Madrasa of Mahmud Gawan at Bidar Karnataka built in the late 15th Century is a shining example of education and learning

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Education and learning has been the very basis of the advancement in any quest of human being. The very first verse of the Quran instructs to read and learn. Therefore, Madrasa, a word in Arabic signifying any establishment of learning – School, College or University – has been built all over the world. Madrasa of Mahmud Gawan at Bidar Karnataka is a shining example of education and learning. Built in 1472, this college has functional for two centuries after thereafter. Now the institution is an important historical site today.

There were 36 rooms for the students, a large and impressive library, a laboratory, and boarding facilities for both students as well as teachers in this seat of higher learning. The building is also famous for artworks and architectural brilliance. Relevant verses from the Quran are also part of the inscription. The front gate is covered in exquisite tile-work. In its hay day, the institution attracted tens of thousands of scholars as well as students from across the Islamic world. Architecturally, this Madrasa has resemblances to other educational centers in the Central and South Asia.  


Mahmud Gawan, the Prime Minster of Bahmani Sultanate during the reign of Muhammad Shah Bahmani II (1463-1482) and scholarly genius is credited to have founded this Islamic College from his own personal money. His real name was Khwaja Mahmud Gilani. A noble titled Malikut-Tujjar hailed from the village Gawan in Persia and had command over Islamic Theology, Persian Language and most importantly Mathematic. He was also a poet and famous prose writer. An embodiment of wisdom, having trust and confidence the rulers, locals as well as the foreign kingdoms left behind his legacy in the form of this Madrasa with other imminent structures for generations to come. He was also a competent and successful general, capable administrator, learned man, patron of art and poetry. Born in 1411 in Iran he left for heavenly abode in 1481. We cannot forget the services this man rendered for so many individuals for so many years.    


It is located in Bidar, 39 percent of population of which is Muslims, a hilltop city in the north-eastern part of Karnataka state India. The state capital Bengaluru is 430 km. On the eastern side of Bidar district lie Kamareddy and Sangareddy districts of Telangana. Latur Osmanabad district in Maharashtra are on the western side. Nander district also in Maharashtra is on the northern side and Gulbarga on the southern side. Bidar has its own railway station connecting major cities of the country. An airport also serves the city.

Preservation and concerns:

Although the Archeological Survey of India took up the program to preserve and protect the ancient monuments in Bidar in 2005, goats graze in the majestic ruins so it requires the watch round the clock.  

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