BIDAR (17º-55'N, 77º-32'E) is a district town in Karnāṭaka. It is a railway station on the Vikārābād-Pārlī-Vaijnāth section of the South Central Railway. It is also connected by road with Nāndeḍ.
GURDWĀRĀ SRĪ NĀNAK JHĪRĀ SĀHIB at Bidar honours the memory of Gurū Nānak. At the time of Gurū Nānak's visit, Bidar was the capital of the Bahmanī kingdom. Since the establishment in the town of the great Madarsa by Mahmūd Gāwāṅ in 1471-72, it had been a famous centre of Arabic learning in the Deccan. Gurū Nānak stayed next to a monastery of Muslim ascetics on the outskirts of the town. These faqīrs and their head, Pīr Jalāl-ud-Dīn, attracted by the holy bāṇī being sung to the accompaniment of Mardānā's rebeck, came and made obeisance to the Gurū. The monastery was built on a rock in an undulating barren tract, without any water in the vicinity. Tradition says that, at the supplication of Jalāl-ud-Din, Gurū Nānak lifted a stone and from underneath it a fountain of clear sweet water gushed forth. The spring, called Amrit Kuṇḍ, the Pool of Nectar, is still in existence. The place came to be known as Nānak Jhīrā and was looked after by Muslim priests. Māī (mother) Bhāgo, who had gone to the Deccan following Gurū Gobind Siṅgh used to visit it frequently during her stay at Jinvāṛā. But it gained prominence as a place of pilgrimage after the control passed to the Sikhs in 1948, confirmed by a judicial verdict in 1950. The construction of the Gurdwārā was commenced under a managing committee, headed by Sardār Bishan Siṅgh of Hyderābād. The main building, called Srī Harimandir Sāhib, was completed in 1966, and the Gurū Granth Sāhib was installed in it on the occasion of Holā Mohallā festival. Several other buildings, including the 101 room Gurū Nānak Bishrām Ghar (residential block for pilgrims), Gurū Nānak Hospital, a museum, laṅgar and a bathing tank have since been added.
The central building, a three-storeyed structure, is a handsome model of the mixture of modern and medieval styles of architecture. The ground floor, consisting of several rooms occupying a plinth area of about 50 metre square, serves as a basement for the main dīvān hall on the first floor. The hall consists of several rectangular projections in symmetrical order around a 10-metre-square sanctum. The roof of a large refectory, constructed adjacent to the main building, is on level with the dīvān hall and provides additional space for larger gatherings on festivals and other special occasions. The original spring, Amrit Kuṇḍ, is now a canopied square-shaped pool. It supplies water to the bathing tank, 50 metres away.
The Gurdwārā is managed by a committee which includes members from Bidar as well as from other towns in the South, such as Hyderābād, Wāraṅgal and Bombay. Gurbāṇī recital and kīrtan are held morning and evening, and all major anniversaries are celebrated, the most prominent of them being the birthday of Gurū Nānak and Holā Mohallā. The Gurdwārā also runs a college for training engineers and a charity hospital and a primary school, named after Gurū Nānak. Offerings and donations are the only source of income.
Major Gurmukh Siṅgh (Retd.)