The region came under Muslim influence, first under Alauddin Khilji, the Sultan of Delhi, towards the end of the 13th Century and then under the Bahamani Kings of Bidar in 1347.
History says that in 1481, Mohammed III, one of the Bahamani Sultans, appointed Yusuf Adil Khan as the Governor of the Vijayapura. Yusuf Adil Khan was one of the sons of Sultan Mohammed II of Turkey. He fled his country on the death of his father to escape being killed in the battle for the succession to the throne.
He was bought as a slave by Mohammed Gavan, the Prime Minister of Mohammed III. With the decline of the Bahamani power at Bidar, Yusuf Adil Khan turned into an independent ruler in 1489 and thus became the founder of the Adil Shahi Dynasty which survived as the Kingdom till its seizure by Aurangazeb (Mogul ruler of Delhi) in 1686.
The walled city of Vijayapura experienced a great burst of architectural activity under the Adil Shahi Dynasty. The Adil Shahi encouraged building activity to such an extent that Vijayapura itself has over 50 mosques, more than 20 tombs and a number of palaces. A large number of Indian artisans were employed to build these monuments. Earlier, Muslim rulers of the Deccan deployed Persian craftsmen and architects.
Yusuf Adil Shah was the son of Murad II, the Sultan of Turkey. After the Sultan's death and succession to throne by the crown prince, all other sons were executed. However, Yusuf's mother secretly replaced him with a slave boy and sent him to Persia. After many romantic adventures, Yusuf reached the court of the Bidar Sultanate. His bravery and personality raised him rapidly in Sultan's favor, resulting in his appointment as the Governor of Vijayapura. He built the Citadel or Arkilla and the Faroukh Mahal. Yusuf was a man of culture. He invited poets and artisans from Persia, Turkey and Rome to his court. He married Punji, the sister of a Maratha warrior. When Yusuf died in 1510 A.D., Ismail, his son, was still a boy. Punji in male attire valiantly defended him from a coup to grab the throne. Ismail Adil Shah thus became the king of Vijayapura, which till then was a province of Bahamani kingdom.
Ibrahim Adil Shah I who succeeded his father Ismail fortified the city and built the old Jami Masjid. Ali Adil Shah I who next ascended the throne, aligned his forces with other Muslim kings of Deccan and together, they brought down the Vijayanagar empire. With the loot gained, he launched ambitious projects . He built the Gagan Mahal, Ali Rauza (his own tomb), Chand Bawdi (a large well) and the Jami Masjid. Ali I had no son, so his nephew Ibrahim II was set on the throne. Ali I's queen Chand Bibi had to aid him till he came of age. Ibrahim II was noted for his valor, intelligence and leanings towards the Hindu music and philosophy. Under his patronage the Vijayapura school of painting (see: Deccan Miniatures) reached its zenith. Muhammad Adil Shah succeeded his father Ibrahim II. He is renowned for Vijayapura's grandest structure, the Gol Gumbaz, which has the biggest dome in the world with whispering gallery round about slightest sound is reproduced seven times. He also set up the historical Mallik-E-Maidan, the massive gun. Ali Adil Shah II inherited a troubled kingdom. He had to face the onslaught of Shivaji on one side and Aurangjeb on another. His mausoleum, Bara Kaman planned to dwarf all others was left unfinished due to his death.
The contribution of Adilshahi kings to the architecture, painting, language, literature and music of Karnataka is unique. Vijayapura (Kannada form of Vidyapur or Vidyanagari in Sanskrit) attracted many Sufi saints scholars artists and musicians from Rome, Persia (Iran) Iraq, Arabstan, Turkastan (Turkey) etc. that it became a cosmopolitan city of medieval times. The unfinished Jami Masjid started in 1565 A.D. has an arcaded prayer hall with fine aisles supported on massive piers has a impressive dome.The Ibrahim Rouza which contains Tomb of Ihrahim II is the finest structure with delicately carved designing. Persian artists of Adilshahi court have left a rare treasure of miniature paintings, some of which are well-preserved in Europe's great museums. The "Dakhani" language an amalgamation of Persian-Arabic, Gujarati, Marathi, and Kannada developed into an independent spoken and literary language. Under the Adilshahis many literary works were published in Dakhani. Ibrahim Adilshash II's book of poems and music, Kitab-e-Navras is in Dakhani. Dakhani language, which was growing under the Bahamani kings, later came to be known as Dakhan Urdu to distinguish it from the North Indian Urdu. Mushaira or poetic symposium was born in Vijayapura court and later traveled north. Adilshahis had a leading role in bringing down the mighty Vijayanagar empire. (1565 A.D.) Earlier Ali Adilshah I (1557-1580 A.D.) was a friend of Vijayanagar but joined hands with other three Shahi kingdoms of Golkonda, Ahmednagar and Bidar. Plundering of Vijayanagar brought him immense wealth along with annexation of vast territory after the fall of Vijayanagar. The Adilshahi kings were known for tolerance towards Hindus and non-interference in their religious matters. They employed Hindus to high posts especially accounts and administration administration which were maintained in Marathi. Almost all the Bahamani kings loved poetry some were poets and some were musicians. Adil Shah II played the Sitar and Ud and Ismail was a composer. Muhammad Qasim Ferishta the famous historian was a protégé of Ibrahim Adilshah II. His Gulshane-Ibrahimi forms a very good source book for the history of the Bahamani and contemporary kingdoms of the Adilshahis.
Sikandar Adil Shah ruled next for fourteen stormy years. Finally in 1686 A.D., the Moguls under Aurangjeb overpowered the city of Vijayapura. Thus ended the nearly two hundred year old Adil Shah dynasty -- a kingdom that patronized arts and crafts, building the eloquent city of Vijayapura with its splendid examples of Indo-Saracenic architecture.