Bidar had the distinction of being the capital of the Bahmani Kingdom from 1428 A.D. and later of the Barid Shahi dynasty. Situated in the north-eastern corner of Karnataka, it has some unique monuments, offering a fascinating history of Islamic architecture in India. Unfortunately, many tourists are not aware of Bidar's attractions.
Strategically placed on the trifocal point of Kannadigas, the Telugus and the Marathas, Bidar was an effective fort in the kingdom of Kalyan Chalukyas, and later was ruled by the Kakatiyas of Warangal. (Jalasangvi, a small village in Bidar district has a shrine which is one of the finest specimens of Chalukyan architecture) Bidar subsequently came under Tughlaq control, then under the Bahmanis as also the Baridi family, who were the ministers to the last of the Bhamanis, and in 1724 A.D. it became a part of the Asaf Jahi kingdom and gradually fell into oblivion.
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Today Bidar has a splendid fort in which are located three palaces- Rangin Mahal, Gangan Mahal, Takhat Mahal. Besides these, is the Madrasa of Mahamud Gawan architecturally similar to the Madrasa at Fez and Rabat.
The floral designs and the encaustic tile works in Bidar's monuments also bear the stamp of Persian art. In the Rangin Mahal, mother of pearl has been lavishly used to bring out brilliant floral designs against the jet black background.
Linked to the Gulbarga-Bidar state highway is Jalasangvi which has some splendid sculptures in its shrine dedicated to Kalleswara. The bracket figures on the exterior walls of the temple are exuberantly sculptured Madanikas in very alluring poses. "Moon breasted, swan-waisted and elephant-hipped" these seductive beauties evidently were the source of inspiration for the Hoysala bracket-figures.
Jalasangvi can be easily reached by state tansport.
Nanak Jhera a place of pilgrimage for the Sikhs, is also in the vicinity of Bidar. Located near Ali Barid's tomb, it has an imposing Gurudwara. Legend has it that Guru Nanak visited the place when it was in the grip of a famine and performing a miracle, a spring of water burst forth from the laterite stone. This water source is perennial.
(Information courtesy Karnataka Tourism Department)
Editor: Romola Butalia   (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.