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Forming the northernmost tip of Karnataka, Bidar is the land that shot to fame when the Bahmani rulers shifted their capital from Gulbarga (Kalaburagi) to here during the 15th century. The forts, tombs, and palaces showcase the rich Indo-Islamic architectural style. The Baird Shahis, who ascended the throne after the Bahmanis, added their own structures to the city’s landscape. This city, where the sun rises early, was also the place visited by Sikh Guru Nanak, and the beautiful Gurudwara stands as a testimony. Drive out of the city into the rural backyards, and the beautiful temples dating back to the pre-12th century, built by the Kalyani Chalukya kings, welcome you to a wonderful world of art and innovation. If the Islamic structures tire you out, then head straight to Narasimha Zarani, the unique cave temple, and the Papnash Shiva Temple, located in a forested shallow cave. Bidar is approximately 680 kilometres away from Bengaluru and approximately 140 kilometres away from Hyderabad. It is well connected by rail route, as many trains halt here. Bidar has an airport with limited service. Kalaburagi, 125 kilometres away and Hyderabad, are the other two nearest airports.
Nearby Places to See
“Zarani” refers to a river bank or brooklet. Here, the only way into the cave is by wading through a small stream that originates inside the cave and slowly flows out. The natural formation inside the cave that resembles Bhagawan Narasimha is revered by its devotees.
You can worship Shiva at Papnash Temple. As legend has it, Lord Rama set up the temple’s idol on his way back to Ayodhya. A new temple was constructed on the site of the old one after the original was destroyed. The valley that houses this temple is breathtaking. At the base of the temple sits a large pond known as Papnash, which is continually refilled by a nearby spring. The meaning of Papnash is “sin destroyer.” Many people believe that repentance for their sins can be atoned for by paying a visit to this temple and taking a holy dip in the pond there. As a result of this, many visitors come to worship at this temple.
Although it is partially in ruins, the Bidar Fort, which was constructed in the 15th century on an earlier fort site, still retains many of its main sections. The two-tiered entry gates are architecturally stunning, with hidden balconies and steps. Most visitors come to see the colourful views from the Rangin Mahal, the Takht Mahal, the Solahkambha Masjid (16-pillar mosque), the Tarkas Mahal, the Gagan Mahal, and many more buildings.
Once a grand structure, the Mahmud Gawan Madrasa served as the primary educational institution for generations of Bahamian Sultans. Mahmud Gawan was a Persian who rose to prominence as the Bahamian Empire’s chief spiritual guide and minister. This madrasa, established in 1472, played host to students from all over the world.
A small village located just 5 kilometres from Bidar, is a nice place to visit. The tombs of the Bahmani kings, ranging in size and architecture, line both sides of the narrow road leading to the village. Unfortunately, lightning struck one of these tombs and caused damage. The tomb of the advisor to the Bahmani sultans, Hazrat Khileluilla, is located nearby on a hilltop and is a sight to behold.
An iconic building in Guru Nanak Jheera, the white marble Gurudwara is a sight to behold. The Gurudwara, constructed to honour Guru Nanak’s visit, is the primary and, presumably, only Sikh place of worship in all of Karnataka.
Towards the city’s centre is Barid Shahi Park, a sizable public space that contains the graves of two kings from the dynasty that gave rise to their names.
About 45 kilometres from Bidar is the small village of Jalasangvi, home to the Kalleshwara Temple, one of the most famous temples in all of Karnataka. The small temple, which was built between the 11th and 12th centuries, is well-known for its exceptional sculptures of Shalabhanjikas (damsels) and eight-shouldered deities.
Lord Nataraja, or Natya Ganapati (the dancing Ganapati), says: “Among all of the damsels, the one who appears to be scribbling an inscription stands out.” Humnabad, located around 8 kilometres from Jalasangvi, is home to the beautiful Veerabhadra temple for which the town is known.
Things to Buy
Things to buy include Bidriware artefacts.
Foods to Relish