The majestic fort stood proudly before me with all its past glory that even the ravage of time couldn’t entirely blot out. We set out for Bidar Fort at around 8 am from Begumpet, the heart of Hyderabad city. It is about a 150-km drive from there. We stopped at Zaheerabad for a hearty breakfast of fresh idlis and sambhar, and washed it down with coffee. There on, it was a non-stop drive to our destination.
The first thing that strikes you about Bidar fort is its sheer perfection, though many of its structures are now in ruins. Still, it is not hard to imagine what a stunning structure it must have been during its time. The fort had everything to keep it safe from outside attack. The peripheral walls, measuring 4,100 m, nestle within them royal palaces, gardens, a mosque, floral-designed fountains, royal baths to gallows and dungeons. There is also chaubara – a 71-ft watchtower. We reached its top and got a sweeping view of the town below. We entered the Bidar fort through the Gumbad darwaza, one of its seven gates.
And there was the fabled Rangin Mahal. Even after all this time, its delicately carved wooden pillars and tile work left us mesmerised. But the real showpiece of Rangin Mahal are the Persian couplets carved on an exquisite mother-of-pearl inlay against a striking background of black granite. The Gagan Mahal showcases Persian architectural style and sports glazed mosaics. Its approach has black granite steps inter laid with red sandstone. Further ahead, there is the famous Solah Khamba Masjid (named for its 16 pillars). Built in 1423 CE, the impressive prayer hall is now the oldest mosque in Bidar Fort.
We also got a peek at the thrilling Hazar Kothri (or the thousand cells). Our guide told us that during war, the royals used these underground hidden passages not only for safe exit outside the fort but also to confuse invaders. Even during the day, the place was quite spooky. A brief photo session around cannons afterwards, housed at prominent locations atop towers later, it was time to bid adieu to the grand fort.
By rail: Though the Bidar fort is in Karnataka, it is nearest from Hyderabad
by road or rail (from Begumpet or Secunderabad junction).
By road: From Afzal Gunj (south Hyderabad) MGBS (Mahatma Gandhi Bus Stand), buses ply for Bidar every 15 minutes. The town of Bidar is also connected with Mumbai and Bangalore by road and air. It is reachable from Gulbarga (110 km away) by road.
About the Author
Jigyasha is an avid weekend traveller who also loves to read a book or two on her way. Second love: Theatre.