Bidar Fort

One of the amazing trip from the year 2014, was trip to a friend’s native. Bidar, once the capital of Bahmani Kingdom, is now a district in the northern part of Karnataka state and hence known as Crown of Karnataka. Although its history goes back to B.C, it became historically significant when Bahamani sultan Ahmad Shah relocated the capital of his kingdom to Bidar in 1422.

Gagan Mahal

Gagan Mahal

Solah Khamba Mosque

Solah Khamba Mosque

Among the many attractions of Bidar, the fort tops the favorite and is one of the most formidable forts of country. Persian architecture can be seen in the fort which houses the Mahals and Mosque along with a lake. It is has triple moats which is very rare.

Triple Moat

There are several gates to the fort among which Gumbad Darwaza and Sherza Darwaza are main entrance gates. The walls, bastions, gates and barbicans of Bidar, though in ruins, are well preserved and will be the main attractions in Bidar Utsav.

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One of the most unique features is the historic Karez  system which is nothing but the underground canals, built to underground water streams which are meant to provide drinking water to civilian settlements and garrison inside the fort. It is also said, beneath the surface, there also lies numerous tunnels within the fort area which is actually like two layered fort.

Rangeen Mahal

Rangeen Mahal

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Ceiling from the Rangeen Mahal

Rangeen Mahal is one of the integral parts of the Bidar Fort.  The Mahal is also titled as the colored Mahal as it is decorated with tiles of diverse colors and as seen in the above pic, the colors haven’t faded yet!

Takht Mahal

Takht Mahal

Diwan-i-am

Diwan-i-am

Tarkash Mahal

Tarkash Mahal

Takht Mahal is the throne palace of the Bidar Fort. Diwan-i-am was the ceremonial focus of the Bahmani and Barid Shahi rulers. The large rectangular court seen here once had timber columns of which only the granite bases remain. Tarkash Mahal  lies in the west side of the Bidar fort. It was extensively used by the rulers during the period to address private audience of the kingdom.

Sherza Darwaza

Sherza Darwaza

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Having the historic significance, centuries old structures, architecture and mysteries in the tunnels passage, we wandered the fort two whole days trying to imagine ourselves going back to the time and tried to visualize the scenario from the  kings and queens along with their guards and soldiers point of view. Also wondering, if at all any of the princesses trying to send love messages to her lover outside the fort/mahal through chits tied to pigeons by sitting next to a window :)

The Good Food

Before saying anything, I must say that I’m a big fan of food. Food is one of the lovely thing for a lively life. It is must for everything living being and I want it more than for living, sometimes! Once I was prepared for the National Trekking Expedition-Goa (2014), organized by YHAI, I was little worried when I read that there will be ‘simple nutritious food’ provided during the expedition. Simple…..:( Just days before the start of our journey, Mayur messaged to bring necessary things that are required for the trip, which included a mug/cup as usual. From the info he collected by others who has made trekking expedition  with YHAI, he said that they also provide ‘Bournvita’ as a beverage. I was delighted to hear this and so carried pretty  big mug that can be found in my home. On the first day, for the breakfast, we were served ‘avalakki‘ (Flattened rice) with lots of peanuts and veggies in it. First thing I had as meal came like a shock. Because, I thought avalakki is made only in south Indian regions. Along with this dish there was also a side item and some sweet. ( I only concentrate on quality and quantity of food so I don’t know  most of dishes names, in English as well as Kannada).

Avalakki (flattened rice)

Avalakki (flattened rice)

They said it is simple nutritious, but here we had more nutrients in different form of green leaves and vegetables.  My first meal, I enjoyed it to the full of my stomach’s capacity. Then came lunch, Roti and rice with combination of Dal and vegetable curry along with another type of sweet item, made a perfect mid-day meal. The sweet I’m talking is actually ‘keer‘ as said at few places and ‘payasa‘ in my place. And actually I wasn’t sure if it is keer/payasa at first place , as I was in mood of savoring it till last drop.

Daal-Roti

Roti Dal

In the evening, got the chance to have tea. Tea tastes different in different places. Initially, I felt little difficulty adjusting to this kind of tea. But, when few sips went through Adam’s apple there it is…in my entire journey I never had tea less than 3/4th of my mug. And at times, I used to have twice!

For the dinner, once again we had same amount of dishes but a different one. On the first day when it was about half an hour to bed, during the campfire programs , we skipped the last part and were arranging our blankets, at that time we heard an announcement. At the end of program, the camp leader said that ‘bournvita’ is being served. Next moment we took our mugs from the bag and ran to join the queue which was just started (actually we stood first in the queue). Filled our mugs to the top most point with hot bournvita and had it. Washed our mugs and returned to tent happily. We spent first two days in the base camp so we had same routine with different dishes and sweets. Puri, Uppit/Upma, Chapati were few among them and also had the opportunity of eating boiled eggs. I said eggS.

Puri (Poori)

Puri (Poori)

Upiitu (Upma)

Upiitu (Upma)

From the third day on wards , we used to leave one  camp site in morning after breakfast and reach other camp by evening. So for the lunch, we carried food in the lunch boxes from the camp we left. And when we left our base camp, we got fruit juice in a tetra pack, couple of biscuit packets along with pack of ‘chikki‘ (ground nut bar chocolate) and lots of toffees. Well, we finished the juice on first day itself, but we kept on eating biscuits, chikkis and toffees for days. There were few toffees left, even when I returned home.

chikkis

Chikkis

After reaching every new camp, we were greeted with welcome juice(unlimited), followed by tea with snacks like biscuits, nippattu and pakodas ( Honestly, I don’t know its meaning in English). Because of these amazing, mouth watering food we never had any idea of getting food from outside.

nippattu

Nippattu

Pakoda

Pakoda

First four days, our campsite was next to amazing beaches and was actually near to markets, as I think so. But, from the fifth day onwards we were in forests. And guess, what we got as food… Its same fresh food in the middle of forest! Where there was no electricity, there we had amazing food. And during same journey in forests there were people who quenched our thirst with lemon juice and lacci. The more surprising food item came on 6th day at Caranzol camp. When we reached the camp, we had welcome drink followed by tea, couple of hours later as usual. And then suddenly a rumor started to spread that they are preparing ‘Gulab Jamun‘! That night was perfect because of Gulab Jamun in the dinner and, bournvita as usual.

Gulab Jamun!!!

Gulab Jamun!!!

At our last campsite, before returning to base camp, we got one more mouth watering dish, ‘pulov’.  Wait, its veg-biryani… Not sure what it is exactly, but I can still smell the taste of its freshness.

Pulov

Pulov

Last day before checkout in morning, we had noodles as breakfast and there came an end to amazing combination of YHAI and its food. We didn’t leave the YHAI’s trekking expedition with lots of amazing memories, but while leaving we also carried noodles in our lunch box. :P

(Photo source: Goooogle)