The Bidar Fort is considered as one of the most formidable forts of India. It was distinctly planned and built on the brink of the Deccan plateau by Sultan Ahmed Shah Wali between 1426 and 1432 AD. Engineers and Architects of various countries were employed on its design and construction.
When Prince Ulugh Khan (Mohammed Bin Tughlaq) conquered Bidar for the first time, there was a fort with double lines of defenses. What the form or extent of this was, is difficult to determine as of now. Tradition however says, that it occupied the western area of the present fort. The tradition is further confirmed by the words of Firishtah that Ahmed Shah Wali built the Government House (Dar-ul-Imara) at a site where the old fort of Bidar once stood. The initial fortifications that were built in 1426 were destroyed as a result of the invasion of Sultan Mohammed Khalji during the reign of Sultan Nizam Shah in 1461. However, later during the regime of Muhammad Shah Bahmani, gun powder was used for blowing up the walls by laying mines beneath them.
Improvements to the fort at a larger scale have been made during the reign of Ali Barid Shah, who mounted guns at various vulnerable points and afterwards, Mukhtar Khan Al-Hussaini, the Mughal commandant re-erected and plated and bossed in iron almost all the gates of Bidar which bear his inscription to this day. There have been no major changes since 1656 when Aurangzeb as the governor of Deccan, annexed Bidar.
The fort is an irregular rhomboid in shape with steep sides towards the north and east. On the sides where the ground was lower, a triple channel moat was excavated with partitions hewn out of rock. The moat and the glacis encircle the fort on all sides which sum up to 5.5 kilometers of defense walls. The external defense has 37 massive polygonal bastions and 7 strong irregular rhombic shaped gates.
We will walk through the gates in the next post.