Qutb Shahi dynasty

Golconda Sultanate
سلطنت قطب شاهی
కుతుబ్ షాహి రాజవంశము

Flag of the Qutb Shahis

Extent of Golconda Sultanate
Capital Golconda / Hyderabad
Languages Persian (official)[1]
Religion Islam
Government Monarchy
   Established 1512
   Disestablished 1687
Currency Mohur
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Bahmani Sultanate
Mughal Empire
Today part of  India

The Qutb Shahi dynasty (or Golconda Sultanate) was a Muslim Turkmens[3] dynasty that initially patronized Persianate[4] culture. Its members were collectively called the Qutub Shahis and were the ruling family of the kingdom of Golkonda in modern-day India.[5] The Golconda sultanate was constantly in conflict with the Adil Shahis and Nizam Shahis.[6] In 1636, Shah Jahan forced the Qutb Shahis to recognize Mughal suzerainty,[6] which lasted until 1687 when the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb conquered the Golcondan sultanate.


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, migrated to Delhi with his uncle, Allah-Quli, some of his relatives and friends in the beginning of the 16th century. Later he migrated south, to the Deccan and served the Bahmani sultan, Mohammad Shah.[7] He conquered Golconda, after the disintegration of the Bahmani Kingdom into the five Deccan sultanates.[7] 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.[7] He later died in 1550 from cancer.[8] Jamsheed's young son reigned for a year, at which time the nobility brought back and installed Ibrahim Quli as sultan.[8] 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.[9] 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,[7] 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.[10]


The Qutub Shahi rulers were great builders, whose structures included the Char Minar,[11] 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.[11] Subsequent poets and writers, however wrote in Urdu, while using vocabulary from Persian, Hindi and Telugu languages.[11] By 1535, the Qutub Shahis were using Telugu for their revenue and judicial areas within the sultanate.[12]

Initially, the Qutub Shahi rulers patronized Persianate culture, but eventually adopted the regional culture of the Deccan, symbolized by the Telugu language and the newly developed Deccani idiom of Urdu became prominent. Although Telugu was not their mother tongue, the Golconda rulers spoke and wrote Telugu,[11] and patronized Telugu so exclusively they were termed the "Telugu Sultans".[13] In 1543, fearing for his life, Prince Ibrahim Quli fled to the Vijayanagaran court, which lavishly patronized the Telugu language. Upon his enthronement as sultan in 1550, Ibrahim Quli was thoroughly acquainted with Telugu aesthetics.[13]

The Qutb Shahi architecture was Indo-Persian, a culmination of Hindu, Moorish, Mughal and Persian architectural styles.[14] Some examples of Golcondan Indo-Persian architecture are the Golconda Fort, tombs of the Qutb Shahis, Char Minar and the Char Kaman, Mecca Masjid and the Toli mosque.[14]


The Qutb Shahi dynasty has been considered a "composite" of Hindu-Muslim religio-social culture.[15]


The eight sultans in the dynasty were:

  1. Sultan Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk (1512–1543)[5]
  2. Jamsheed Quli Qutb Shah (1543–1550)
  3. Subhan Quli Qutb Shah (1550)
  4. Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah (1550–1580)
  5. Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah (1580–1612)
  6. Sultan Muhammad Qutb Shah (1612–1626)
  7. Abdullah Qutb Shah (1626–1672)
  8. Abul Hasan Qutb Shah (1672–1689)


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.

See also


  1. Brian Spooner and William L. Hanaway, Literacy in the Persianate World: Writing and the Social Order, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012), 317.
  2. Alam, Muzaffar (1998). "The pursuit of Persian: Language in Mughal Politics". Modern Asian Studies. Cambridge University Press. 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.
  3. Annemarie Schimmel, Classical Urdu Literature from the Beginning to Iqbāl, (Otto Harrasowitz, 1975), 143.
  4. Christoph Marcinkowski, Shi'ite Identities: Community and Culture in Changing Social Contexts, 169-170;"The Qutb-Shahi kingdom could be considered 'highly Persianate' with a large number of Persian-speaking merchants, scholars, and artisans present at the royal capital."
  5. 1 2 Sen, Sailendra (2013). A Textbook of Medieval Indian History. Primus Books. p. 118. ISBN 978-9-38060-734-4.
  6. 1 2 3 C.E. Bosworth, The New Islamic Dynasties, (Columbia University Press, 1996), 328.
  7. 1 2 3 4 George Michell, Mark Zebrowski, Architecture and Art of the Deccan Sultanates, (Cambridge University Press, 1999), 17.
  8. 1 2 Masʻūd Ḥusain K̲h̲ān̲, Mohammad Quli Qutb Shah, Volume 216, (Sahitya Akademi, 1996), 2.
  9. Annemarie Schimmel, Classical Urdu Literature from the Beginning to Iqbāl, (Otto Harrassowitz, 1975), 143.
  10. Satish Chandra, Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals, Part II, (Har-Anand, 2009), 331.
  11. 1 2 3 4 Satish Chandra, Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals, Part II, (Har-Anand, 2009), 210.
  12. 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.
  13. 1 2 Richard M. Eaton, A Social History of the Deccan, 1300-1761: Eight Indian Lives, Vol. 1, (Cambridge University Press, 2005), 142-143.
  14. 1 2 Salma Ahmed Farooqui, A Comprehensive History of Medieval India: From Twelfth to the Mid-Eighteenth Century, (Dorling Kindersley Pvt. Ltd, 2011), 181.
  15. 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.


Chopra, R. M., The Rise, Growth And Decline of Indo-Persian Literature, 2012, Iran Culture House, New Delhi.

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