Bidar Fort

Top choice in Karnataka

The remnants of this magnificent 15th-century fort, the largest in South India – and once the administrative capital of much of the region – constitute Bidar's most famous historic site. Surrounded by a triple moat hewn out of solid red rock and many kilometres of defensive walls, the fort has a fairy-tale entrance that twists in an elaborate chicane through three gateways. Bidar Fort once had 37 bastions, several wells and a vast magazine. Reckon on a couple of hours to explore it properly.

Information at the site is minimal, so consider hiring a guide (who can unlock the most interesting ruins within the fort) from the archaeological office next to the museum. Highlights include the Rangin Mahal (Painted Palace), with elaborate tile work, teak pillars and panels with mother-of-pearl inlay, Solah Khamba Mosque (Sixteen-Pillared Mosque), and Tarkash Mahal, with exquisite Islamic inscriptions and wonderful rooftop views. There’s a small museum in the former royal bath with local artefacts.

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