Bidar Fort is one of the prime attractions of Bidar in Karnataka. Originally built in the 8th century, this fort was renovated in 1428 by Sultan Ahmad Shah Bahamani. The fort has several monuments within the fort complex.
Some of the monuments within the fort complex include Rangin Mahal, Jami masjid, Sola Khamba Masjid and Takht Mahal. The fort is also known for its elegant structures and stunning carvings.
This fort complex, today, is also used for commercial purposes like movie shooting.
Though a part of Bidar Fort, Rangin Mahal is one of the most important attractions of the fort and of Bidar. Translated as “painted palace”, the palace is adorned with tiles of various colours, giving it a painted effect.
The palace is built using a blend of Hindu and Muslim styles of architecture. The stone carvings, stucco work and the floral designs are among the reasons that make this attraction a must visit. Verses of the Quran can be seen inscribed on the walls of the monument, which talk about the significance of religion during those times.
The palace built by the king of Bahmani was later redesigned by King Ali Barid. King Ali added the beauty of the palace with the pearl work and woodwork done in the monument.
Other places to visit near the palace are Takht Mahal, Bahmani tombs and Gurudwara Nanak Jhira Sahib among the rest.
Chaubara means a structure that faces four directions. This towering building is 22 m high and is a cylindrical structure. Located in the centre of Bidar town, Chaubara is one of the oldest watchtowers of Bidar. You can see the whole region from the top of the tower.
A staircase of eight steps leads to the top of the tower, which is the prime attraction here. The sight of the whole plateau is worth experiencing.
The other attractions in Bidar include Solah Khamba Mosque, Gurudwara Nanak Jhira Sahib, Papnash Shiva Temple, Rangin Mahal amongst the rest.
Bahmani Tombs are a major attraction of Bidar. This is a cluster of 12 tombs dedicated to the Bahmani rulers who ruled South India during medieval times.
Located in Ashtur of Bidar, these tombs are beautifully carved and engraved with quotes from the Quran and other features. The best of these tombs is that of Ahmad Shah Al Wali. This tomb has the verses engraved in golden colour and the paintings on the walls of the tomb also make it stand out from the rest.
All these tombs have intricately carved arches, huge domes and large mausoleums. The other attractions in Bidar are Papnash Shiva Temple, Solah Khamba Mosque, Rangin Mahal along with other attractions.
Gurudwara Nanak Jhira Sahib is a historical Sikh pilgrim site located at Bidar in Karnataka. The gurudwara is dedicated to Guru Nanak and his birthday, Guru Nanak Jayanti, is one of the major celebrations of the gurudwara.
The gurudwara is located at a beautiful valley that is surrounded by hills on three sides. The shrine here consists of Diwan Hall, Langar Hall and Darbar Sahib. From the nearby spring, the water is collected to a small holy water tank called Amrit Kund. Taking a dip here is believed to wash off one's sins.
A free community kitchen operates here that offers food for the pilgrims day and night. A museum is also built in the premises that portrays paintings and other images of important events of Guru's life.
Narasimha Jhira Cave Temple is one of the attractions that is not to be missed in Bidar. Dedicated to Lord Narasimha, this temple is located in a cave, making it an interesting place to visit. The temple is also known as Jharani Narasimha Temple and Narasimha Zarna Cave Temple.
Located around a kilometre from Bidar city, the temple architecture is something unique. Built on the foothills of Manichoola hill range, this cave temple has the water from a perennial stream running up to 300 metres, which means one has to walk through the water to reach the deity.
The two deities worshipped here are Lord Narasimha and Lord Shiva (in the form of Shivalinga). Some of the other attractions of Bidar include Bahmani Tombs, Gurudwara Nanak Jhira Sahib, Bidar Fort and Papnash Shiva Temple.
Papnash Shiva Temple in Bidar is one of the ancient Shiva temples in India. The temple is believed to wash away all the sins and thus, is a major pilgrimage centre for Hindus. Devotees take a dip in the temple tank which is called Papnasha Thirtha, which is believed to free them of their sins.
It is believed that the Shivalinga here was installed by Lord Rama on his way to Ayodhya from Lanka.
There are no records of the original structure of the temple that is believed to have been built in Thirta Yuga. The current structure was built in the medieval period using Hindu architectural style.
Shivratri is celebrated here with great fervour.
Solah Khamba Mosque is popularly called Zanana Masjid. Located around 2.8 km from Bidar railway station, the Solah Khamba Mosque was built between 1423 and 1424 by Qubil Sultani. The structure gets its name from the 16 pillars of the prayer hall.
The Solah Khamba Mosque is a part of Bidar Fort. This hall was the principle place of worship within the fort. This is one of the largest mosques in India. The mosque is built with beautiful arches, columns and domes, next to Rangin Mahal. The mosque is 90 m long and 24 m wide.
From the top of the mosque, the Bidar Fort is visible at its best.
Chaukhandi of Hazrat Khalil Ullah or Chaukhandi is one of the recommended tourist attractions of Bidar in Karnataka. Located around 4 km from Bidar, this is a tomb built in the remembrance of Hazrat Khalil Ullah who was the spiritual advisor of the Mughal emperor Ahmad Shah.
The tomb is known for its beautiful architecture. The walls, pillars and the arched doorways are intricately carved, with verses from the Koran inscribed on the doorways. The walls are rich with stucco work on the exterior and interior walls.
Some of the other attractions near the tomb are Papnash Shiva Temple, Solah Khanma Mosque, Rangin Mahal and Bahmani Tombs.
Mahmud Gawan Madrasa is an ancient university in Bidar. Known for its stunning architecture, this structure is one amongst the monuments of national importance and is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India.
This stunning structure was built by Mahmud Gawah who came to the Bahmani Sultanate as a merchant. The kings were impressed by the merchant's humility and knowledge, after which he was made the prime minister and was also respected equally by the citizens.
The building is in ruins now. Out of the four minarets of the structure, only one remains today. The original structure had 36 rooms for its students, an impressive library and boarding facility was also provided for free.
The political struggles and explosions caused major damage to this institution that functioned for two centuries.