The name of Bidar appears to be derived from 'bidiru' which means bamboo. The place seems to have been known for bamboo clusters in the past, came to be known as 'Bidaroor' and then 'Bidare', 'Bidar'. Though there are other versions of origin, the name 'Bidarooru' seems to be more near one and authenticated by contemporary literary works. Bidar is a hill-top city situated on the deccan plateau, in the north-eastern part of Karnataka state in India. It is the headquarters of the Bidar District
Being located at the farthest of around 700 km (430 mi) from the state capital Bengaluru, it has been neglected by the state government for a long time. However, owing to its rich heritage, the city has a prominent place in the Archaeological Map of India. Picturesquely perched on the Deccan plateau, the Bidar fort is more than 500 years old and still standing strong. According to the book "Bidar Heritage" published by the state Department of Archaeology, Museums and Heritage, of the 61 monuments listed by the department, about 30 are tombs located in and around Bidar city. This explains the nickname - The City of Whispering Monuments. The heritage sites in and around Bidar have become the major attraction for film shooting in recent years with Bollywood making visits apart from kannada film industry
Bidar is home for the second biggest Indian Air Force training centre in the country. The IAF Station Bidar is used for advanced jet training of prospective fighter pilots on BAe Hawk aircraft.
Bidar city is known for its Bidri handicraft products, and its rich history. Bidar is also considered one of the holiest place for Sikh pilgrimage. Unlike other places in the region, Bidar is the coldest and wettest place in north Karnataka. For the year 2009-10, Bidar was ranked 22nd among the cleanest cities in India, and 5th cleanest in Karnataka.
Ancient Karez System in the city have been recently discovered. The Karez (Qanat) is an underground network of aqueducts for water supply. The Bidar Karez, built in the 15th century, is more than 3 km (1.9 mi) long with 21 air vents. Underground canals, built to connect underground water streams, were meant to provide drinking water to civilian settlements and the garrison inside the Bidar fort. This was necessary in a city where the soil was rocky and drilling wells was difficult.
The recorded History of the city goes back to third century B.C. when it was of the great Mauryan Empire. After the Mauryas, Satavahanas, Kadambas and Chalukyas of Badami and later Rashtrakutas reigned over Bidar territory. Chalukyas of Kalyana and Kalachuris also regained the area. For a short period after Kalyani Chalukyas the area of Bidar was under the sevunas of Devgiri and Kakatiyas of Warangal.
Delhi rulers first headed by Allauddin Khilji and later Muhammed-bin-Tughluq took control of entire Deccan including Bidar. About the middle of the 14th Century the Officers of Sultan stationed in Deccan rebelled and this resulted in the establishment of Bahamani Dynasty in 1347 A.D. at Gulbarga (present Kalaburagi). There were frequent warfare between the Bahamnis and Vijaynagar Kingdom.
The history of the present fort at Bidar is attributed to the Sultan Ala-ud-Din Bahman Shah the first sultan of the Bahmani dynasty to 1427 when he shifted his capital from Gulbarga to Bidar since it had better climatic conditions and was also a fertile and fruit bearing land. Earliest recorded history of its existence as a small and strong fort is also traced to Prince Ulugh Khan in 1322, whereafter it came under the reign of the Tughlaq dynasty.
With the establishment of the Bahmani dynasty (1347), Bidar was occupied by Sultan Ala-Ud-Din Bahman Shah Bahmani. During the rule of Ahmad Shah I (1422–1486), Bidar was made the capital city of Bahmani Kingdom. The old Fort was rebuilt and beautiful madrasas, mosques, palaces and gardens were raised. Mahmud Gawan who became the Prime Minister in 1466 was a notable figure in the history of Bidar. Bidar remained under the Barid Shahi dynasty until Aurangzeb came to Bidar after his father and emperor Shah Jahan appointed him the Prince of Deccan. He wrested the Bidar Fort from the Adil Shahis after a 21-day war in 1656. With this, Bidar became a part of the Mughal dynasty for the second time.
In 1724, Bidar became a part of the Asaf Jahi Kingdom of the Nizams. It was annexed by the Bijapur Sultanate in 1619–20 but the Mughal viceroy of Aurangzeb took it in 1657 and thus became a part the Mughal Empire in 1686. Third son of Asaf jah l ( Nizam l ) Mir Sa'id Muhammad Khan, Salabat Jang ruled from Bidar fort during 1751 to 1762, till his Brother Mir Nizam Ali Khan Asaf Jah III Imprisoned him in this fort, and was killed in Bidar fort on 16 September 1763. Mohammedabad old name of Bidar is also on his name.
Thus, Bahmanis ruled over Gulbaraga from 1347 to 1424 and from Bidar from 1424 till the extinction of the kingdom and its disintegration into five independent kingdoms of Bijapur, Golconda, Ahmadnagar, Bidar and Berar. After India's independence, in 1956 when Bidar became part of Mysore (now Karnataka) state.