History

Bijapur District established in the 10th–11th centuries by the Chalukyas of Kalyani was referred as Vijayapura (City of victory). The city came under the influence of the Khilji Sultanate in Delhi by the late 13th century. In1347, the area was conquered by the Bahmani Sultanate of Gulbarga. By this time the city was being referred as Vijapur or Bijapur.

In 1518, the Bahmani Sultanate split into five splinter states known as the Deccan sultanates, one of which was Bijapur, ruled by the kings of the Adil Shahi dynasty (1490–1686). The city of Bijapur owes much of its greatness to Yusuf Adil Shah, the founder of the independent state of Bijapur. The rule of this dynasty ended in 1686, when Bijapur was conquered by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. In 1724 the Nizam of Hyderabad established his independence in the Deccan, and included Bijapur within his dominions. In 1760, the Nizam suffered a defeat by the Marathas, and ceded the region of Bijapur to the Maratha Peshwa.

After the 1818 defeat of the Peshwa by the British in the Third Anglo-Maratha War, Bijapur passed into the hands of the British East India Company, and was assigned to the princely state of Satara.

In 1848 the territory of Satara, along with Bijapur, was annexed to Britain’s Bombay Presidency when the last ruler died without a male heir. The British carved a new district by the name Kaladagi. The district included present-day Bijapur and Bagalkot districts. Bijapur was made the administrative headquarters of the district in 1885, when the headquarters were moved from Bagalkot. After India’s Independence in 1947, the district became part of Bombay state, and was reassigned to Mysore state, later Karnataka, in 1956. The former southern taluks of the district were separated in 1997 to form Bagalkot District.

While archaeological evidence indicates that the area was settled by the late Paleolithic, the legendary founding of the city of Bijapur was in the late 900s under Tailapa II, who had been the Rashtrakutan governor of Tardavadi, and after the destruction to the empire caused by the invasion of the Paramara of Malwa, declared his independence and went on to found the empire of the Chalukyas of Kalyani, where the city was referred as Vijayapura (“City of Victory”). By the late 13th century, the area had come under the influence of the Khilji Sultanate. In 1347, the area was conquered by the Bahmani Sultanate of Gulbarga. By this time the city was being referred as Vijapur or Bijapur.

In 1518, the Bahmani Sultanate split into five splinter states known as the Deccan sultanates, one of which was Bijapur, ruled by the kings of the Adil Shahi dynasty (1490–1686). The city of Bijapur owes much of its greatness to Yusuf Adil Shah, the founder of the independent Bijapur Sultanate. The rule of this dynasty ended in 1686, when Bijapur was conquered by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. In 1724 the Nizam of Hyderabad established his independence in the Deccan, and included Bijapur within his dominions. In 1760, the Nizam suffered a defeat by the Marathas, and ceded the region of Bijapur to the Maratha Peshwa. After the 1818 defeat of the Peshwa by the British in the Third Anglo-Maratha War, Bijapur passed into the hands of the British East India Company, and was assigned to the princely state of Satara.

In 1848 the territory of Satara, along with Bijapur, was annexed to Britain’s Bombay Presidency when the last ruler died without a male heir. The British carved a new district by the name Kaladagi. The district included present-day Bijapur and Bagalkot districts. Bijapur was made the administrative headquarters of the district in 1885, when the headquarters were moved from Bagalkot. After India’s Independence in 1947, the district became part of Bombay state, and was reassigned to Mysore state, later Karnataka, in 1956. The former southern taluks of the district were separated in 1997 to form Bagalkot District.

The citadel, built by Yusuf Adil Shah, a mile (2 km) in circuit, is of great strength, well built of the most massive materials, and encompassed by a ditch 100 yards wide, formerly supplied with water, but now nearly filled up with rubbish, so that its original depth cannot be discovered. Within the citadel are the remains of both Hindu temples and old mosques, which prove that Bijapur was an important town. The fort, which was completed by Au Adil Shah in 1566, is surrounded by a wall 6 m. in circumference. This wall is from 30 to 50 ft (10 to 15 m) high, and is strengthened with 96 massive bastions of various designs. In addition there are ten others at the various gateways. The width is about 25 ft (8 m); from bastion to bastion runs a battlemented curtained wall about 10 ft (3 m) high. The whole is surrounded by a deep moat 30 to 40 ft (10 to 12 m) broad. Inside these walls the Bijapur kings bade defiance to all comers. Outside the walls are the remains of a vast city, now for the most part in ruins, but the innumerable tombs, mosques, caravanserais and other edifices, which have resisted the havoc of time, afford abundant evidence of the ancient splendour of the place.

Badami, Aihole, and Pattadakal, near Bijapur, are noted for their historical temples in the Chalukyan architectural style.