2014 World Monuments Watch
Located in the northeast corner of Karnataka, Bidar is a rapidly urbanizing city and the administrative center of the Bidar district. The walls and bastions of the fortified city are surrounded by a triple moat, and the fort itself is enclosed by seven large gateways. Although Bidar’s origins can be traced back to the Rashtrakuta Empire (753–983), it became historically significant when Bahamani sultan Ahmad Shah relocated the capital of his kingdom there in 1422 and used the prevailing Persian style to construct the palace and design the city’s urban morphology. Bidar’s karez water system, a complex system of aqueducts used for agricultural irrigation, can also be attributed to Persian influence.
When the site was included on the 2014 World Monuments Watch, it was plagued by environmental pollution, a lack of integrated conservation and maintenance, and the construction of new developments and roadways that encroached on the historic fabric. Land use regulations also threatened the economic livelihood of many of the city’s residents. Revised, context-specific planning policies would both protect Bidar’s historic assets and support the future of its local population. The city was included on the Watch in order to spur documentation and analysis of its condition and inspire new policy and applied conservation interventions. Such developments would reveal and maintain Bidar’s rich heritage, and help it to establish a robust and sustainable tourist industry.
Since the Watch
In January 2014 the District Administration of Bidar and the Indian Heritage Cities Network (IHCN) completed a planning study for the city. In 2015 some parts of the karez were returned to working order after being cleaned by the IHCN and local authorities.