Bidar Fort is located in the hilltop city and district of the same name in northeastern Karnataka, India. This impressive fort was built by Sultan Alla-Ud Din Bahman of the Bahmanid Dynasty in around 1427. The fort contains thirty fascinating Islamic monuments within its crumbling walls which can be explored. Bidar Fort was built as a royal town with gates, audience halls, bastions, kitchens, royal baths, and pleasure pavilions. A visit to the fort allows people to relive the past of this remarkable part of the world. Scroll down to read a guide to Bidar Fort prior to your visit and vacation in India.
Things to do / Highlights
Originally built in the 8th century, Bidar Fort was reconstructed in 1428. The earliest history of the fort relates to the Delhi Sultanate era when the Muslims had invaded the region and the fort was captured. In 1429, Bidar Fort was renovated by Sultan Ahmad Shah with the addition of fortifications, kitchens, pavilions, gardens and more. During the British colonization of India, the fort was under British control, but after independence, it returned to the state of Karnataka.
The following are the major highlights of a visit to Bidar Fort.
Solah Khamba Mosque
The mosque was built in 1423 AD by Qubil Sultani and has a central dome perched on sixteen pillars and long arches. While the mosque can be viewed from the outside, do note that visitors are not allowed to enter.
The Gagan Mahal was built for its beauty and security and was a residential complex for the royals. An archaeological museum in the complex exhibits a collection of royal possessions. The Tarkash Mahal was built in the 14th to 15th century for the Turkish wife of a sultan of Bidar. The Takht Mahal is the throne room of the fort.
The 16th-century Rangeen Mahal palace was constructed by Muhammad Shah and was decorated with bright, colorful tiles. The primary use of the palace was to protect royalty. However, it was also used as a summer getaway. There are a number of underground rooms, including tanks and baths. Behind the palace is a museum where visitors can explore the history of the site and view a number of artifacts.
This part of the fort is the royal kitchen which adjoins the Rangeen Mahal. The building has also been used as a residence for a dignitary or prince and also as a jail.
Located close to the kitchen is the royal bath, referred to as the Shahi Hamam. This building is near to the mosque where a beautiful garden can be seen (Lal Bagh or Red Garden).
Diwan-i-Am is a walled audience hall close to the mosque which was used as a public hearing court. The building is decorated with intricate trellis work.
Gumbaz Darwaz and Sharza Darwaza gateways
This structure is 14 m (45 ft) in height and its walls are 6.7 m (22 ft) thick. There is a passage linking it to Sharza Darwaza, and these two gateways are where the army could take up its position to defend the fort. This area of the fort had a number of large guns and escape tunnels in case of emergencies.
Bidar Fort is free to enter and unlike many historic sites, no additional fees are payable for cameras, video equipment, or mobile phones.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit is in the cooler months, between October and March.
If you are booking a tour online, bear in mind the popularity of Bidar Fort. It is highly recommended to book in advance to avoid disappointment as the tours are quickly filled.
To comfortably explore Bidar Fort, it would take anywhere from two to three hours so time your visit accordingly.
If traveling to Bidar Fort on your own, and interested in history, it is a good idea to hire the services of a local guide who can explain everything in more detail. Alternatively, some of the tour sites have great tours you can book to visit the fort and other interesting attractions in the area.
Regrettably, much of the Bidar Fort site is unavailable to those in wheelchairs.
How to get there
Visitors can ride a train to Bidar Fort from Bangalore and Hyderabad.
A number of KSRTC luxury buses run daily from Bangalore via Hyderabad, which is a 16-hour journey. From Hyderabad, buses leave every 15 minutes to Bidar from platform No. 36 at the bus station.
The Uber service is available in the Bidar area - download the app prior to traveling there.
Driving from Hyderabad to Bidar is a distance of 135 km (84 mi) and takes three hours.
Parking is readily available at Bidar Fort.
Bidar Fort information
Address: Old City Fort Area, Bidar, Karnataka 585401, India
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)
Cost: Free entry
Department of tourism: Visit Karnataka
News & updates for Bidar Fort: Bidar Airport begins flights with TruJet; 252 routes, 45 airports now opened under UDAN
Tour to BIDAR: Fort, Palaces, Frescoes, Tiles and Necropolis
Duration: 6 to 10 hours
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