Friday, 6 March 2015

Bidar Fort

Bidar town is about 130kms from Hyderabad city and it would prove to be a nice weekend getaway if one is bored of the usual sights in Hyderabad. The drive through the Mumbai highway (that will take you to Bidar) is annoying as the traffic is horrible. The most important monument that cannot be missed in Bidar is undoubtedly the Fort.

At the Entrance of the Fort

The Bidar fort was built by Sultan Alla Ud Din Bahman Shah, the first sultan of Bahamani dynasty, in 1427 when he shifted his capital from Gulbarga to Bidar. It was distinctly planned and built on the brink of Deccan plateau. It is surrounded by 5.5 kms of defence wall consisting of 37 bastions and 7 strong irregular rhombic shaped gates. This fort is unique due to its triple moat defence which was made by Turkish mercenaries and the fort is a witness to Persian style architecture. Another interesting feature is the massive tunnels for escape during emergencies. The Bahamani rulers were taken over by Barid Shahis who were later captured by Aurangzeb.

A panoramic view of the old fort!

The fort has several structures inside it such as the Gagan Mahal, Rangeen mahal, Turkish Mahal, Sola Khambh mosque, Diwan-e-aam, Old fort and many more. Though, information about these structures  can be seen inside the fort, there are a whole lot of other structures (including that of old fort) information about which is unavailable.

Some structures inside Old Fort

Sola Khambh Mosque: In an inscription dated 1423-24, it is mentioned that the founder of this mosque was Qubli Sultani. The mosque is called so as it has 16 pillars in the front. It is one of the largest mosques in India and is remarkable for its architectural style. It consists of a large prayer hall divided into a large number of aisles by massive circular columns. These columns can be seen only from outside as entry inside this structure is not permitted.

Solah Khambh Mosque on the right...

Turkish Mahal: Turkish mahal, which is right next to the mosque, was so called as it was built for the Turkish wife of the Sultan. Originally built by the Bahamani Kings, it was later extended and decorated by the Barid Shahis. It’s said that the stucco work in this Mahal is noteworthy but unfortunately it is not open for public and everything is locked.

Turkish Mahal

Rangeen Mahal: Rangeen Mahal literally means “coloured palace” and was built by Air Ali Barid - successor of Qasim Barid (founder of Barid Shahi dynasty). It is famous for its’ beautiful wood carvings, fascinating glazed tile and mosaic work and mother-of-pearl decorations all of which were designed by a Persian architect. At present, general public is not allowed inside Rangeen Mahal as the Mahal is undergoing restoration work. But we were lucky to have a chat with one of the security guard (who also acted as our guide, as there are no guides inside the fort!) and was kind enough to let us see interiors of the Mahal.

Wood carvings inside Rangeen Mahal

Diwan-i-Am: Diwan-i-Am served as the Hall of Public Audience. It was here that the kings received visiting ambassadors and dignitaries. Many of the building’s walls were richly decorated with Persian style tiles in floral, geometrical and calligraphic patterns. None of these can be seen today.

Inside Diwan-i-Am

Walking through the full length of the fort could be a exhausting experience as it's spread across a very large area. Here, I have to acknowledge my 6 year old darling daughter's strength who enjoyed the whole experience and never complained.

The Bidar town boasts of some more monuments of historical importance, a post about which will follow soon in this blog. Till then, enjoy the Fort.

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