The mountaintop town that served as the capital of medieval Deccan, has 98 monuments of which four national monuments are protected by the Archaeological Survey of India and 14 by the State Archaeology Department, Karnataka. Bidar earned a place on the World Monument Watch list 2014. The historical monuments and sites in and around the Bidar city belong to different periods of history, Pre-kakatiya, Tughluq, Bahamani, Barid Shahi, Adil Shahi, Mughal and Nizam. As far the architecture is concerned there is intermixture of Hindu, Turkish and Persian artisanship. Some of the designs and decorative patterns seen in the monuments of Bidar are unique in India.
Bidar fort is considered as one of the most formidable forts of the country. Bidar city was distinctly planned and built. The main citadel complex housed the royal palaces, Mahals and Mosque. Adjoining to this on the southern side, the city was built for the people. Both the citadel complex and city has separate forts for protection. The plan of the Bidar city fortification is pentagonal. There are five gateways for entry in to the city fort. It is the main citadel complex fort which is more strong. It is built on the brink of the plateau. Engineers and architects of various countries were employed on its design and construction.
They are massively built and beautifully decorated with huge domes, arches and painting. The Gumbax Darwaz, is an enormous, awe inspiring structure. The thickness of its wall is 22 feet, the height is 45 feet besides the dome. A wide passage links it to Sharza Darwaza. Between these two gateways, about three thousand armymen could take up position for the defence of the fort.
The building had stately dimensions and exquisite surface decorations. The coronations of several Bahamani and Barid Shahi Sultans were held here. From the royal pavilion which is situated behind throne palace one can view the valley and low land below.
Shahi Malbakh (Royal Kitchen) and Shahi Hammam(Royal Bath)
This adjoins the Rangeen Mahal towards the west. Originally it appers to have been the residence of a prince or some dignitary. At different periods it was used for different purposes. At one time it was used as royal kitchen. During Nizam’s period it was used as a jail. The Shahi Hammam (royal bath) is situated very near the royal kitchen. Quite close to the royal bath and in front of the mosque there was a Lal Bagh (red garden) so named on account of its beautiful layout or due to the red flowers grown there. In the middle of the Lal Bagh one can see a beautiful cistern.
Diwan-i-Am (Public Audience Hall)
This monument was also called Jali Mahal. It is situated to the west of the Zanana enclosure . The building has two entrances, one through the east and the other through the west. At the backside of the main hall, there are three rooms. The central room was probably the Sultan’s chamber where he sat before coming into the audience hall. The spacious halls adorned with tile work were perhaps meant for ministers and other top officers of the court. The Bahamani Kings used to give audience to invited dignitaries here. The hall was fully decorated with colored tiles.
The Hazar Kothari
In case of danger to the life while attack from the enemies, the members of the Royal family needed safety exit to go out of the fort. Such a safe passage arrangement can be seen on a spot towards the south of the Takhat Mahal. It is known as the Hazar Kothari. There is a underground hall for assembling and from there a cave like tunnel which leads to outer wall of the fort. There is a long gun bastion near Virasangayya’s temple situated on the bank of a tank known as Bomgondanakere. On the northern side is the Purana Qila.
Chaubara means a building facing in four directions. This is an old cylindrical tower. It is a cylindrical tower of 22mtrs. Height is situated in the centre of Bidar town. It was used as a watchtower, commanding a fine view of the entire plateau from the top. A winding staircase of eighty steps leads to top of tower
The Bahamani Sultans were fond of constructing huge sepulchers. Several majestic Mausoleums of their Period are at Ashtoor, 4 kms. east of Bidar. Visit to Bidar is incomplete without visit to Ashtoor.In all there are 12 tombs at a place in row which together give a very impressive look. They are huge structures with beautiful arches, niches and lofty domes. The tombs of Ahamad Shah-al-Wali is known for its walls on which verses are written in gold color with a dark background. The interior is decorated with fine paintings. It is interesting to note that the Swastika symbol has been used in this Mausoleum for ornamentation. The paintings here depict lovely contrasts and skill of artist in blending colors. Urus (Jatra) is held here every year in which both Hindus and Muslims participate. The tomb of sultan Alauddin -shah II consists of tile panels and carvings on the black stone margins of arches which are very impressive. Other tombs here are built up of trap masonry. The arches in tombs are elegantly decorated with stucco work.
Tomb of Qasim Barid & Qasim Barid II
The Baridi tombs lie about two kms. west of Bidar town There were formerly gardens around them.The first tomb is of Qasim Barid.it resembles The sepulchres of Wali-Ullah Bahamani and Kalim-Ullah Bahamani. It is built on a platform with a flight of well-polished steps. Its dome is divided into eight facets.
Tomb of Ali Barid
Ali Barid too buil this own tomb which shows great improvement upon the Bahamani mausoleums. Its platform measures 47.28 metres on each side. The enclosure walls rise to a great height. There is a large dome with a circular base decorated with niches and mouldings. A mosque consisting of an open court, a cistern, a prayer hall and an arcade is attached to the tomb.
The citadel fort complex is protected with three moats which is very rare. The place fort complex could be entered from the city through two main gates on the south eastern side by a zig-zag passage and well protected gateways. The Sharza Darwaza and Gumbad Darwaza are the main entrance gates to palace complex.
Takht Mahal (Throne Place)
The royal palace was built by Ahmed Shah. It was the royal residence. The place was fully decorated with colored tiles and stone carvings part of which can be seen even today. It had two side royal pavilions with lofty arches, and a spacious hall, at the back of which was the Sultan’s room. The building had stately dimensions and exquisite surface decorations. The coronations of several Bahamani and Barid Shahi Sultans were held here. From the royal pavilion which is situated behind throne palace one can view the valley and low land below.
Though small in size this place situated near Gumbad Barwaza is unique because of its decoration with coloured tiles and other art work. Wood carving done here is not only precious but also unique. The walls of Mahal are adorned with Mother-of-Pearl of the finest quality inlaid in jet black stone. Floral patterns and calligraphic texts are also depicted here. Stone carving, stucco art are other attractions of this monument. It was rebuilt during Barid Shahi period. The designs of this monument represent the blend of the both Muslim and Hindu architecture. There are rooms in the basement of the Rangin Mahal.
This was originally built by the Bahamani kings, and some alterations and additions were made by the Barid Shahi rulers. It has two courts. The outer court was used by the male staff and guards. In the inner court also, there are rooms on either side of the covered passage for the accommodation of the fuards. The main building of the palace was for the use the Sultan and his harem.
Solah Khamb Mosque
It is said to have been built in 1423-24 A.D. by Qubli Sultani when Prince Muhammad was viceroy. The mosque is known so, as it has 16 pillars in the front. It is also called Zanana Masjid as it is situated near the Zanana enclosure
Old Naubat Khana
This was originally a Noubat Khana (Music Gallary). Later it was used as residence of a commander of the fort. It has a spacious hall with a room to the west and a platform in the front. In the north, there was a reservoir to which water was supplied from the well. The hall has beautiful windows in its back through which a good view can be had of the city wall and the buildings. The platform, which is in front of the building, is very extensive and it was a place of pleasantness.
Madrasa of Mahmud Gawan
The Madrasa at Bidar founded by Gawan functioned like a residential university. It was built and maintained on the lines of the Madarasa of Khurasan. The imposing and spacious building of this institution is considered ass an architectural gem, and an important land mark of Bidar. The structure is rectangular in shape and is built in an area of 4624 Sq.mtrs. The building is attractively decorated with blue coloured tiles, the fragments of which can be seen even today. Of the two towers only one is intact. The height of the tower is 131 ft. on the front facade Quaranic Verses are written. The library that existed on the other wing is now destroyed. The Madarasa was a three storied building housing a Mosque, a library, lecture halls, professor quarters, students cubicles facing open courtyard. The students were taught Arabic, Persian languages, theology, philosophy, astronomy, mathematics etc., They were given free boarding and lodging facilities besides free education. The teaching staff also lived with students. The building suffered much damage due to explosion of gun powder in 1695, it still retains much of the original architectural features. The Madarasa of Mahmud Gawan is the only one of its kind in India.
It is the tomb Khalil-Ullah who was the preceptor of Ahmad Shah. It is erected on elevated place. The building is octagon: in plan. There are traces of fine decorations on the walls of the building. This prominent building is altogether one of the excellent building constructed by the Bhamani's it is on the way to Astoor.
Tomb of Amir Barid
Amir Barid, it appears, began construction of his tomb during his own life time. But he died suddenly at Daulatabad and his tomb remained Incomplete. This is an imposing edifice constructed on a platform, with lofty portals in the south. There is a spacious hall without roof in this tomb. The sepulchre of Ibrahim Barid is of the same type as that of his father, Ali Barid, and likewise presents a stately appearance. In this building, there are three graves, the central one being that of Ibrahim Barid and the other being of his wives. There are other tombs of the members of Ibrahim Barid’s family.
Situated 80 Kms. south west of Bidar, Basavakalyan played important role in the history of the region as the capital of Chalukyas of Kalyan and as Karmaboomi of Basavanna and hundreds of other Sharanas of 12th Century. Basavakalyan is fast developing as tourist destination. The beautiful fort, museum and number of places connected with Sharanas are great attractions of Basavakalyan.