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 Baridi.
Bidar’s Fort, built in 1428 by Ahmed Shah Bahmani, occupies a promontory that is defended by double rings of walls and a moat partly carved out of the bedrock. A trio of arched gates, one with polychrome tilework, anther with a prominent dome, lead into what was once the royal enclave. To the left is the Rangin Mahal, an exquisite palace built by Ali Shah Band 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 especially striking. Nearby is the ‘ unusual Solah Khamba Mosque, with massive circular columns, built by the Tughluqs in 1327. In front is the Lal Bagh, a walled garden with a central lobefringed pool. A short distance to the south is the ruined iwan-i-Am, the Public Audience Hall, and the Takht Mahal, a monumental portal with traces of hexagonal tiles Dlecorated with tiger and sun emblems in the spandrels.
The old walled town Trawls beneath the ramparts of the fort. On one side of the Bain north-south street is the Takhti-i-Kirmani a 15th centny gateway embellished with bands of foliate and ,mabesque designs. Further south is the magnificent late I15th-century Madrasa of Mtihmud Gawan, named after the erudite prime min Ft who was the virtual ruler off the Babmani 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 façade. 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 Bidar. The largest is the Tomb of Ali Shah Band (1577). This lofty, domed chamber, open on four sides, stands in the middle of a symmetrical foursquare 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. Bidar is also known for a special type of encrusted metalware, often mistaken for damascening, known as hidri. Introduced in the mid-17th century by artisans from Iran, the craft flourished 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, huqqa 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.
ENVIRONS: The Bahmani necropolis stands in the open countryside near Ashtur, a small village 3 km (2 miles) northeast of Bider . The oldest and grandest of the tombs is the early 15th-century Tomb of Ahmad Shah. Splendid murals embellish the interior walls as well as the huge dome. The adjacent tomb of Aladdin Ahead II, his successor, has coloured tile mosaics. Just outside is the Chaukhandi, the modest tomb of the saint Khalil Allah (d.1460), which has superb calligraphic panels over the doorways.