Functional for two centuries after being built in , this institution is an important historical site today. It included 36 rooms for the students, a large and impressive library, a renowned madrasa, a laboratory, and boarding facilities for both students as well as teachers. Apart from the madrasa, the building was also famous because of the artwork and its architectural beauty. Verses from the Quran are also part of the inscription.
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It was built in the s and is an example of the regional style of Indo-Islamic architecture under the Bahmani Sultanate. This heritage structure is placed under the list of monuments of national importance.
Founded by the prime-minister of the Bahamani empire in the late 15th century, it bears testimony to the scholarly genius of Mahmud Gawan, who first came to Delhi as a Persian trader in exile  from Gilan in Iran and moved to Bidar in Mahmud reportedly built the madrasa with his own money and it functioned like a residential University which was built and maintained on the lines of Madrasa of Khurasan. The imposing and spacious building of the institution is considered as an architectural gem and an important landmark of Bidar.
Situated on the Deccan Plateau feet above the sea level,  : 42 Bidar has long been a place of Cultural and Historical Importance. The monument is located between the Chowbara Clock Tower and the fort from where it is a few hundred meters away. Remains of the monument stand strong amongst the chaos of urban settlement around it. Its principal east facade, now partly ruined, faces the city's main street leading to the citadel. The Madrasa religious seminary has been a striking building though long in a ruinous condition.
It occupied an area of feet by , and was entered by a large gateway on the east in front of which it had two lofty towers about a hundred feet high. The rooms surround an open area feet square, in the middle of each of three sides of which was a large apartment or hall 26 feet wide by about 52 in length, rising to the full height of building, which is of three stories. Each of these hall has a dome on the outer end over the oriel that projects beyond the line of the walls.
The foundations and the lower courses, at least, of the building are all jointed with thin sheets of lead. The tower minar has been faced with enameled tiles of different colours in zig zag lines round the lower half of it. Portions of the walls, especially in the front have also been covered with the same materials, and a broad frieze along the top of the front wall has been inscribed with sentences from Q'uran in coloured letters on a ground of green and gold.
Of this a part is still to be seen on the right side of the front. The building has a high basement but to make the approach convenient, two terraces have been built in front of it. The main entrance has vanished, but its floor has been exposed during excavations. The minaret has on octagonal base with round shape at the point. The lower has three storey, the first and second having balconies which project from the main body of the tower in a curvilinear form but have no brackets to support them.
In the time of Firishta , nearly a century and a half later, it was still in perfect preservation and with the great mosque and other buildings by the same founder, in what was called Gawan-ki Chowk present day Gawan Chowk were then still applied to the purpose for which they were originally designed.
In , during the wars of Aurangzeb , Bidar was ravaged by Khan Dauran. In the end of , it was invested by Aurangzeb himself. After this capture, the madrasa was principally appropriated as barrack for a body of cavalry , while a room or rooms near the left Minar were used to store gunpowder which exploded in an accident. It blew up fully of one-fourth of the edifice, destroying the tower and entrance.
It is also recorded in history that the structure suffered significant damage following a lightning struck in The madrasa however, built to reaffirm Shia ism as the state religion, is clearly modeled on contemporary central Asian buildings.
The entire campus gives the grand impression which Islamic architecture awakes in many minds. Intelligent planning and construction have gone into building the madrasa.
The surface treatment is composed of color produced by glazed tiles of different hues. Traces of exquisite colorful tiles are still visible on the walls of the building. The floral decor, arabesque design and decorative inscriptions with arches dominating everywhere make it a fine specimen of Islamic architecture. This was all possible because Mahmud Gawan was familiar with renowned colleges at Samarkhand and Khorasan.
This religious seminary which also taught science and maths was run by a carefully chosen faculty which comprised Islamic scholars, scientists , philosophers and Arabic experts.
It is recorded that free boarding, lodging and education to over students from the world over was provided at any given time. The founder had established a library of volumes in this university before his death; what became of it is not known.
It included marking boundaries around these structures, building aesthetically designed compound walls, providing lighting and laying gardens around some monuments. Bidar has found its place in the World Monument Watch List, which gives some hope for improvements in this City of Whispering Monuments.
Today goats graze among the majestic ruins and the windows with exquisite jail-work look out like haunted eyes. Mahmud Gawan Madarasa is among the monuments in Bidar that require round-the-clock watch. The Archaeology office is understaffed. The open space behind the monument is used as cricket ground by locals, with the ball s often hitting the monument.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain :. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Architecture Forts Economies Societies. A Textbook of Medieval Indian History. Primus Books. Retrieved 12 March Business Line. Retrieved 16 March London: Her Majesty's secretary of state for India in council. The Hindu. Retrieved 10 March Historical Places in Karnataka. Delhi Jammu and Kashmir. Bidar topics. Bidar Sultanate Siege of Bidar. Namespaces Article Talk.
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An alliance with Vijayanagar proved effective in defeating Orissa in Up to the s the kingdom had been divided into four provinces, centring around the cities of Daulatabad , Mahur, Bidar , and Gulbarga , respectively. The governors of the four provinces had control over almost all aspects of civil and military administration within their territorial jurisdictions. Administration was thus decentralized from the beginning, but the relative power of the provincial governors as compared with the centre potentially became even greater as the state expanded and each of the four provinces grew larger.
A Deccan story: Mahmud Gawan
Vizierate of Maḥmūd Gāwān
Khwaja Mahmud Gilani , from the village of Gawan in Persia , was well-versed in Islamic theology , Persian language and Mathematics and was a poet and a prose writer of repute. Later, he became a minister in the court of Muhammad III A storehouse of wisdom, Mahmud enjoyed the trust and confidence of rulers, locals as well as that of foreign kingdoms, who had great respect for Mahmud. His characteristics are as follows: competent and successful general, capable administrator, learned man, patron of art and poetry.
Mahmud Gawan Madrasa
Bidar , India. Mahmud Gawan Madrasa Bidar , India. An erudite scholar himself, he established the madrasa with a reputation that attracted the most eminent theologians, philosophers and scientists. The library of the madrasa boasted over three thousand manuscripts. In subsequent centuries, the madrasa suffered as Bidar witnessed a series of political struggles. In , it was appropriated by Awrangzib for use as a military barrack. Rooms near the southeast minaret were used for gun-powder storage.