Bidar: Witnessing medieval Indian history into the capital of Deccan

Bidar Fort Entrance
                                                              Bidar Fort Entrance
Name Bidar comes from ‘bidiru’ which means bamboo.  The area of current Bidar was a bamboo jungle and in the past it called as Bedadakota or Bedarkot (kota/kot means fort).

Before being as a capital of Bahmani Sultan it has long history which takes in to 230 BC when Satvahanas became king of Deccan, from then this area of Bidar ruled by many kingdoms like Kadambas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Kalyan Chalukyas, Kalachuris and Kakatiyas. In 1270AD Yadavas of Devgiri (todays Dulatabad fort of Aurangabad) was defeated Kakatiyas and annexed to the Bedadakota (Bidar fort).

After Yadavs were completely defeated by Ala-ud-din Khilji in 1317AD, Bedadakota came under the control of Delhi’s Sultan Muhammad Bin Tughluq. Then in 1347 Hassan Gangu a governor of Muhammad bin Tughlaq for Deccan has declared his independence and established Bahmani Sultanate at Gulbarga which is 100km from Bidar. From then Bidar came under the Bahmani Sultanate and flourished as a provincial head quarter.

Sultan Alla-Ud-Din Bahman of the Bahmani Dynasty started a massive rebuilding of old Bidar fort and he shifted his capital from Gulbarga to Bidar in 1429. Mahmud Gawan was arrived in the Bidar at 1453, he was a Persian merchant and a Muslim scholar. Gawan was served many sultans of Bidar in his 30 years of service, he appointed in the court of Alla-Ud-Din Bahaman and teacher of  Muhammad Bahamani III. When Muhammad III (1462 to 1482) became ruler, Gawan was appointed as Prime Minister, Commander-in-chief and governor of many provinces.

During this period Bahmani sultanat recaptured the Goa from Vijaynagar and extended their boundaries from cost to cost, also many reforms was done in administration and many provinces was directly controlled under Mahmud Gawan, as a result of that revenue was increased and the projects like large hospital, Madarsa and Mosques were build. A Russian traveler Afanasy Nikitin spent four years in Bahamani Sultanat and left important notes about this period.

But as Gawan gets successful, his enemies were increased in the court, other members considered him as an outsider and they believe the power is getting centralized under Gawan. So they laid a trap for him, they took the Gawan’s stamp on the blank page and then written a letter for offering the Orisa’s King to attack on the Bahamani Sultanate. When the king got this letter he was in drunken state and not in his sense, he ordered beheading of Mahmud Gawan on 5th April 1481. After the death of Gawan king realized his mistake and drank himself to death within one year.

The death of Mahmud Gawan was a massive loss and Bahamani Sultanate became weaken.  Within 10 years of his death the sultanat has started broken in to pieces. In 1490 Adil Shahi of Vijapur, Nizam Shahi of Ahmadnagar, Berar Shahi/Imad Shahi of Achalpur Gavilgad has separated from Bahamani Sultanate and declared their independence.  The remaining Bahamani Sultanate was went in to the hand of Qasim Barid who was became a mir-jumla and got control on Sultanate and Mahmud shah Bahamani became just a formal king with no power. After the death of Mahmud Shah Bahamani in 1518 one more part of Bahamni Sultanate has separated, Qutub Shah of Golkonda declared his independence and Amir Barid became practically king of Bidar and from then Bidar became the capital of Barid shahi.

These five dynasties known as Deccan Sultans in Indian history and Bidar was a witness of their separation.  These fives were having conflicts between each other and as a result of that Vijaynagar became stronger till 1565. Vijaynagar was defeated and destroyed by the Deccan sultan’s collation army and after the defeat of Vijaynagar, Adil Shahi became more power full and they took over the Bidar in the 1619 and Barid Shahi was ended.

Bidar lost his identity as a capital and came under the control of Adil Shahi, but it was still a major fort which controls huge area of old Barid shahi. Knowing that Aurangzeb who was a prince and governor for Deccan of Mughal Empire has interested to expand the boundaries of Mughal Empire, which was not possible by weaken the dynasties like Adil Shahi, so he has chosen Bidar fort which was symbol of Adil shahi’s power and he has mounted a Siege around Bidar in 1657. 

In the Siege of Bidar, Mughal had army of near about 100 thousand which consists solders, matchlocks, cannons and war elephants and on the other side Adil shahi commander Sidi Marjan had army of just 5 thousand solders, but still Aurangzeb not able to capture the fort due to its double trench and strong defense. So he used the rockets, Aurangzeb may be the first person in Indian history who used rockets in war (not the Tipu Sultan). One of the rockets hit the gunpowder storage and big explosion happened, Siddi Marjan was badly wounded and after the 27 days of siege Bidar was fall and captured by Mughal. Bidar then never found his glory back and it came under the Asif Jahi (Nizam of Hyderabad) in 1724. After the independence it became the district of Karnataka state.

Today we can see some of the monuments, which witness of this capital of Deccan in medieval Indian history and one of the major is Bidar fort.

Bidar Fort
                                                                Bidar Fort

Bidar fort is a big place and there are many things to see in it like the museum. This museum having good collation of arms, swords, cannon and cannon balls, guns from the Bahamani sultanate and Barid Shahi.
Collection of Tiles in the museum

                                                                Collection of Tiles in the museum
In front of museum there big lawn and end of it you can see the broken structure of old palace Turkash Mahal it is very good example of Indo-Islamic style structure, the main design of the mahal is based on the Turkish style and inside the mahal you can see the design of floras like mughal style. Also there is a good view of fort from the terrace. This Turkash Mahal was built in 1432 by Bahamani Rulers and it is witness of many functions and ceremonies of Bahamani and Barid time.  There is a room inside the mahal with granite carved design and used for the royal guests and other important members of the sultanate.  Now this Turkash Mahal is badly collapsed, bust still you can imagine the glory of it with the remaining.

Facing the Turkash mahal to the right side you can see the Solah Khamba mosque as name shows this mosque is of sixteen pillars and one of the biggest in India also one of the oldest, this mosque was build in the 14th century at the time Tughlak and extended later, at that time this mosque is known as Zanana Masjid .

Solah Khamb Masjid
                                                             Solah Khamb Masjid

Takht Mahal is a throne palace built in 1432 and used for addressing the private audience and court members of Bahamani sultanate. Now only arches of the building remain, but at its glory this mahal was an excellent example of Persian and Islamic structure with granite, wood and color full work of mosaic.

Takht Mahal

Diwan-I-Am is a place for public audience which was designed as a large rectangular court with big wood columns, jali work and a specialty of the Bahmani Sultanat mosaic tiles with calligraphic design(It is said that some of the tiles which are in good condition were moved to England in the British rule of India) . This hall was designed for large number of audience, so the size of the hall is big but divided in the two parts by steps, the upper part is for King and his court members and lower part is fort other people, we can see the granite base of pillars might be of wood, but nothing much is left than that.

Diwan I Am Bidar Fort

                                                                                  Diwan I Am Bidar Fort

These all monuments are from inside the fort, but there are few outside the fort and one of the important and well condition structure is Madarsa of Mahmud Gawan.  At the first view we see a big red structure  with long high minar and as you get closely you can see there are still some blue and green color mosaic tiles of Bahmani time remain, which helps us to imagine how its look like at its glory.

Madarsa  of Mahmud Gawan

                                                                                     Madarsa of Mahmud Gawan

Bidar town is surrounded by defense walls and burjs and outside these walls a few kilometers away in Ashtur there are two more monuments one is Tombs of Bahmani Sultanat and other one is Chaukhandi.

Eight royal family member’s tombs are in Asthur which includes tomb of Ahmed Shah Wali his wife, sons and grandsons. All the tombs are same Indo-Islamic style with big doom (Gumbaz,) out of that Ahmed Shah Wali’s tomb is in god condition and we can see the magnificent tile work inside the tomb and it is said that, this work and color is of Bahmani time, don’t know but outside the tomb you can see some colorful tiles which reminds the Madarsa of Mahmud Gawan. There is one more interesting structure, tomb of prince Humayun. This tomb is collapsed in lightning struck and you can see the vertical cut of building. Prince Humayun was very cruel and people said god punish him with that lightning. Though the punishment is very late after so many years of his death, the interesting thing to is, after collapse we can see inside the structure how this big dome was build with brick and without any support of pillars, before near about 500 hundred years ago.

Tomb of Biahmani Sultans

                                                                                  Tomb of Biahmani Sultans
Opposite to these tombs few meters away you can see a white building called chaukhandi, a tomb of Hazrat Khalil Ullah who was a Muslim saint and there are many other tombs of his descendants.

Tomb of Hazrat Khalik Ullah

                                                                                                Tomb of Hazrat Khalik Ullah

There is another surprising place 15 km away from Bidar, temple of Mailar Mallanna which is a god Khandoba of Jejuri. It is interesting to check historically when this temple was build. A Hindu God from Jejuri which is form of lord Shiva and famous in Maharashtra, how his temple build near Bidar which is more than 400 km away in Karnataka.

Sri Mailar Mallanna Temple Kahandoba

                                                                           Sri Mailar Mallanna Temple Kahandoba

With in one day tour we can see these many places in Bidar and get close to medieval Indian history of Deccan.

I have met a saint from south

I have met a saint from south India who loking at me  told that i am (Bedar's sultan Allauddin II (1435-58AD))   from past. 

I was attached to  Sripada Shri Vallabha in my first birth.I don't know how mcuh  i beleive in it. But i plan to vist the  fort and surrounding area. 


anyway i am frequent traveller and love to vist historic sites. thx

Glad to know about your

Glad to know about your interesting life... Smile... Good luck with your travels.

I ve visited bidar fort quite

I ve visited bidar fort quite many times. But every

time i go, i get mesmerised with its beauty. It is such a beautiful engineered building. The secret passages,underground routes, hidden wells and a three fold security system would have given this fort a lot of security. I just wish that fort could come to its zenith for few minutes so that i can see its glory in real and specially Rangeen Mahal.This is one of the most beautiful fort of India having 100s of years of history behind its wall.Love this place.








Any good hotel ??

Any good hotel ??

There must be few...

There must be few...

Indeed it is one of the

Indeed it is one of the architectural wonders of the country. truly amazing. thanks for your comment, keep dropping by

Nice information about Bidar

Nice information about Bidar which is very beautiful, Next time i will paln to visit Bidar.

Thanks for your comment. Keep

Thanks for your comment. Keep dropping by.

+- Vishnu

Thanks Dilip 

Thanks Dilip 

Thanks Dilip 

Thanks Dilip 

seems like i have seen

seems like i have seen something like this when i was on a visit to Asia. as its depicting the Mughal Architecture.

Yes. you might have.. there

Yes. you might have.. there are many spectecular sites here

+- Vishnu

Wonderful, exceptional work

Wonderful, exceptional work by onkar. Great find omi..


Keepit up.


Thanks for your comment. keep

Thanks for your comment. keep dropping by

+- Vishnu

Onkar's work is remarkable,

Onkar's work is remarkable, the way he has captured images of Masjid and Tomb are really wonderful.. I know onkar personally and I am one of big fan of his dedication towards exploring world in new dimension.


Don't have much word t osay Omi, Keep it up..

All the best

Mohammad Mustafeez

Thanks Mohammad....

Thanks Mohammad....Smile

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