The Deccan and the Dawn of the Qutb Shahi Kingdom

1. The Deccan – A Nucleus of Cultural Synthesis
The Qutb Shahs of Golconda-Hyderabad traced the genesis of their imperial legacy to the Bahmani Kingdom which flourished in the Deccan from 1347 to 1525, with its capital first at Gulbarga and at Bidar.
            During the twilight period of the Bahamani realm, with gradual disintegration from the last quarter of the fifteenth century, there evolved five independent kingdoms in the Deccan. Qutb Shahi kingdom (1512-1687) was one of them with its capital at Golconda at first and later Hyderabad. The other kingdoms were: Imad Shahi of Herar (1484-1568) with its capital at Ellichpur; the Adil Shahi (1489-1686) with its capital at Bijapur; the Nizam Shahi (1490-1633) with its capital at Ahmednagar and the Barid Shahi (1492-1609) with its capital at Bidar.
            During the Bahmani period there was a great influx of foreign immigrants to the Deccan from Turkistan, Iran, Arabia, Africa, Iraq, etc., who were generously welcomed by the Bahmani rulers and were patronized for their learning and cultural activities. And with them foreign culture percolated in the Deccan. The immigration may be attributed partially to the political upheavals in their countries and partly to seek career and future.
            Sultan-Quli, the founder of the Qutb Shahi Kingdom of Golconda was one such immigrant from Turkistan. He, accompanied with his uncle Allah Quli, arrived at the Bahmani capital Muhammadabad Bidar towards the end of the 15th century.
            The foreign immigrants gradually dominated the society and captured the entire government machinery. Almost all the posts in the civil and the military departments were taken over by the foreigners. While the other group, the Deccanis were unable to compete with the foreigners: thus resulting in factionalism.
            The society in the Deccan was a strange combination of people of different ethnic origin, race, religion, culture etc. The culture and civilization of Golconda-Hyderabad has been one of synthesis. Muslims and Hindus constituted the population. The former were in minority: but adopted secular policies in political and social life. Since both the Muslims and Hindus were compassionate with and understanding, they lived harmoniously. The Hindus enjoyed the confidence of the Muslim rulers and some of them occupied high posts, both in administration as well as in military. The culture and civilization of the one influenced that of the other in various facets, Humanism of the two cultures blended resulting in harmony among all its citizens.
            But the culture synthesis and the feeling of love and friendship which developed during the Qutb Shahi period, and which continued during the Asaf Jahi period was not the work of the rulers alone. The rulers no doubt extended patronage in various ways, and deserve appreciation, however, equal credit may be given to those who were also instrumental in creating such and atmosphere. One group suggests Suleiman Siddique among them comprised of the Sufi saints and their Khankahs, where love, friendship, tolerance and humanity were taught and practiced. And during the Qutb Shahi period twenty seven Sufi saints have lived with their Khankahs in Hyderabad and in its vicinity. They must have played an important role in the creation of a secular atmosphere. The institution of Ashur Khanas was also one of the centres of cultural amity, suggests another scholar, Sadiq Naqvi. According to the contemporary sources “the whole population whether Muslim or non-Muslim used to pay homage in Ashur Khanas and while doing so the difference of culture, religion and cast were forgotten”
            The Qutb Shahi Sultans participated in the festivals of non-muslims and encouraged his nobility to do so. There are as many as nine poems on Basant in the collection of Qutb Shahi poems. So, it was not one side affair. Thus the Qutb Shahs and later the Nizams of Hyderabad created an atmosphere in which people attached importance to the human values. Their culture comprehended various facets of life from which emerged a harmonious fusion of diverse elements into a secular State, “the gulf between the conqueror and the conquered generally maintained by the Muslims in the north did not exist at all in the south” states Iftikhar Ahmad Ghauri. While another scholar S.K Sinha states: “The whole Deccan where social and religious synthesis was so perfect that it became a firm foundation for the Indian Nationalism to grow and build itself into a prodigious force against the British imperialism”. Another scholar Karen Leonard, commenting on cultural systhesis in Hyderabad says: “Certainly Hyderabad’s heterogeneous society included both Muslims and Hindus, and men of diverse ethnic, racial, religious and social back grounds achieved success within the Nizam’s State".
            Thus, Golconda Kingdom first and later Hyderabad State under the Nizams, exemplified a cultural synthesis.
            This illustrated history reveals that Golconda and Hyderabad were the centres of synthesis of different Indian and foreign cultures and from which evolved a “secular character” of the Quth Shahi kingdom, people and Government. The composite civilization that evolved came to be known first as the “Deccani culture” and later perfected by Asaf Jahi rulers, their nobility and the people as the “Hyderabadi culture”.
2. The Antecedents of Sultan-Quli and Rise to Power (1487-1518)
            The founder of the Qutb Shahi rule in the Deccan was Sultan-Quli, son of Owais Quli, who belonged to the Turkoman tribe of Qara Quyunlu of Hamadan in Iran with the family emblem of Black Sheep. Apparently the name Sultan-Quli may suggest royal dignity. However, it is not the case. The epithet ‘Sultan’ is only a part of his name. Sultan-Quli and Allah Quli visited Deccan twice. During their first visit, Sultan Mahmud Shah bahmani received them in the audience and were awarded liberal annuity for their subsistence. Mahmud Shah was much pleased with Sultan-Quli and enlisted him in the body of favourite courtier. The auther of Tarikh-i-Qutb Shahi refers to a hunting incident in which Sultan-Quli was very successful and gained royal confidence and appreciation. Consequently, the Sultan granted him 150 Arab Turkish, and Iraqi horses in harness, and also assigned to him the Jagir of Kurangal for his expenses, and invested him with the tittle of ‘Khawas Khan’. Ferishta attributes Sultan-Quli’s prominence mainly to his literary and military talents; in another case he proved his military competence by successfully restoring peace and order in the trubulent districts by conciliation and intimidation. Thus he was addressed in a farman with a pen-name of the “Master of the Sword and Pen”.
            Sultan-Quli’s successes and strategy during 1474-1496 in other military campaigns earned him the tittle of “Qutb-ul-Mulk”, and later that of ‘Amir-ul-Umara’. Then he was appointed Tarafdar (governor) of Telangana, and the fort of Golconda was added to his jagir in 1496.
3. The Dawn of the Qutub Shahi Kingdom – 1518
            From Sultan-Quli’s jagir of Golconda, originally called Mangal, evolved the kingdom of Golconda. When he was made the tarafdar of Telengana in 1495 by the Bahmani Sultan, his headquarters were some where away from Golconda hill. Qwing to its strategic geographical situation, Sultan-Quli, rebuilt the mud-fort and re-named it as ‘Muhammad Nagar’. In 1518 Sultan-Quli assumed undeclared independent rule and made Golconda capital of the kingdom, after the death of Sultan Mahmud Bahmani. The defence of the hill was sufficiently strengthened to serve as a military post. The citizens living in it are protected by the strong rampat on the out-skrits. The fort-city established with public buildings, palaces, rest houses, public baths, mosques, gardens, etc. The plan of Golconda fort as it exists today, is mainly Sultan-Quli’s design, It attracted hundreds of people to settle down. According to the Qutb Shahi histories, Tarrikh-i-Qutb Shahi and Tarikh-i-Qutbia: “the new city became enviable and also gave an impetus for further progress within a very short time”. The Jami-Masjid, adjoining the Bala Hisar entrance of the fort, was built by him. The mosque is plain massive building, with-out any prominent domes or minarets, and has a Persian inscription at its title Qutbul-Mulk. The inscription records that the mosque was constructed during the reign of Mahmud Shah, son of Muhammed Shah Bahmani. Thus, suggesting that he owed allegiance to the Bahamani King and did not declare independence.
            Sultan-Quli ruled for about 50 years over Telangana, firstly, as governor for 24 years and as a ruler for 26 years. At the time of his assassination in1542, the Golconda kingdom extended from Warangal to the coast of Machlipatnam.
4. Sultan-Quli’s Successors
            Sultan-Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk was succeeded by his son Jamshid Quli who ruled for seven years until 1550. He was succeeded by Subhan who ruled only a few months.
            The kingdom entered a new era in the reign of Ibrahim Qutb Shah. He was the sixth youngest son of Sultan-Quli. He ruled for thirty years 1550-1580, and during his period the kingdom reached its height in all directions.The famous battle of “Bannihatti” between the confederate States of Golconda, Bijapur and Ahmednagar against Vijaynagara took place during his reign in 1565. The kingdom expanded territorially. Administrative and military reforms were made. According to Tarikh-i-Qutb Shahi, Ibrahim Qutb Shah was the first ruler of the dynasty to adopt royal title and issue coins in his name. He patronized Telugu literature, the liking for which he acquired to other religions and did not differentiate between castes and creed. He patronized Persian as well, and was responsible for its literary fluorescence and the slow but sure rise of the Deccani idiom which later flowered into Urdu.
        Ibrahim undertook construction of many public works. He strengthened the fortifition of the capital. To accommodate the increasing population of Golconda and the need to expand the capital beyond the fort led Ibrahim to the construction of the magnificent bridge on the river Musi in 1578. It was originally called by its Telugu name Narva (cause-way). However it is popularly known as Purana pul (old Bridge). This facilitated later on, the foundation of Hyderabad. Another land mark of modern Hyderabad, the Hussain Sagar, was built by Ibrahim’s son-in-law, Hussain Shah Wali. He also built several mosques.
            Ferishta recounts that Ibrahim rebuilt the fortifications around Golconda with stone and mortar, established the lungar (arms-house) and constructed a black platform (Kala Chabutra), besides numerous tanks, mosques and colleges. The officials and the nobility took advantage of the security provided by the ramparts thus extended, and built their dwelling places with in the fort. The fortress-city became resplendent with gardens, baths, wide streets and shops belonging to various traders.
            No doubt it is Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah who had left his name to posterity by founding the city of Hyderabad, but it was his father Ibrahim who showed the way first by trying to expand the city of Golconda westward where Ibrahim Bagh is now situated, and then construction a bridge, now called Purana Pul (old bridge) on the river Musi in 1578. It is built over the corbelled arches and thus suggest the advance engineering skill of the Qutb Shahi period. The Purana pul is the first landmark which facilitated creation of Hyderabad City and expansion in the southward direction, The bridge has a legend on in implying, “as sage from flood as pearl in its Oyster” Ibrahim also ordered the construction of a beautiful artificial lake called the Hussain Sagar and another artificial lake sixteen mile from the capital at a new town called Ibrabhimpatnam. These lakes still exist and serve the irrigational needs of the people.
            After reigning quite ably for over thirty-one lunar years, Ibrahim died on 5th June, 1590.

The Physical Environment - Hyderabad

 Location and Physical Setting of Hyderabad City
 Hyderabad City is located at approximately 78° 15´ E & 17° 15’ N. in the Deccan Plateau. In the peninsular India, landscaped with rock formations, which are boulders of immense size. The Deccan Plateau has a countryside verging on the idyllic.
 The river Musi divides Hyderabad city into two parts, the south and north banks. The portion of the city on the southern bank of the river is an elongated trapezium-shaped plain which is bounded by Mir Alam tank, Koh-i-tur(Falakhnuma hill), sarurnagar tank in the south-west, south and east at distances of 6,3 and 4 miles, respectively, from Charminar. This plain has an elevation of 1,600 to 1,650 feet with a uniform northerly slope which has been utilized in the laying of the city’s water and drainage pipes. The southern bank is 30 feet above the riverbed which, at the Afzalgunj Bridge, lies 1,572 fee above sea level. Hills or tanks are conspicuously absent from the inhabited tracts, but they occupy a firm and strong foundation for the construction of lofty structures like the Charminar.
                The north bank covers the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderbad. Its average surface elevation is between 1,650 and 1,700 feet, but there are many hills and isolated rock protuberances which rise between 50 and 300 feet above this surface. The general tilt of the land is south-east and west to east. Among its prominent landmarks are the hills of Golconda in the extreme west and Banjara and Jubilee Hills. The northern bank also stands like the southern one, about 30 feet above the riverbed.
                The river Musi, a tributary of the river Krishna’s 52 miles long between its sourve in the Anantgiri hills on the west to the eastern boundary of Hyderabad city. It has a fall of 10 feet per mile within the city.
                Since the foundation of Hyderabad more than four hundred years ago, the topography of the city and its immediate environs has been altered beyond recognition by the super-imposition of the urban profile. In the course of the twin cities’ development, hillocks have been leveled down, depression filled in and built over, stream covers dammed for the city’s water supply and their banks raised to protect the city folks from devastation floods. In such a setting, amidst the hilly plateau of Archaean crystalline rocks, the twin cities, are located centrally in the Deccan.

Geo-Political evolution of Hyderabad State
                The city of Hyderabad founded in the last decade of the 16th century (1591) was successively the capital of the Qutb Shahi Sultans of Golconda, of  a Mughal suba after Aurangzeb’s conquest, of the Deccan, and of the Nizams of the state of Hyderabad, until 1948. It took the form of a full-fledged, automonous State in the 18th century with its capital first at Aurangabad and from 1763 at Hyderabad.
                The Territorial extent of the Qutb Shahi Kingdom at its height during the reign of Abdullah Qutb Shah in 1670 etended as far as Madras to about six miles south of St.Thomas Mount, including the coastal districts of Nizampatam, Masulipatam, Srikakulam, etc., in the east, up to the environs of Bidar and including Goti in the west and areas on the other side of the river Godavari.
                Following the Mughal conquest of the Golconda kingdom in 1687, territorial adjustments and changes were effected and the kingdom was incorporated as one of the six Mughal provinces of the Deccan as subah Farkhundabunyad (Hyderabad). This Suba, or provinces , during the first quarter of the 18th century had 42 sarkars and 405 mahals. These sarkars or districts, were: Muhammadnagar (alias Golconda), Kolas, Khammamet, Koikonda, Ganpur, Deverkonda, Nalgonda, Pangal, Bhongir, Medek, Malangur, Mustafanagar, Murtazanagar, Ellore, Rajahmundry, Ellgandal, Warangal, Machlipatnam, Chingalpet (Madras), Chandergiri, Narsapur, Dandwari, Nusrathgarh, Tiryapal, Palamkotah, Daradur, Walgondapur, Vellore, Jagdev, Tanjavur and Trichinopally.
                Nizam ul Mulk Asaf Jah I was thrice provincial governor of the Mughal Deccan of the six provinces-Khusjistabunyad (Aurangabad), Muhammadabad (Bidar), Khandesh, Berar, Darul-Zafar (Bijapur) and Farkhundabunyad (Hyderabad), first from 1713-15, next from  1720-22 and again from 1724 till his death in 1748. The territorial etent of the Mughal Decccan at Nizam ul Mulk’s death was as far as the fort of Trichinoaly and included the six Mughalprvinces detailed above.
                The Vastness of the provinces led to a war of succession between various claimants for the governorship of the Muhal Deccan. The French and the British availed themselves of the golden opportunity to support the cause of one over the other to establish their own hold, and , in doing so the French and British, though favourable treaties, tried to acquire “free gits” of coastal districts in lieu of their help. Meanwhile, the Marathas tried to annex the Mughal territory on the westand in the north, This resulted in the shrinkage of the Mughal provinces and the Mughal governors of the Deccan lost much of the territory. Consequently, by 1759, ten years after Nizam ul Mulk’s death, the Mughal Deccan had been reduced to about half of the area, There were two modes by which the Nizams lost their territories. First by cession to the British, and secondly by hostilities with the Marathas. In the latter case, the territory los in one war was regained to a certain extent, in later war(s). But it was the end-less cession of the land to the British, lasting about a century. Which really altered the shape of the Mughal Deccan.
                The First cession to the British began with the treaty of 1759 by which the Mughal governor granted the sea port of Masulipatam and other districts comprising an area of about 700 square miles in “free gift”. By the second treaty of 1766, Nizam Ali Khan granted to the British the Circars of Sarkars in the east, off the Bay of Bengal.
                In 1768, by the third treaty, Nizam Ali Khan ceded to the British the diwani of the Carnatic abouve the ghats, i.e., the territory along the coast of Madras, By the partition treaty of Mysore of 1799, the Nizam received the districts of Goti, Guram Konda, Kolar, etc., south fo Aoni, Karnul and Cuddapa as his share and also a few districts in the south-west of the Nizam’s State on he bank of Tungabhadra river which were rejected by the Peshwa . But all these gains of 1799 and that acquired by the treay of Srirangapatam in 1772 by the Nizam had to be ceded to the British. On the whole, the Nizam did not gain anything but on the contrary he lost much.
                In 1800, the Nizam ceded to the British the districts called “ceded districts” comprising Kurnul, Adoni, Ananthapur, Cuddapa, Harnapalli, etc., north of Mysore. While, on the other hand the Marathas were operating on the western and northern borders of the Mughal Deccan, By the treaty of Udgir of 1760, the Mughal had to cede to the Marathas the forts of Daulatabad, Bijapur, Asirgarh, Harsul, Satara, Ahmednagar and other areas of the provinces of Aurangabad. Burhanpur and Bidar, their revenue receipts totaled Rs 62 lakhs annually.
                In the following year, by the treay of poona, Mughals recovered most of the lost territories of the value of R.27 lakhs. Shortly after accession, Nizm Ali Khan recovred from the Marathas about half the territory lost earlier, including the fort of Daulatabad. More territory was recovered in 1771 from the Peshwa of the value Rs. 18 lakhs. But in the battle of Kharda in 1795 with Marathas, the Nizam lost territory of an annual receipt of Rs.35 lakhs. This drastically altered the territorial jurisdiction of Hyderabad. By the partition treaty of 1804, the Nizam received the territories which were conquered from Scindia and Nagpur.
                On the conclusion of the Maratha wars in 1817, and after the over throw of the Peshwa, the Nizam received considerable territory and an exchange of territory was effected with the British to secure a well-defined boundary, However, the territories on the western borders along Ahmednagar, etc., were ceded to the British in 1822. Thence, for about three decades there was an interval in cession of areas to the British.
                In 1853, the district of Berar was assigned to the British in trust along with Barsi, Jamkhed, etc., within the sate limits, Seven years later, in 1860, the British restored to the Nizam the districts of Raichur Doab and Naldrug, in exchange for an adjustment of territory the Nizam had ceded to the British lying along the west of the Godavari. After a lull of about 50 years, the Berar was leased to the British and was never returned.
                Thus evolved Hyderabad state from 1720 to 1860, taking a stable shape in 1860. It lasted till its merger with the Indian Union in 1948-50. The evolution of the State and its final form are illustrated in the accompanying. The State comprised, besides the twin-cities of Hyderabad-Secunderabad and 16 districts,
                 Hyderabad State lies between 15° 10´ & 21° N and 74° 40´ and 81° 35 E´, with an area of 100,408 square miles, including Berar. Excluding Berar, the state covered an area of 82,698 sq. miles, i.e., larger that England and Scotland put together. It forms a polyonal tact occupying almost the centre of the Deccan Plateau. The State is an extensive plateau, with an average elevation of about 1,250 feet and in one instance 3,500 feet. It is divided into two large and nearly equal divisions, geologically and ethnically distinct, separated from each other by Manjara and Godavari rivers. The portion to the north and west belongs to the trappean region, that in the south and east granitic and Calcareous. There is a corresponding agreement between the two ethnical elements. The trappean tegion is inhabited by those who speak Marathi and Kanarese and the granitic country by the speakers of Telugu. Thus the state is trilingual. These linguistic regions were called Marathwada, Karnataka, Telengana and the granitic regions are lands of rice and tanks. The principal rivers of the State are Godavari and Krishna, with their tributaries, the Tungabhadra, the Purna, the Penganga, the Manjira, the Bhima and the Maner. Besides these there are several smaller rivers- the Musi, the Esi, The Windi, the Munair, etc. The Balaghat, the Sahyadrarvat, the Jalna hills, the kandikal, etc., are the hill ranges and mountain regions of the State.
                The principal mineral products of the State are diamond, gold, coal, iron, ore, copper, manganese, mica, garners, graphite, galena, ceramic clay, semi-precious stones, etc.
                Much of the land in the State is level, a large percentage of which is under cultivation. The hills are often covered with forests. A variety of wildlife is found in the forests.
                The climate is not altogether salubrious, though in general good, for it is pleasant and agreeable during the greater part of the year. On the whole, the three seasons are moderate.
                There are numerous artificial lakes in the State, which are source of drinking water to the twin cities and other areas.

Qutub Shahi Tombs

The tombs are domed structures built on a square base surrounded by pointed arches. The mausoleums of the Sultans of Golconda, the founding rulers of Hyderabad are truly magnificent monuments that have stood the test of time and braved the elements. They lie about a kilometer north of the outer perimeter wall of Golconda Fort's Banjara Darwaza amidst the Ibrahim bagh. The tombs form a large cluster and stand on a raised platform. They display a distinctive style, a mixture of Persian, Pathan and Hindu forms. The tombs are graceful structures with intricately carved stonework and are surrounded by landscaped gardens.

The tombs were once furnished with carpets, chandeliers and velvet canopies on silver poles. Qurans were kept on supports and readers recited verses from the holy book at regular intervals. Golden spires were fitted over the tombs of the Sultans to distinguish their tombs from those of other members of the royal family.

During the Qutub Shahi period, these tombs were held in such great veneration that criminals who took refuge there were granted pardon. But after their reign, the tombs were neglected, till Sir Salar Jung III ordered their restoration in the early 19th century. A pretty garden was laid out, and a compound wall was built. Once again, the tomb-garden of the Qutub Shahi family became a place of serene beauty. All, except the last, of the Qutub Shahi monarchs lie buried here.

Sultan Quli's tomb, the style of which set the example for the tombs of his descendants, is situated on an elevated terrace measuring 30 m each way. The tomb chamber proper is octagonal, with each side measuring around 10 m. The whole structure is crowned by a circular dome. There are three graves in this tomb chamber and 21 on the terrace outside, all uninscribed, except for the main tomb. The inscription on  which has not been fashioned from shining black basalt. Its appearance too, is quite unlike the other tombs in the garden - it rises gracefully in two stories, unlike the squat tombs of the other kings. Jamshed's is also only tomb of a Qutub Shahi ruler without any inscriptions; of course, Jamshed's son, Subhan Quli's tomb too does not have any inscriptions. But Subhan Quli ruled for too short a while to really matter. Subhan's tomb stands mid-way between the tombs of his father and grandfather. He was popularly called Chhote Malik (small master).

Sultan lbrahim's-tomb, built in 1580, after his death, is slightly larger than Sultan Quli's tomb. Traces of the enameled tiles ,which once adorned this mausoleum can still be seen on the southern wall. The tomb has two graves in the main chamber and 16 graves on the terrace, some of them probably those of his six sons and three daughters. There are inscriptions in the Thulth script on all faces of the sarcophagus. It is interesting to note that the three famous calligraphists - Isphalan, Ismail and Taqiuddiii Muhammad Salih - who left a store of Naskh, Tulth and Nastaliq inscriptions on the many Qutub Shahi edifices in the city, were all contemporaries of Ibrahim Shah.

Sultan Muhammad Quli's mausoleum is, by far, the grandest of the Qutub Shahi tombs. Built in 1602 A.D., the tomb is situated on a terrace of 65m square and 4m high. A flight of steps leads to the mausoleum proper, which is 22 m square on the outside and 11 m square on the inside. There are entrances on the southern and eastern sides. The tomb itself is situated in a vault below the terrace. Inscriptions in Persian and the Naskh scripts decorate the tomb.
Another grand mausoleum is that of the sixth Sultan, Mohanunad Qutub Shah. The facade of this tomb was once decorated with enameled tiles, only traces of which are now evident. There are six graves altogether in this tomb and inscriptions in Tulth and Naskh. The mausoleum was built in 1626. Sultan Abdullah's tomb is the last of the royal tombs, as Abdul Hasaii (Taiia Sliah), the last Qutub Stlafii king, was a prisoner in the Ciiini Mahal in the fortress of Daulatabad, near Aurangabad, when he died. While the tombs of those who ruled dominate the area, interspersed are many other monuments too, most of them tombs of other members of the Royal family.

The tomb of Fatima Sultan, with its bulbuous dome, is near the entrance to the tomb-garden. Fatima was the sister of Mohammad Qutub Shah. Her tomb houses several graves, two of them with inscriptions. Immediately to the south of Muhammed Qul's tomb are three uninscribed tombs. There are the mausoleums of Kulthoom, Mohammad Qutub Shahi's grand-daughter born of be son of The Sultan's favourite wife, Khurshid Bibi, her (Kulthoom's) husband and daughter. Kulthoom's Tomb- is one on the west of this cluster.

The twin-tombs of the two favouritc hakims (physicians) ot'Sultan Abdullah-Nizamuddin Ahamad Gilani and Abdul Jabbar Gilani - were built in 1651. They are among the few Qutub Shahi tombs that are not of Royalty.
Another pair of tombs are those of Premamati and Taramati - the favourites of Sultan Abdullah Shah. These lively beauties, who are believed to have once danced on ropes tied between their pavilion and Abdullah's palace, were laid to rest beside the tomb of their patron. One other tomb which is not that of a Qutub Shahi family member is the tomb of Neknam Khan. Neknam Khan, who served in Abdullah's army, was the commander-in-chief of the Carnatic.

Talboys Wheeler, in his book Madras in the Olden Times, records that the cowle (contract) handing over Madraspattnam to the British, was obtained from Nekam Khan, after the Raja of Chandragiri - whose property Madraspattnam had fled. His tomb is situated on a platform outside the mausoleum of Ibrahim Qutub Shah. It was built in 1672, two years after the death of Nekam Khan.
The mausoleum which Abdul Hasan, the last Qutub Shahi Sultan, began building for himself, actually houses the grave of Mir Ahmad, the son born of Sultan Abdullah's son-in-law's relationship with the sister of Abbas II Safair, the Shah of Persia. The tomb of Fadma Khanum, one of Sultan Abdullah's daughters, stands near the mausoleum of her husband, Mir Ahamad. Hers is the only Qutub Shahi tomb not surmounted by a dome.
To the west of the tombs lies the dargah of Husain Shah Wali, the revered Sufi Saint. He is affectionately remembered by people of all faiths as the builder of Husain Sagar in 1562. Among other monuments in the garden, that are not tombs, the most important are the Mortuary Bath and the Mosque of Hayat Bakshi Begum.

The Mortuary Bath, which stands opposite the tomb of Muhammad Quli, was built by Sultan Quli to facilitate the ritual washing of the bodies of the dead kings and others of the Royal Family before they were carried to their final resting place. The practice followed was to bring the body out of the fort, through the Banjara Gate, to this bath, before carrying it away for burial with the ritualistic pomp that was required to mark the occasion. A large number of people, fond subjects, friends and relatives attended. The bath itself is one of the finest existing specimens of ancient Persian or Turkish baths.

The Qutub Shahis built a number of mosques all over Golconda and Hyderabad, and almost every tomb has a mosque adjacent. The biggest and the grandest such mosque is by the mausoleum of Hayat Bakshi Begum. Popularly known as the great mosque of the Golconda tombs, it was built in 1666 A.D. Fifteen cupolas decorate the roof and the prayer-hall is flanked by two lofty minarets. The impression, as a whole, is one of majesty and splendour. The inscriptions in the mosque are master-pieces of calligraphic art.
Hayath Bakshi Begum was the daughter of Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah, the fifth king, the wife of the sixth king, Sultan Muhammad Qutub Shah and the mother of Abdullah Quli Qutub Shah, the seventh king. Affectionately known as 'Ma Saheba' (Revered Mother), she was guide and mentor to all three kings. Several monuments survive in her memory in and around Hyderabad. Hayath Nagar Palace (16 kms east of Hyderabad), where the ceremony of Sultan Abdullah Qutub Shah's first shave was celebrated with pomp and grandeur for twelve days, the Rayath Nagar Mosque which bears testimony to the greatness of Qutub Shahi architecture, the Caravan Sarai (or the Sarai of Ma Saheba), (sarai or rest house - was a
combination of a waterhole and oasis for weary travellers) comprising several hundred rooms intended for the use of travellers, and Ma Saheba Tank, enroute to Golconda. The tomb-garden of the Kings of Golconda was known as Lagar-e-Faiz Athar (a place for bountiful entertainment) in the days of the Qutub Shahi kings, for some item or song or dance or even an occasional play was staged here every evening, free of cost, to entertain the poor. The present caretaker of the tombs is a descendant of the one appointed by Sir Salar Jung. It is a hereditary occupation. 

Numerous tombs of the members of the royal family, laid beautifully on the sprawling gardens are worth the visit. Not only are they architecturally impressive, they also make a good picnic spot. Another attraction of these tombs is that every year the State Government authorities conduct a 'Deccan Festival', which is exclusive to the city of Hyderabad with these tombs as the backdrop as they speak volumes about the history of the city of Hyderabad. One can spot many renowned artists showcasing their talents in various fields like music, dance and theater.

Hyderabad - History

Hyderabad the capital of Andhra Pradesh, founded in the year 1591 by Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah, the fifth sultan of Qutb Shahi dynasty, offers a fascinating panorama of the past, with richly mixed cultural and historical tradition spanning over 400 years. It is one of the fastest growing cities of India and has emerged as a strong industrial, commercial, technology center, gives a picture of glimpses of past splenders and the legacy of its old history.The history of Hyderabad begins with the establishment of the Qutb Shahi dynasty. Quli Qutb Shah seized the reins of power from the Bahamani kingdom in 1512 and established the fortress city of Golconda. Inadequacy of water, and frequent epidemics of plague and cholera persuaded Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah to venture outward to establish new city with the Charminar at its centre and with four great roads fanning out four cardinal directions. Hyderabad's fame, strategic location and Golconda's legendary wealth attracted Aurangazeb who captured Golconda after a long seize in 1687.

After this defeat the importance of Hyderabad declined and the city fell into partial ruins. As the Moghul empire decayed and began to disintegrate, the viceroy, Asaf Jah I proclaimed himself the Nizam and established independence rule of the Deccan. Hyderabad once again became a major capital city, ruled by successive Nizams of the Asaf Jahi dynasty until the state was merged into Indian Union in 1948.

SECUNDERABAD: In 1798, a subsidiary alliance for military and political cooperation was signed between the Nizam and the British East India company. There after an area north of what is now the Hussain Sagar was established as a cantonment. The area was named Secunderabad after the then Nizam, Sikander Jah.

From nawabs and pearls to the world's hi-tech happening point, the city's journey is fascinating. The sprawling metropolis is coming to terms with itself at the start of the new millenium. The Qutb Shahi dynasty founded the Kingdom of Golconda, one of the five kingdoms that emerged after the break up of the Bahamani Kingdom. The Qutb Shahis ruled the Deccan for almost 171 years.All the seven rulers were patrons of learning and were great builders. They contributed to the growth and development of Indo-Persian and Indo-Islamic literature and culture in Hyderabad. During the Qutb Shahi reign Golconda became one of the leading markets in the world of diamonds, pearls, steel for arms, and also printed fabric. The glory of the Golconda kingdom ended in 1687, after a valiant struggle. Aurangzeb, the last great Mughal ruler, captured Golconda after a siege that lasted eight months.

Abul Hasan Tana Shah, the last king of Golconda, was imprisoned at Daulatabad, where he died after twelve years in captivity. With the conquest of the Deccan and the South, Aurangzeb succeeded in expanding the Mughal Empire to cover the entire sub-continent. However, after his death in 1707, the Empire rapidly declined. At that time , the Deccan was administered by a Subedar or viceroy of the Mughal Emperor. Mir Quamaruddin, the Governor of the Deccan, who bore the title of Nizam-ul-Mulk Feroze Jung Asif Jah, declared his independence from Mughal rule in 1724.He thus became the first Nizam and the founder of the Asif Jahi dynasty. Asif Jah I continued to maintain Aruangabad, which had been founded by the Mughal rulers as the capital of his new state. In 1769, Nizam Ali Khan Asif Jah II, shifted the capital to Hyderabad. The seven Nizam's of the Asif Jahi dynasty ruled the Deccan for nearly 224 years, right up to 1948. During the Asif Jahi period, Persian, Urdu, Telugu and Marathi developed simultaneously. The highest official positions were given to deserving persons irrespective of their religion.

Persian was the official language up to 1893 and then Urdu up to 1948. When the British and the French spread their hold over the country, the Nizam soon won their friendship without bequeathing his power. The title "Faithful. Ally of the British Government" was bestowed on Nizam VII. The British stationed a Resident at Hyderabad, but the state continued to be ruled by the Nizam. The rule of the seven Nizam's saw the growth of Hyderabad both culturally and economically. Huge reservoirs, like the Nizam Sagar, Tungabadra, Osman Sagar, Himayath Sagar, and others were built. Survey work on Nagarjuna Sagar had also begun during this time. Hyderabad, under the Nizam's, was the largest princely state in India. Area wise it was as big as England and Scotland put together. The State had its own currency, mint, railways, and postal system. There was no income tax. Soon after India gained independence, Hyderabad State merged with the Union of India. On November 1, 1956 the map of India was redrawn into linguistic states, and Hyderabad became the capital of Andhra Pradesh.