5 Beautiful Places to Visit in Bidar, Karnataka (2023)
Bidar is a must-visit city in the beautiful state of Karnataka. Bidar is rich in Islamic history and a city that is full of many magnificent sights to see. With incredible ruins and historical monuments, the small town of Bidar was once the capital of the Bahamani Kingdom. Over the years that followed, Bidar witnessed many noble and outstanding events in its history. The rich ancient heritage and the overall mystical aura of Bidar city have been greatly appreciated and written about by many travelers from around the world. You will find many beautiful places to visit in Bidar that actually date back all the way to the 15th century, right to the rule of the Bahamanis.
Places to Visit in Bidar, Karnataka
Here are some of the best places to visit in Bidar, Karnataka.
1. Bidar Fort
Standing tall and full of history, the Bidar Fort is a testament to architectural brilliance. The Bidar Fort is one of the most popular tourist spots in not just in Bidar but in entire Karnataka. This majestic fort gives you a sneak peek at the rich past of India and the great South Indian dynasties that ruled over the whole of the Deccan region. Today, even though the fort is deserted, there are over 30 awe-inspiring structures inside the fort walls. With its massive fortifications, bastions, moats, and the colorful royal museums and palaces, Bidar Fort is the first place you should visit. Entry to the fort is free of cost, and you can take as many pictures as you want to truly capture the beautiful experience of this historical place.
Though the actual origin of the Bidar Fort is not known, it is believed that the fort witnessed a period of great prosperity during the Middle Ages as Bidar was the capital and seat of the Bahamani Dynasty. The magnificent fort is known to have a colorful past, and it saw the rise and fall of many ruling dynasties of South India, including the Satvahanas, Chalukyas, Kakatiyas, Rashtrakutas, and the Yadavas. After this, the fort is said to have fallen into the hands of the Sultanates, Mughals, Nizams, and many others.
Some of the major attractions inside the Bidar Fort include:
- Rangeen Mahal: This complex is a colorful palace that Muhammad Shah built in the early 16th century. Ornate tiles of various colors adorn the walls of this palace. The Rangeen Mahal was constructed as a safe enclosure for the royal family, but it was also used as a summer palace, as can be concluded by the presence of many baths, water tanks, and underground rooms. Ali Barid later decorated this palace with mother of pearl engravings on wood and black granite. There is also a museum located just opposite to this structure that is home to many artifacts and remnants of the past.
- The Mahals: Located south of the Lal Bagh is the Tarkash Mahal that was built for the Turkish wife of a Bahamani ruler of Bidar. It was constructed during the 14th-15th century, during the same era when the Gagan Mahal was also built. The Gagan Mahal is known for the lustrous beauty and security that it provided to the royalty. Together, these two structures are referred to as The Mahals. Gagan Mahal is believed to have been used as the residential complex for the royal family in the inner part of the fort, while staff used to reside on the outer part.
- Solah Khamba Mosque: This 16 pillared mosque is a masterpiece constructed by Quail Sultani in 1423-1424 AD. With a beautifully made central dome above the long arches and the famous 16 pillars of its prayer chamber, this place of worship is said to have been used by Emperor Aurangzeb himself on his visits to the Deccan region. Though visitors are not allowed to see the inner parts of the mosque, but the building and the magnificent rectangular garden known as Lal Bagh are both splendid sights to check out.
Over the years, the Bidar Fort has undergone many renovations and development to maintain its constructional beauty.
2. Narasimha Jhira Cave Temple
The next step you should make on your trip to the city of Bidar is at the Narasimha Jhira Cave Temple. This famous cave temple is also known as the Jharani Narasimha Cave Temple, and it is dedicated to the self-manifested deity of Narasimha Dev, who is known to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu himself. To worship this deity of the temple, devotees need to pass through a cave system, which contains a continuously flowing stream of water, and one has to wade through this stream of water to reach the inner cave where the deity is housed. The water inside the cave comes to almost the waist level, and there are bats hovering at the ceiling of the cave. However, the miraculous fact is that no one has ever been harmed by the bats that reside here to date. As devotees wade through the water, you will hear them chanting Govinda-Govinda and Narasimha Hari-Hari as mantras while wading through the caves.
Though the description sounds spooky, the place is sure to leave you spellbound and enchanted as you experience the spiritual aura inside the cave. The inner sanctum sanctorum of the cave where the deity resides can only accommodate around eight people at one time, which is why only a few people are allowed at one time. The Sanctum Sanctorum houses two deities – Lord Narasimha and a Shiva Linga, which is believed to have been worshipped by the demon Jalasura himself. Even to have a glimpse of the deity, you have to stand in water height that varies from four to five feet. The deity’s image forms on the laterite wall at the end of the tunnel, which is known as an architectural wonder in itself.
This ancient temple was excavated under the Manichoola Hills, and the entire tunnel system is nearly 300 meters long. The temple is located around five kilometers from the city. Since the water keeps on flowing continuously and hundreds of people walk through it, the water is not that clean. However, the water is said to contain sulfur in it and is believed to have healing properties, especially for people who have skin problems. If you are going with children, you can carry them on your shoulder.
There is a separate facility for changing rooms at the temple complex since the cave system requires devotees to wade through the water.
3. Bahamani Tombs
The complex of Bahamani Tombs is made up of 12 tombs that are today considered to be architectural marvels. Located at Ashtur in the city of Bidar, these tombs are home to many Bahamani rulers. One of the tombs belongs to the ninth ruler of Bidar, Ahmed Shah Alwali Bahamani. This is one of the more fascinating tombs you will see in the complex. On the interior of this tomb, you will find a beautiful range of bright colors. The tomb is further adorned with elaborate floral designs and calligraphy to give a mesmerizing look. Many beautiful paintings grace the wall, and there are engravings of verses from the Quran.
One surprising element you will find at the mausoleum is the presence of the swastika symbol. There’s no need to be surprised by this because Ahmad Shah was known to be a liberal ruler who believed in granting equality to all religions. The tombs of Ahmed Shah’s wife and sons are also a part of the Bahamani Tombs.
4. Gurudwara Nanak Jhira Sahib
Another beautiful place you should visit in Bidar is the Gurudwara Nanak Jhira Sahib, dedicated to the first Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Built in 1948, the gurudwara is an important pilgrimage site for Sikhs from all over the country. The beauty of this gurudwara offers a sense of peace to the devotees who come here. This shrine is located in the heart of a valley and is surrounded by laterite hills on three sides. The gurudwara is home to the Diwan Hall, Darbar Sahib, Langar Hall, and the Sukhasan room that houses the Guru Granth Sahib, which is the holy book of the Sikhs.
5. Mahmud Gawan Madrasa
The Mahmud Gawan Madrasa is located in the older part of Bidar city. Today, the Mahmud Gawan Madrasa is only the remains of a building that once used to be a famous theological college. It is considered to be amongst one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Bidar.
Constructed by a Persian merchant by the name of Khwaja Mahmud Gawawn in 1472, the madrasa is a popular tourist spot in Bidar. The building has been constructed over three levels, with 100 feet minarets placed in four corners and adorned with calligraphy in the rare Thuluth script. There is intricate tile work done inside, and you will find verses inscribed from the Quran.
In the earlier days, the madrasa not only featured a mosque, but also a large library, lecture halls, a laboratory, and there were 36 rooms for students and six suites for the teachers.