Qutub Shahi Tombs A Tribute to the Shahi Sultanate, Hyderabad

The Qutub Shahi dynasty ruled over Hyderabad for seven generations spanning around 170 years from 1518 to 1687. The Qutub Shahis were reputed as great builders and patrons of learning. The grand Qutub Shahi tombs are proof to this claim. During their reign many monuments, palaces and forts were built.

The Qutub Shahi tombs are the final resting places of all the Shahi sultans except for the seventh. These tombs lie toward the west of Hyderabad very near to the Golconda Fort in an area called Ibrahim Bagh (garden). The tombs are colossal but magnificent. They fill the viewer with awe. The tombs display a culmination of Hindu, Persian, Moghul and Moorish architectural styles.

Tomb of Queen Hayat Bakshi Begum

Queen Hayat Bakshi Begum was a ruler in her own way and stands out as a significant figure among the sultans. Hayat Begum had an interesting history spanning across three generations over 76 years. She was the daughter of the fourth sultan Quli Qutb Shah, the wife of the fifth sultan Mohammed Qutb Shah and the mother of the sixth sultan Abdullah Qutb Shah. During her lifetime she saw the rise and fall of her dynasty. She was witness to its greatness during her father's regime and likewise saw its decline during her son's rule. She was the political guide and leader up to the last days of her life. She was fondly called as 'Ma Saheba'.
Clockwise from top left: The sarcophagus (gravestone) of Hayat Begum; The queen's mosque; A tall minar of the mosque and The seven arches of the tomb of Hayat Begum.

Tomb of Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah

Quli Qutb Shah's tomb is the grandest of all the tombs. Built on a raised platform it appears taller than the rest. This shah is the most renowned and popular among all the seven sultans for he was the first to think beyond Golconda and lay foundation to a new city called Hyderabad. To his name is also credited the most imposing Muslim monument in South India - the Charminar. However, he is more popular as a poet and romantic at heart. Even today the locals talk of his affair with a beautiful Hindu dancer called Bagmati, whom he loved and married against all odds. The sultan named his new city as Bhagyanagar as a gift to his beloved wife. However, it was later changed to Hyderabad.

Tomb of Sultan Qutb Shah

Quli Qutb Shah didn't have any sons except for a daughter named Hayat Bakshi Begum. Thus, his son-in-law Sultan Qutb Shah became his successor. He laid the foundation of the Mecca Masjid which took almost 80 years to complete. The construction started during the sultan's regime but the mosque was finally completed when Hyderabad was under the rule of Aurangzeb. Like his father-in-law, this sultan too was a poet and his rule was peaceful. It was during his leadership the collation of history of all the Qutub Shahi sultans was completed.

Tomb of Sultan Abdullah Qutb Shah

Sultan Abdullah's tomb is outside the perimeter of the shahi tombs complex. This tomb had a large vacant area surrounding it and like all tombs this too has seven arches. This is the last of the royal tombs built during the shahi regime. It is this sultan's management that invited, for the first time, the wrath of the Moghuls of Delhi which eventually, a few years later, lead to the complete fall of the dynasty.
Clockwise from top left: The shahi mortuary bath was constructed by Quli Qutb Shah where the dead bodies of the royal family were washed before taking them to their final resting place; The inner dome structure of the mortuary; Abdullah Shah's tomb; Ornamentation on Sultan Quli Qutb Shah's tomb; and Tomb of Sultan Qutb Shah.

Twin Tombs of Hakims (physicians) and Army Commander-in-Chief

The Qutub Shahi Sultans had great regards to a few people outside of the royal family. Among them were their Hakims (physicians) Nizamuddin Ahmed Gilani and Abdul Jabbar Gilani. The tomb at the back is that of the shahi army's commander-in-chief Neknam Khan.
From left to right: The tomb of Fatima Begum; The decorated entrance arch to the tomb.

Tombs of Premamati and Taramati

These two tombs are that of Premamati and Taramati, Abdullah Shah's favorite courtesans. In fact it is said that the sultan married Premamati as she was very beautiful and an excellent dancer. Taramati too was a beauty and an excellent dancer like her sister.

Tomb of Abul Hasan (Tana Shah)

Abul Hasan Tana Shah was the seventh and last sultan of the Shahi dynasty. Though his ancestors paid tributes to the Moghul empire, Tana Shah refused to do so and invited the anger of the moghul, Aurangzeb. He was the first sultan to appoint Hindu clergies as his ministers which upset his other Muslim ministers. Also it is said he spent most time drinking and in luxury turning a deaf ear to people's problems. All of this lead Aurangzeb to attack Golconda and capture it in 1687. The Shahi dynasty thus came to an end. Tana Shah was captured and taken to the fort of Daulatabad where he died and was buried as a prisoner. He had started constructing his tomb while still being alive but couldn't complete it.

last words

The Qutub Shahi tombs are spread over a large area and there's so much to see and walk ;) People passionate about Indian history and photography would be delighted to be here (but others can enjoy too). The environment is calm & serene with good number of trees and green grass everywhere. One could even spot peacocks with feathers opened if lucky. I wasn't :) If you're in Hyderabad, the Qutub Shahi tombs is a must-see site!

Created By
shravan khare
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A Tribute to the Qutub Shahi Dynasty

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