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.
|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