If you visit Karnataka, and if you have time to visit only say, 3 cities, then Bidar should be one on the list. It is one of the most important places in the state as it has many sites of religious, architectural and historical importance. It is a hill-top city and has many monuments worth visiting. In fact, the Archaeology department of India has published an entire book, titled, ‘Bidar Heritage’ that documents almost all the monuments and heritage structures in the city. There are around 30 tombs and 61 monuments in Bidar itself. No wonder that it is well-known as the ‘city of whispering monuments’. It is also a popular film shooting centre. Though each of the monuments in Bidar are worth visiting, there are at least 5 must-visit places in Bidar.
1. Bidar Fort
If you are a history enthusiast, then a trip to the Bidar fort is a must. If you are not and if you want to see an architectural marvel and witness the symbol of a rich era, then also you should visit Bidar fort. It is one of the proud symbols of the Bahamani dynasty which ruled the region. It was the Bahamani ruler Sultan Allauddin Bahaman who built the fort in Persian architectural style. The old city of Bidar was housed inside the fort.
In addition, there are other monuments within the fort such as the Takhat Mahal, Rangin Mahal, Gagan Mahal and more. Of these, the Rangin Mahal is a place to marvel as it reflects the master craftsmanship of the 16th century. There are beautiful wooden carvings and tile work reminding of Persian influence that can be seen at the Mahal.
At the entrance of the fort, there are five gateways. It is said that the art form Bidriware was first created and developed from the Bidri fort. There are also two mosques within the fort premises.
2. Bahamani Tombs
It constitutes 12 tombs which are architectural marvels as well. Situated at Ashtur in Bidar, Bahamani Tombs house many tombs of various Bahamani rulers. One of the tombs belongs to Ahmed Shah Alwali Bahamani, the ninth ruler of Bidar and it is definitely one of the most fascinating tombs. On its interior, you can witness an array of bright colours. There are very elaborate floral designs along with calligraphic styles that give the tomb a mesmerising look. There are also beautiful paintings on the wall and the engraving of verses of Quran is another highlight.
The swastika symbol on the mausoleum is another surprising element. But don’t be surprised, as Ahmad Shah was a liberal ruler. The tombs of his wife and sons too form a part of the Bahamani Tombs. Each tomb has a special architectural style and is decorated in a beautiful manner. In fact, those who love architecture and history may take an entire day to go around these tombs to admire their splendid beauty. Visiting the tombs during day time is what will help you see the intricate architecture and other features of the tomb.
3. Narasimha Jhira Cave Temple
As the name says, Narasimha Jhira cave temple is a temple inside a cave, which alone makes it a marvel. At the same time, it is also one of the most revered temples in Karnataka as it is believed to fulfil wishes. Dedicated to Lord Narasimha, the half-lion-half human God and an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the cave temple has impressive architecture and is just around 1 km away for the city of Bidar.
There is also an idol of a Shiva Lingam. A unique feature of the Narasimha Jhira Cave Temple is that the cave wherein it is located is filled with water up to 300 m. That means, devotees have to wade through waist deep waters to reach the deities. It is believed that the idol of Lord Narasimha was self-manifested or swayambhoo, which means it appeared on its own and that is why the temple has special significance for devotees.
Chaubara is an urdu word which means, a building that faces four directions or sides. It is one of the main highlights of the Mughal architecture. The Chaubara of Bidar is a cylindrical tower of around 22 m height and located in the town of Bidar. If you can reach the top of the Chaubara which is through a winding staircase, you can see splendid views of the whole region.
Chaubara was once the watchtower for the rulers to keep an eye on enemies. To experience history and to have a glimpse of the architectural marvels of the past, a visit to the Chaubara of Bidar is a must.
5. Gurudwara Nanak Jhira Sahib
Gurudwara Nanak Jhira Sahib is a beautiful Gurudwara dedicated to Guru Nanak, the first Guru of the Sikhs built in 1948. It is located near to the Bidar railway station, just 2 kms away from it. The different rooms or parts that constitute the Gurudwara are the Sukhaasan room or the main hall where the sacred Guru Granth Sahib is kept, the Langar Hall, Diwan Hall and the Lihar room among others. There is a holy tank in front of the stairs to the Gurudwara. It is believed that the water is holy and can cleanse the sin of whoever bathes in the water.
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