India has been a land of architecture with all its marvelous creations and grandeur. The architecture of India is profoundly rooted in its history, tradition, culture, and heritage. The palatial architecture and monuments we have here are the products of all the ruling dynasties and kings that had reigned this beautiful country and endowed it with all that we are witnessing today.
The geographical diversity, cultural variety, and religious mixture are what have played a major role in the construction of these marvels. Each architecture, each monument here has a history behind it, a very special story to tell, flooded with a range of sentimental emotions, unique reasons to be built, and intriguing decisions made. The magnanimous structures reflect the origin of art, the ideals and beliefs, the diverse notions that were prevalent throughout history, the values, and also the way of life.
The majority of these buildings and architectural structures consist of temples that have been erected out of religious beliefs and many famous tombs of the emperors and monarchs of popular ruling dynasties. Each architecture has its own unique style and line of approach in the manner in which it is built which makes it truly mesmerizing and one of its kind. Among these, the dominant styles that can be seen are Hindu temple architecture and Indo-Islamic architecture.
These both further have their own arts and styles like the Hindu temple architecture is divided into the Dravidian architecture of the south and the Nagara style of the north. The same is the case with the latter as the first major Islamic kingdom in India was the Delhi sultanate, which actually gave birth to Indo-Islamic architecture combining Indian and Islamic features. In this article, we are going to take a look at one such marvel, The Qutub Shahi Tomb.
According to Wikipedia, ‘The Qutub Shahi Tombs are located in the Ibrahim Bagh, close to the famous Golconda Fort in Hyderabad, India. They contain the tombs and mosques built by the various kings of the Qutub Shahi dynasty. The galleries of the smaller tombs are of a single storey while the larger ones are two-storied.”
The Qutub Shahi Tomb is located north of Golconda Fort’s called Banjara Darwaza. They are imperial marvels of architectural supremacy that stand as the reminders of the glory of Golconda kings who are buried at the same spot. Built by the Qutub Shahis, these tombs are regarded to be among the oldest historical monuments of Hyderabad. The Qutub Shahi tomb was built during the 16th and 17th centuries and is located at a distance of approximately 850 meters away from the Banjara Darwaza of Golconda Fort.
Historical Significance of Qutub Shahi Tombs
Constructed in the memory of the departed kings, these grand monuments have withstood the test of time and continues to be one of the few oldest monuments of Hyderabad. The Qutub Shahi Tombs consist of the tombs of seven Qutub Shahi rulers. These tombs attract lots of visitors with architectural excellence presenting a beautiful mixture of Persian and Indian architectural styles.
These tombs were outlined, planned, prepared, and built by Qutub Shahis themselves. You can witness the impacts of Hindu, Pathan, Deccan as well as Persian styles in the structure of tombs. The tombs were later renovated by Salar Jung III, in the 19th century. Built on an elevated platform, these tombs are made up of grey granite. These are dome-structured and have a quadrangular shape. Every one of these tombs is surrounded by arches and is 9-15 meters in height from the platform. Each tomb is also decorated with beautiful ornamentation.
However, with time, these ornamentations are not clearly visible now. The corridors and entrance of the tombs present an Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, and the ornamental parapets and minarets showcase Islamic architecture. Central pillars, false ceilings, and Two-tiered terraces, which form an essential part of the structures, have also been intricately decorated.
Architecture and design of the Qutub Shahi tombs
These seven Qutub Shahi tombs are of different sizes with small and big tombs. The Smaller tombs consist of a single storey whereas the bigger tombs consist of two storeys each. The tomb of Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah, the 5th king of the mighty Qutub Shahi dynasty is the largest of all the Qutub Shahi tombs. It is approximately 42 meters in height and has 28 open arches in addition to a large dome.
There are also beautiful minarets at its corners. These tombs are also assigned as the venue for one of the most celebrated festivals in Andhra Pradesh that is the Deccan Festival which is conducted by the State Government. These tombs are encompassed by the garden ‘Ibrahim Bagh’ which also serves as a popular picnic spot.
There is a multitude of other popular tourist attractions located near the tombs as well including the Paigah Tombs, Raymond Tomb, Salar Jung Museum which are a few nearby attractions. Qutub Shahi tombs are dedicated to the royal family and the rulers of Qutub Shahis. The structure and architectural beauty of these tombs still attract admirers from all over the world. These tombs are present in a large group on a hoisted platform. They resemble the Pathan, Persian, and Hindu architectural styles that use grey granite, with adhesive ornamentation, and are a one-of-its-kind place in the world where the whole dynasty is buried at a single spot.
The hours of visit
The Qutub Shahi tombs lie amidst beautifully landscaped gardens with intricately chiseled stonework. The timings for the Qutub Shahi tombs are from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm. It is open from Monday to Sunday. The entry fee for the tombs is only a minimum of Rupees 10 per person and for children, it is Rupees 5 per person. If you are someone who is interested in taking photographs, you are required to pay a minimum fee of Rupees 20 for each camera, which is very cheap.
The rich history behind the Qutub Shahi Tombs
Another imperative inference that can be deduced from the Qutub Shahi tomb is that these Tombs form the most reliable evidence of the Qutub Shahi dynasty and their architectural traditions. The impeccable structures where every column, arch, minarets, and galleries were created with finessed and are surrounded by landscaped gardens called Ibrahim Bagh.
Dimensions of the Tombs
It houses seven tombs dedicated to the former kings of Golconda. Now coming to the interior and exterior designing of these, the tombs are dome-like structures that are built on a square base. This is once more surrounded by pointed arches. Each erected tomb is of quadrangular shape and heights around 9 to 15 meters above the terrace. As mentioned earlier The smaller tombs constitute single stories while the larger tombs are seen as two-storied.
In the center of each tomb is placed a sarcophagus which overlies the actual burial vault in a crypt below. Earlier The domes actually consisted of blue and green tiles, but now only a few pieces exist. The Qutub Shahi Tombs are encompassed by enchanting minarets and there is a magnificent tomb with a height of 42.5 m covered by a large dome. The tombs are also furnished with chandeliers and soft canopies on silver poles. These are the splendid mausoleums of the Golconda Sultans.
The tombs were once furnished with carpets, chandeliers, and velvet canopies on silver poles. Copies of the Quran were placed on pedestals 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, it is said that these tombs were of great significance such that even criminals taking refuge here were given a pardon.
Unfortunately, the tombs were neglected after the reign of the Qutub Shahi rulers. But later during the early 19th century, thankfully Salar Jung III took up the onus of their restoration works. Today it is well maintained by the Department of Tourism with due diligence on heritage preservation and restoration. It is a prominent destination in the tourist circuit of Hyderabad and visitors coming to Golconda fort do not miss the tombs, which are marketed as a clubbed destination.
The restoration procedures that sustained its existence
During the reign of Qutub Shahi period, these tombs were held in high regard. But sadly soon after their reign, the tombs were abandoned until Sir Salar Jung III ordered their restoration in the early 19th century. A lush-green garden was prepared, and other walls were built. And Once again, the tomb garden of the Qutub Shahi family restored its profane position and became a place of serene beauty.
Sultan Quli Qutub-ul-Mulk
Anyhow, the most important among all these yet the most modest tomb is regarded to be that of Sultan Quli Qutub-ul-Mulk, who is believed to be the founder of the Qutub Shahi Dynasty. This style gives an example of the tombs of his descendants. He built his tomb himself and is also said to be the longest supervisor of this splendid architectural project.
The tomb chamber is octagonal, each side measuring around 10 meters. Three graves are there in this tomb chamber and twenty-one laid out on the surrounding terrace, all of which lack a bit of inscription except for the main tomb. There are also inscriptions on Sultan Quli’s tomb in three bands in the Naskh and Tauq scripts. This inscription indicates to Sultan Quli as Bade Malik that is the Great Master, this is the term by which all people of the Deccan used for him. The tomb was built in 1543 A.D. by the Sultan himself, during his lifetime, as was the prevalent custom. It was also his determination to build the tombs on non-ruling royal family members as well such as nephews, nieces, and sisters.
Qutb Shahi sultans
Adjacent to the tomb of Sultan Quli is that of his beloved son, Jamsheed, in the line of Qutb Shahi sultans. Built in 1550 A.D. It’s one of the only Qutb Shahi tombs which lacks shining black basalt. Its appearance, too, is quite unfamiliar with respect to the other tombs in the garden unlike the tombs of the other kings. The only tomb without any inscriptions among that of a Qutb Shahi ruler is that of Jamsheed Quli Qutb Shah’s and is, of course, Jamsheed’s son, Subhan’s tomb also does not have any inscriptions. Subhan’s tomb stands in between the tombs of his father and grandfather. He was popularly known as Chhote Malik (Small Master).
Sultan Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah’s tomb
Sultan Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah’s tomb was built in 1580, after his demise, and is slightly larger than Sultan Quli’s tomb. Little Traces of the glassy tiles, which once adorned this tomb, can still be seen on the walls. The grandest of the Qutb Shahi tombs is that of Sultan Muhammed Quli Qutb Shah’s tomb. This mausoleum Built in 1602 A.D., is on a terrace of 65m square and is 4m high. They also have corridors and entrances on the eastern and northern sides. The tomb is buried below the terrace. Inscriptions in the Naskh and Persian scripts decorate it.
Muhammed Qutb Shah
Another grand tomb is that of Muhammed Qutb Shah, the sixth sultan. The face of this tomb was once intricated with glossy tiles; only traces are now evident. There are six graves and inscriptions in Naskh and Thuluth. The mausoleum was built in 1626. One of the last of the royal tombs, Sultan Abdullah Qutub Shah’s tomb is known as Abul Hasan Qutb Shah (Tana Shah), the last Qutb Shahi Sultan, was jailed in the fortress of Daulatabad.
The tomb of Fatima Sultan
The tombs of those who ruled dominated the area, interposed are many other monuments, most of them are tombs of other members of the royal family. The tomb of Fatima Sultan, with its cylindrical dome, is near the entrance to the tomb-garden. Fatima was the sister of Muhammed Qutb Shah. Her tomb houses several graves, two with inscriptions. To the south of Muhammed Quli’s tomb are present three uninscribed tombs. Abul Hasan Qutb Shah, the last Sultan of the dynasty was not buried alongside his ancestor. Instead, he was buried at Khuldabad.
Message from our end to the readers
So that’s pretty much all about Qutub Shahi Tomb and its history and why it is regarded as one the most visited places in Hyderabad. The people come here to know more about the importance this place has on the architectural maps of India and it holds a significant place in their hearts as well. Do check out this place if you ever happen to be present in Hyderabad, you will be impressed.