Qutb Shahi Dynasty
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Qutb Shahi Dynasty

Golconda Sultanate

Flag of Qutb Shahi
Flag of the Qutb Shahis
Extent of Golconda Sultanate.[1]
Extent of Golconda Sultanate.[1]
CapitalGolconda (1519-1591)
Hyderabad (1591-1687)
Common languagesPersian (official)[2]
Deccani Urdu
Shia Islam
Qutb Shah 
o 1512-1543
Sultan Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk
o 1543-1550
Jamsheed Quli Qutb Shah
o 1550-1550
Subhan Quli Qutb Shah
o 1550-1580
Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah
o 1580-1612
Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah
o 1612-1626
Sultan Muhammad Qutb Shah
o 1626-1672
Abdullah Qutb Shah
o 1672-1686
Abul Hasan Qutb Shah
o Established
o Disestablished
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Today part ofIndia

The Qutb Shahi dynasty ruled the Golconda Sultanate in south India from 1512 AD to 1687 AD. The Qutb Shahis were descendants of Qara Yusuf from Qara Qoyunlu, a Turkoman Muslim tribe. After the collapse of Bahmani Sultanate, the "Qutb Shahi" dynasty was established in 1512 AD by Quli Qutb Mulk who assumed the title of "Sultan". In 1636, Shah Jahan forced the Qutb Shahis to recognize Mughal suzerainty. The dynasty came to an end in 1687 during the reign of its seventh Sultan Abul Hasan Qutb Shah, when Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb seized Golconda fort and occupied the kingdom.[4][5][6] The kingdom extended from the parts of modern-day states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.[7] The Golconda sultanate was constantly in conflict with the Adil Shahis and Nizam Shahis.[6]

The Qutb Shahis were great patrons of Persianate Shia culture,[5] eventually it also adopted the regional culture of the Deccan (Telugu culture, language and the newly developed Deccani dialect of Urdu). Although Telugu was not their mother tongue, the Golconda rulers spoke and wrote Telugu,[8] and patronized Telugu so exclusively that they were termed the "Telugu Sultans".[9] The Qutb Shahis were known for their secular rule.[10]


Golkonda Painting - Finch, Poppies, Dragonfly, and Bee India (Deccan, Golconda), 1650-1670 Opaque watercolor and gold on paper Overall

The dynasty's founder, Sultan Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk was a descendants of Qara Yusuf (from Qara Qoyunlu, a Turkic Muslim tribe). He migrated to Delhi with his uncle, Allah-Quli, some of his relatives and friends in the beginning of the 16th century, from Hamadan Province--(now in Iran then it was ruled by his ancestral Turkic tribe).[11][12] Later he migrated south, to the Deccan and served the Bahmani sultan, Mahmood Shah Bahmani II.[13] He conquered Golconda, after the disintegration of the Bahmani Kingdom into the five Deccan sultanates.[13] Soon after, he declared independence from the Bahmani Sultanate, took the title Qutub Shah, and established the Qutb Shahi dynasty of Golconda. He was later assassinated in 1543 by his son, Jamsheed, who assumed the sultanate.[13] Jamsheed died in 1550 from cancer.[14] Jamsheed's young son reigned for a year, at which time the nobility brought back and installed Ibrahim Quli as sultan.[14] During the reign of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, relations between Hindus and Muslims were strengthened, even to the point of Hindus resuming their religious festivals like Diwali and Holi.[15] Some Hindus rose to prominence in the Qutb Shahi state, the most important example being the ministers Madanna and Akkanna.

Golconda, and with the construction of the Char Minar, later Hyderabad, served as capitals of the sultanate,[13] and both cities were embellished by the Qutb Shahi sultans. The dynasty ruled Golconda for 171 years, until the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb conquered the Deccan in 1687.[16]



During the early seventeenth century, a strong cotton-weaving industry existed in the Deccan region. Large quantities of cotton cloth were produced for domestic and exports consumption. High quality plain and patterned cloth made of muslin and calico was produced. Plain cloth was available as white or brown colour, in bleached or dyed variety. This cloth was exported to Persia and European countries. Patterned cloth was made of prints which were made indigenously with indigo for blue, chay-root for red coloured prints and vegetable yellow. Patterned cloth exports were mainly to Java, Sumatra and other eastern countries.[17]


The Golconda Sultanate was known for its diamonds which were dubbed the Golconda diamonds.

Diamonds from mines (especially the Kollur Mine presently in Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh) were transported to the city of Hyderabad to be cut, polished, evaluated and sold. Golconda established itself as a diamond trading centre and until the end of the 19th century, the Golconda market was the primary source of the finest and largest diamonds in the world.[18]

The Golconda region has produced some of the world's most famous diamonds, including the Koh-i-Noor (now owned by the United Kingdom), the Nassak Diamond, the blue Hope (United States), the pink Daria-i-Noor (Iran), the white Regent (France), the Dresden Green (Germany), Orlov (Russia), Nizam and Jacob (India), as well as the now lost diamonds Florentine Yellow, Akbar Shah and Great Mogul.

The work force involved in the diamond trading was up to 100,000 people. The medieval diamond trade drew travelers from around the world and the ruling patrons constructed facilities and provided security for traders to stay and do business, particularly those travelling from Europe and central Asia.[19][20][21]


clothing styles of the Golkonda Sultans
Music in Golkonda, 1660-1670. Musician plays a form of rubab. Related instruments include the medieval Iranian rubab, the rubab of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Northern India, the Indian sarod, sursingar and kamaica, the Nepali-Tibetan-Bhutanese tungana, the Pamiri rubab and the Uyghur rawap. The family of instruments blended Persian and Indian cultures, and has been played by Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims.

The Qutb Shahi rulers were great builders, whose structures included the Char Minar,[8] as well as patrons of learning. Quli Qutb Mulk's court became a haven for Persian culture and literature.[6] Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah (1580-1612) wrote poems in Dakhini Urdu, Persian and Telugu and left a huge poetry collection.[8] Subsequent poets and writers, however wrote in Urdu, while using vocabulary from Persian, Hindi and Telugu languages.[8] By 1535, the Qutb Shahis were using Telugu for their revenue and judicial areas within the sultanate.[22]

Initially, the Qutb Shahi rulers patronized Turkic culture, but eventually adopted the regional culture of the Deccan, symbolized by the Telugu language and the newly developed Deccani idiom and Urdu became prominent.[23] Although Telugu was not their mother tongue, the Golconda rulers spoke and wrote Telugu,[8] and patronized Telugu so exclusively they were termed the "Telugu Sultans".[9] In 1543, fearing for his life, Prince Ibrahim Quli fled to the Vijayanagar court, which lavishly patronized the Telugu language. Upon his enthronement as sultan in 1550, Ibrahim Quli was thoroughly acquainted with Telugu aesthetics.[9]

The Qutb Shahi rulers were much more liberal than their other Muslim counterparts. During the reign of Abdullah Qutb Shah in 1634 CE, the ancient Indian sex manual Koka Shastra was translated into Persian named Lazzat-un-Nisa (Flavors of the Woman).[24]


The Qutb Shahi architecture was Indo-Islamic, a culmination of Indian and Persian architectural styles.[25] Their style was very similar to that of the other Deccan Sultanates.

Some examples of Qutb Shahi Indo-Islamic architecture are the Golconda Fort, tombs of the Qutb Shahis, Char Minar and the Char Kaman, Mecca Masjid, Khairtabad Mosque, Hayat Bakshi Mosque, Taramati Baradari and the Toli Mosque.[25][26]


The Qutb Shahi Kingdom was like the other Deccan kingdoms, a highly centralized state. The sultan enjoyed absolute executive judicial and military powers. When expediency demanded, the post of regent was created to carry on the administration on behalf of the king.

The Peshwa (Prime Minister) was the highest official of the sultanate. He was assisted by a number of ministers, including Mir Jumla (finance minister), Kotwal (police commissioner), and Khazanadar (treasurer).

In the Qutb Shahi kingdom, all the Muslims were paid allowances from the treasury. The Persian origin Muslims had the highest respect and were paid the highest, then the other Indian Muslims. The Persian origin Muslims  became rich by lending money on high interest (usury) of 4-5% per mensem much to the despair of Hindus.[17]

The Sultanate had 66 forts, and each fort was administered by Nayak.[27] The Qutb Shahis hired many Hindu Nayaks belonging mainly to the Kamma, Velama, Kapu, and Raju communities.[28] These groups mainly were the regional aristocracy,[29] served as revenue officers[30] and military commanders,[28] but many of them fell into obscurity following the fall of the Qutb Shahis in 1687.

Tax collection was through auction farms, the highest bidder used to get the Governorship. While the Governors enjoyed luxurious life style, they had to bear the brunt of severe punishments for default, consequently they were harsh on the people. People were in distress as the complaints of the poor never reached the sultans.[17]


The Qutb Shahi dynasty has been considered a "composite" of Hindu-Muslim religio-social culture.[31] For instance, the Qutb Shahis began the sacred tradition of sending pearls to the Bhadrachalam Temple of Rama on Rama Navami.[32][additional citation(s) needed]


The eight sultans in the dynasty were:

Personal Name Titular Name Reign Notes
From Until
Quli Qutb Shah
Sultan Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk 1512 1543
Jamsheed Quli Qutb Shah 1543 1550
Subhan Quli Qutb Shah 1550 1550
Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah Wali 1550 1580
Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah 1580 1612
Sultan Muhammad
Sultan Muhammad Qutb Shah 1612 1626
Abdullah Qutb Shah 1626 1672
Abul Hasan
Tana Shah 1672 1686


The tombs of the Qutb Shahi sultans lie about one kilometer north of Golkonda's outer wall. These structures are made of beautifully carved stonework, and surrounded by landscaped gardens. They are open to the public and receive many visitors.[26]

Family tree

Qara Yusuf
Ruler of the Qara Qoyunlu
Qara Iskander
Ruler of the Qara Qoyunlu
First Reign
Second Reign
Jahan Shah
Ruler of the Qara Qoyunlu
Alvand MirzaMirza Yusuf
Ruler of the Qara Qoyunlu
Pir Quli BegKhadija Khatun
Uways Quli Beg
Quli Qutb Mulk
Sultan of Golkonda
Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah Wali
Sultan of Golkonda
Jamsheed Quli Qutb Shah
Sultan of Golkonda
Mirza Muhammad Amin5.
Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah
Sultan of Golkonda
Subhan Quli Qutb Shah
Sultan of Golkonda
Muhammad Qutb Shah
Sultan of Golkonda
Hayat Bakshi Begum
Abdullah Qutb Shah
Sultan of Golkonda
Abul Hasan Qutb Shah
Sultan of Golkonda
Badshah Bibi

See also


  1. ^ For a map of their territory see: Schwartzberg, Joseph E. (1978). A Historical atlas of South Asia. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 147, map XIV.4 (l). ISBN 0226742210.
  2. ^ Brian Spooner and William L. Hanaway, Literacy in the Persianate World: Writing and the Social Order, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012), 317.
  3. ^ Alam, Muzaffar (1998). "The pursuit of Persian: Language in Mughal Politics". Modern Asian Studies. 32 (2): 317-349. doi:10.1017/s0026749x98002947. Ibrahim Qutb Shah encouraged the growth of Telugu and his successor Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah patronized and himself wrote poetry in Telugu and in Dakhni. Abdullah Qutb Shah instituted a special office to prepare the royal edicts in Telugu (dabiri-ye faramin-i Hindavi). While administrative and revenue papers at local levels in the Qutb Shahi Sultanate were prepared largely in Telugu, the royal edicts were often bilingual.'06 The last Qutb Shahi Sultan, Abul Hasan Tana Shah, sometimes issued his orders only in Telugu, with a Persian summary given on the back of the farmans.
  4. ^ Keelan Overton (2020). Iran and the Deccan: Persianate Art, Culture, and Talent in Circulation, 1400-1700. Indiana University Press. p. 82. ISBN 9780253048943. Retrieved 2020.
  5. ^ a b Farooqui Salma Ahmed (2011). A Comprehensive History of Medieval India: From Twelfth to the Mid-Eighteenth Century. Pearson Education India. pp. 177-179. ISBN 9788131732021.
  6. ^ a b c C.E. Bosworth, The New Islamic Dynasties, (Columbia University Press, 1996), 328.
  7. ^ a b Sen, Sailendra (2013). A Textbook of Medieval Indian History. Primus Books. p. 118. ISBN 978-9-38060-734-4.
  8. ^ a b c d e Satish Chandra, Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals, Part II, (Har-Anand, 2009), 210.
  9. ^ a b c Richard M. Eaton, A Social History of the Deccan, 1300-1761: Eight Indian Lives, Vol. 1, (Cambridge University Press, 2005), 142-143.
  10. ^ Nigam, Mohan Lal; Bhatnagar, Anupama (1997). Romance of Hyderabad Culture. Deva Publications. p. 50.
  11. ^ Minorsky, V. (1955). "The Qara-qoyunlu and the Qutb-sh?hs (Turkmenica, 10)". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Cambridge University Press. 17 (1): 50-73. doi:10.1017/S0041977X00106342. JSTOR 609229. Retrieved 2020.
  12. ^ Khan, Masud Husain (1996). Mohammad Quli Qutb Shah. Sahitya Akademi. p. 2. ISBN 9788126002337. Retrieved 2020.
  13. ^ a b c d George Michell, Mark Zebrowski, Architecture and Art of the Deccan Sultanates, (Cambridge University Press, 1999), 17.
  14. ^ a b Masd ?usain K?hn?, Mohammad Quli Qutb Shah, Volume 216, (Sahitya Akademi, 1996), 2.
  15. ^ Annemarie Schimmel, Classical Urdu Literature from the Beginning to Iqb?l, (Otto Harrassowitz, 1975), 143.
  16. ^ Satish Chandra, Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals, Part II, (Har-Anand, 2009), 331.
  17. ^ a b c Moreland, W.H. (1931). Relation of Golconda in the Early Seventeenth Century. Halyukt Society. pp. 78, 89.
  18. ^ "Delving into the rich and often bloody history of Golconda Fort". The Hindu. 5 November 2016. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2021.
  19. ^ Gupta, Harsh K (2000). Deccan Heritage. Indian National Science Academy and University Press. p. 141. ISBN 9788173712852. Retrieved 2017.
  20. ^ Erlich, Edward; Hausel, W. Dan (2002). Diamond Deposits. SME. pp. 3-4. ISBN 9780873352130. Retrieved 2017.
  21. ^ "On Golconda Rock". Outlook India. 12 November 2007. Retrieved 2017.
  22. ^ A Social and Historical Introduction to the Deccan, 1323-1687, Richard M. Eaton, Sultans of the South: Arts of India's Deccan Courts, 1323-1687, ed. Navina Najat Haidar, Marika Sardar, (Metropolitan Museum of Art 2011), 8.
  23. ^ "Opinion A Hyderabadi conundrum". 15 November 2018.
  24. ^ Akbar, Syed (5 January 2019). "Lazzat-Un-Nisa: Hyderabad's own Kamasutra back in focus - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2019.
  25. ^ a b Salma Ahmed Farooqui, A Comprehensive History of Medieval India: From Twelfth to the Mid-Eighteenth Century, (Dorling Kindersley Pvt. Ltd, 2011), 181.
  26. ^ a b Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "The Qutb Shahi Monuments of Hyderabad Golconda Fort, Qutb Shahi Tombs, Charminar - UNESCO World Heritage Centre". whc.unesco.org. Archived from the original on 1 February 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  27. ^ Narendra Luther (1991). Prince;Poet;Lover;Builder: Mohd. Quli Qutb Shah - The founder of Hyderabad. Publications Division Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. ISBN 9788123023151. Retrieved 2020.
  28. ^ a b Chapter III: Economics, Political, Economic, and Social Background of Deccan 17th-18th Century, p.57 https://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/25652/10/10_chapter%203.pdfhttps://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/25652/10/10_chapter%203.pdf
  29. ^ Reddy, Pedarapu Chenna (1 January 2006). Readings In Society And Religion Of Medieval South India. Research India Press. p. 163. ISBN 9788189131043.
  30. ^ Proceedings of Seminar on Industries and Crafts in Andhra Desa, 17th and 18th Centuries, A.D. Department of History, Osmania University. 1996. p. 57.
  31. ^ Islam in South Asia: Practicing tradition today, Karen G. Ruffle, South Asian Religions: Tradition and Today, ed. Karen Pechilis, Selva J. Raj, (Routledge, 2013), 210.
  32. ^ Sarma, Mukkamala Radhakrishna; Committee, Osmania University Dept of Ancient Indian History, Culture & Archaeology Felicitation; History, Osmania University Dept of (2004). Glimpses of our past--historical researches: festschrift in honour of Prof. Mukkamala Radhakrishna Sarma, former emeritus fellow. Felicitation Committee, Dept. of Ancient Indian History, Culture, and Archaeology & Dept. of History, Osmania University. p. 326.

Further reading

  • Chopra, R. M., The Rise, Growth And Decline of Indo-Persian Literature, 2012, Iran Culture House, New Delhi.
  • Jawed Vashisht, Ghizal-e Raana (A selection of Quli Qutab Shah's ghazals)
  • Jawed Vashisht, Roop Ras (Romantic poems of Quli Qutab Shah)
  • Jawed Vashisht, Mohammed Quli aur Nabi ka Sadka
  • Jawed Vashisht, Dakhni Darpan

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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