahi Hammankhan Mahal ( which is closed for public ) Gagan Mahal, Hazar Kotri which is under renovation, Takt Mahal and one can find other fallen monuments in the middle of the fortress. From a vantage point one can find a lake called Bammaganda kere.
Historical background : Bidar was ruled by the Chalukyas of Kalyani with their headquarters at Basavakalyan. Mauryan empire too earlier extended upto Bidar with ancient artefacts found in Sedam, Sannati and Kanaganahalli.
Muhammed Bin Thuglak when he ordered the shift of capital to Daulatbad in 1327 wherein all facilities with broad roads and shady trees were planted for the convenience of migration. Unfortunately he had to face rebellion and bubonic plague broke out in Bidar in 1334. He along with his soldiers fell ill and had to retreat back to Daulatabad. In 1335 he retreated back to Delhi fearing loss of control over the original capital. In 1347 once again rebellion took place by the officers stationed to guard the deccan resulting in the formation of Bahamani Sultanate with HQ at Gulbarga.
In 1427 Alauddin Bahaman Shah shifted his base from Gulbarga to Bidar due to its pleasant weather and agricultural potential. There was constant warfare between the Vijaynagar Kings and Bahamani sultanate. In 1520 Krishnadevaraya invaded Raichur and Gulbarga and almost destroyed the fortresses which sowed the seed for enemity with Bahamani sultanate. After Krishnadevaraya’s death in 1530 the Vijaynagar empire weakened considerably and they were defeated in the battle of Talikota in 1565.
A portion of the wealth looted after the Talikota battle, spurred the construction activity of palaces, mosques and tombs in Bidar. Aurangazeb took possession of Bidar in 1656 after a bitter battle for 21 days. In 1724 it came under the rule of Nizams under Asaf Jah. Once India attained independence it became a part of Mysore state.

Bidar can be reached from Nanded, Hyderabad and Gulbarga. There is an offtrack railway station at Bidar and can be reached directly from Bangalore. Bidar boasts of a big air force base too. Apart from Bidar fort, there are other tourist spots in terms of Tombs, Nanakjira Gurudwara, Papnasam temple, Mylari cave temple,



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