Aug 3, 2012

The Qutb Shahi dynasty of Golconda

The Qutb Shahi dynasty ruled over Golconda for almost two centuries, and under them, the kingdom was known for its wealth, arts, literature, cuisine, architechture and most importantly, the secular culture from the coming together of the Hindu and Muslim ways of life. About 2 kms from the Golconda fort is a huge garden dotted with tombs, where the rulers of this dynasty lie buried. One cloudy day last week, my father and I drove there to shoot some pictures. 
Rewind to the 14th century. Alauddin Hassan Bahman Shah revolted against the Delhi Sultanate and founded the Bahmani Sultanate, the first Muslim kingdom of the Deccan with Gulbarga, and later Bidar, as its capital. In the 16th century, Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk, soldier and scholar in the Bahmani court, was sent by the reigning Bahmani Sultan to Golconda as a governer. He established his base here, strengthened and expanded the existing mud fort (the Golconda Fort), and assumed independence from Bidar. That marked the beginning of the Qutb Shahi dynasty. The Bahmani Sultanate broke up into the five Deccan Sultanates of Ahmednagar, Berar, Bijapur, Bidar and Golconda. (I wrote a little about this here)
The Golconda Fort seen from the tomb complex
Jamsheed Quli, one of the first sultan's sons, had an accomplice murder his father and blind his older brother, and ascended the throne.
Tomb of Jamsheed Quli Qutb Shah
After Jamsheed Quli's death, his younger brother Ibrahim was made the Sultan. He was known for his love of Telugu and was a great patron of literature. The Purana Pul and the Hussain Sagar tank were built during his reign. 
Tomb of Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah
Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah's third son Muhammad Quli, went on to become the fourth Qutb Shahi Sultan. By then, Golconda was no longer able to accomodate the growing population and was battling water scarcity and cholera, so the sultan ordered for a brand new city to be established beyond the Purana Pul. And HYDERABAD was born!
Tomb of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah
The next ruler was Sultan Muhammad Qutb Shah, the son-in-law of the previous sultan. He was married to princess Hayat Bakshi Begum, who influenced the affairs of the state for many years to come. 
Tomb of Hayat Bakshi Begum
Hayat Bakshi Begum's Masjid beside her tomb
Their son Abdullah Qutb Shah became the next ruler at the tender age of 12, after his father's untimely death. He was born under an inauspicious star, and the father and son were forbidden from looking at each other for 12 years. But just as the period was about to end, their paths crossed inadvertently, and the Sultan died. (Story behind the Mecca Masjid). 
Tomb of Abdullah Qutb Shah
Left: Tomb of Abdullah Qutb Shah. Right: A corridor around the tomb of his mother Hayat Bakshi Begum
Abul Hassan Tana Shah, Sufi saint Shah Raju Qattal's disciple, was the last ruler of the dynasty. During his rule, Aurangzeb attacked Golconda for the second time - after a bloody battle that lasted eight months, one night, a traitor opened the Fateh Darwaza (one of the gates) of the Golconda Fort to let the enemy in. The Mughal army emerged victorious, and the glorious Qutb Shahi rule came to an end. The Sultan was imprisoned in the Daulatabad fort, where he died 13 years later. This incomplete tomb is believed to be his - it was left unfinished because of the war and the collapse of the kingdom. I also hear that it is the tomb of Nizamuddin, another son-in-law of Abdullah Qutb Shah, and not Tana Shah.
Incomplete Tomb
The royal mortuary bath, where ablution rites were performed before burial
In addition to the tombs of the Sultans and their wives, there are plenty more tombs in the garden, built for relatives and other people close to the royal family. I will leave you with pictures of some of them, amidst lush greenery after a spell of rains, and dark clouds threatening to bring some more.
Some books on this subject that I've been reading:
Hyderabad - A Biography, by Narendra Luther
The Untold Charminar, writings on Hyderabad, edited by Syeda Imam
The Heritage of the Qutb Shahis of Golconda and Hyderabad by Dr. M.A. Nayeem

19 comments:

  1. Beautiful madhu...we miss the old ambience of these tombs. At least around this place. The monsoon and the greenery of the Deccan brought back so many memories.

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    1. Thank you Shri! There's no better time to visit the tombs than the rainy season :)

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    1. Pree these are the Qutb Shahi tombs near the Golkonda Fort in Hyderabad

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  3. Beautiful, evocative images. The combination of the textures of the ancient walls, the rich, gray skies, and the lush greenery make me wish that I could immediately visit these tombs and lose myself in that enchanted space - hopefully some day.

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    1. Thank you so much Priyanka. I hope you get to visit - you will definitely not be disappointed :)

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  4. what a wonderful collection of quality photographs you have. I must say you have a very good eye for camera. I stumble upon your blog through suman's blog which is one of my favourite blogger. Now you are one of them. Following you from now onwards.
    http://www.duringmytimes.com/

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  5. wow...Madhu, awesome post. Lovely tone on all the pics and the clouds!

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  6. To say that this is a beautiful post would be a gross understatement. It makes me want to come back to Hyderabad again.

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    1. Aww thank you so much Shamanth :)

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  7. Stunning photos. I'm working here in Hyderabad for 2 months - this is an incredible place for photography....

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    1. Thank you :) yes, it's a brilliant place for photography - I hope you enjoy your stay here :)

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  8. awesome pics, very nice place to see in south India. There are some other tourist places near by Hyderabad like "Ananthagiri hills" which is near "Vikarabad city travel guide" of andhra pradesh. - Hop Around India

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  9. Hi! Am an amateur photography addict. Ur are way too fabulous. Am an Hyd'i and heres a dash more of appreciation :)

    Please do us a favor.. Tell us about your camera. And which lenses do you use and your tips.

    Looking forward to your reply.

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  10. An informative blog...thanks for sharing..

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  11. Please get your history correct.I must say that you have been influenced by readig the wrong authors.The ONLY great authority onthe Qutub Shahi Dynasty is late Professor Dr Haroon Khan Sherwani.You may also read Dr Ghulam Yazdani.These gentlemen are authorities and both have debunked the very EXISTenCE of Bhagmati.

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    1. Hello! Thanks for the references. I am familiar with some of their work. But please take a look at the books I've mentioned at the end of the post - Dr Nayeem has also debunked her existence in the very same book which I have listed :) I am aware that historians are divided on the existence of Bhagmati. But I'm confused, because I haven't even mentioned her name in this post :D

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