Bangalore - - Bidar

Bidar district 111 km (69 miles) Northeast of Gulbarga. Bidar became the Bahmani capital in 1424, when Firuz Shah's brother and successor, Ahmad Shah, moved his court here. With the collapse of the Bahmani dynasty at the end of the 15th century, control of the region passed into the hands of the Baridis.

Bidar's Fort, built in 1428 by Ahmed Shah Bahmani, occupies a promontory that is defected by double rings of walls and a moat partly carved out of the bedrock. A trio of arched gates, one with polychrome dome, leads into what was once the royal enclave. To the left is the Rangin Mahal, an exquisite palace built by Ali Shah Barid in the 16th century. The hall, with its original wooden columns displaying ornate brackets and beams, and the rear chamber adorned with magnificent tile mosaics and inlaid mother-of-pearl decoration, are eapecially striking . Nearby is the unusual Solah Khamba
Mosque, with massive circular columns, built by the Tughluqs. In front is the Lal Bagah, a walled garden with a central lobefringed pool. A short distance to the south is the ruined Diwan-i-Am, the public Audience Hall, and the Takht Mahal, a monumental portal with traces of hexagonal tiles decorated with tiger and sun emblems in the spandrels.

The old walled town sprawls beneath the ramparts of the fort. On one side of the main north-south street is the Takhti-i-Kirmani, a 15th-century gateway embellished with bands of foliate and arabesque designs. Further south is the magnificent late 15th century Madrasa of Mahmud Gawan, named after the erudite prime minister who was the virtual ruler of the Bahmani kingdom. This used to be a famous theological college, and at one time boasted a huge library, well-stocked with scholarly manuscripts. A superb example of central Asian-style architecture, it has four arched portals that stand against a background of domes facing a central court. A pair of minarets flanks its facade. Tile mosaics on the exterior still survive, including a finely worked calligraphic band in rich blue and white. Still further south , the Chaubara marks the intersection of the two principal streets running through Bidar.

The Mausolea of the Baridi rulers lie west of Bridar. The largest is the Tomb of Ali Shah Barid (1577). This lofty, domed chamber, open on four sides, stands in the middle of a symmetrical four square garden. Blank panels above the arches once contained tile mosaic, examples of which are preserved inside. The black polished basalt sarcophagus is still in situ.

Bridar is also known for a special type of encrusted metalware, often mistaken for damascening, known as bidri. Introduced in the mid-17th century by artisans from Iran, the craft flourised under court patronage. The style, characterized by intricate floral and geometric designs, inlaid in gold, silver or brass onto a matt black surface, was used to embellish various objects, including platters, boxes, buqqa bases and trays. Today, the finest pieces are housed in museums, and only a handful of artisan families still practise this craft in the town of its origin.

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