Charminar of Hyderabad, a Bahamani architecture

Bahamani Kingdom (1347–1527)
The Bahmani Sultanate or Bahmanid Empire was a Muslim state of the Deccan in southern India and was one of the great medieval Indian kingdoms. It was North Deccan region to the river Krishna. According to some Muslim historian a rebel chieftain of Saulatabad (an area around Ellora), was under Muhammad Bin Tughalaq. The sultanate was founded on 3rd of August 1347 by the Turkish Governor Ala-ud-Din Hassan Bahman Shah/ Hasan Gangu/ Allauddin Hassan, possibly of Tajik-Persian descent, who revolted against the Sultan of Delhi, Muhammad bin Tughluq. Nazir uddin Ismail Shah who had revolted against the Delhi sultanate stepped down on that day in favour of Zafar Khan/ Hassan Gangu who ascended the throne with the title of Alauddin Bahman Shah. His revolt was successful, and he established an independent state on the Deccan, including parts of present day Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh within the Delhi Sultanate’s southern provinces. The Bahmani contested the control of the Deccan with the Hindu Vijayanagara Empire to the south. The Bahmani capital was Ahsanabad (Gulbarga) between 1347 and 1425 when it was moved to Muhammadabad (Bidar). The sultanate reached the peak of its power during the vizierate (1466–1481) of Mahmud Gawan. About eighteen kings ruled during the nearly 200 years. After 1518 the kingdom got divided into four smaller ones like Barishahi (Bidar), Kutbshahi (of Golkonda), Adamshahi( of Ahmadnagar), and Adilshahi (of Bijapur), known collectively as the Deccan sultanates.

Bahamani Dynesty of Deccan

History of Bahamani Kingdom :
Allauddin Hassan, a man of humble origin assumed the name of Gangu Bahamani in memory of his patron, a brahmin. Hasan Gangu declared the founder of the Bahamani Dynasty and ruled it under the title of Bahaman Shah. Bahamani was in constant war with south, kingdom of Vijaynagar.

Firuz Shah Bahamani left his remarkable foot prints over the Bahamani history. He was a learned man and having knowledge of many religions and natural science. He always wanted to develop the Deccan region as the cultural hub of India. He waged three battles against Vijaynagar Empire, and also extended his territories of Warangal. He gave up his kingdom and throne to his brother Ahmed shah I.

Agriculture was the main economic activity of Bahamani kingdom for earning the main revenue of the state.

The nobles in the Bahamani Kingdom were classified into two categories, Deccanis (old comers) and the Afaquis (new comers). They were always having problem of difference of opinion. Mahmud Gawan was a minister in Bahamani Empire who expanded and extended the Bahamani Kingdom rapidly. He was categorized as Afaqui and hence it was difficult for him to win the trust and confidence of the Deccanis. He was executed at the age of seventy by Muhammad Shah of Deccan in the year 1482 for his policy which made matters worse in Deccanis and Afaquis.

Culture of Bahamani :
The Bahamani kingdom flourished in architectural monuments. In the field of architecture, the Bahamanis paved way for the distinct style by inviting architects from Persia, Turkey, and Arabia and blended it with local styles. The culture that developed during this time was a blend of both north and south styles and also had its own distinct styles. Gumbaz (the largest dome in the world) and Charminar located at Hyderabad are the world famous examples of Bahamani architecture. The Bahanamis of Deccan left an important heritage of Indo-Islamic art, language, and spread of Islamic tradition in South India. Hazrat Banda Nawaz (1321 – 1422 CE) the great Sufi saint was patronized by the Bahamani kings and his Dargah of Gulbarga is a place of pilgrimage for Hindus and Muslims alike. Mahmud Gawan arrived in Bidarfrom Persia in 1453. A great scholar of Islamic lore, he founded the Madarassa (institution) from his own funds on the line of universities of Samarkhand and Khorasan. A selefless worker, he became a prime-minister of Bahamani king Mahmud III (1462- 82) whom he tutored in earlier days. But Gawan became a victim of the palace intrigue and was beheaded by the drunkern king. The later kings of the Bahamani dynasty were too weak to keep the kingdom in tact, and this led to the breakup

Golkonda Fort

List of Bahmani Sultans :
During the 191 years of Bahmani reign following rulers ruled with Gulbarga and Bidar as their capital:

Gulbarga Period ( 75 years )
*Aladdin Hassan Bahman Shah/ Abu’l Muzaffar/ Ala-ud-Din Bahman Shah (August 3, 1347 – Feb 11, 1358 AD)
Hasan Gangu s/o Kaikaus s/o Muhammad s/o Ali (there are different opinions)
Capital: Gulbarga
Founder of Bahmani Dynasty of Deccan
Original name was Hasan Gangu or Hansan Kanku and also bore the title of Zafar Khan.

Nasir-ud-din Ismail Shah asked Zafar Khan to become the King with the title of ‘Sikandar- uth- thani Ala-ud-din Hasan Bahman Shah al-wali’. The new King was crowned on Friday Aug 3, 1347 in the mosque of Qtub-ud-din Mubarak Shah Khalji at Daulatabad. According to one historian, Hasan was the nephew of Malik Hizhbar-ud-din entitled Zafar Khan’ Alai, who was killed in 1298 AD when Hasan was only 6 years old.

The first act of the new king was to transfer his title of Zafar Khan to prince Muhammad. King adopted the title of Bahman. He sent Qutbul Mulk who conquered Kotgir, Maram, Mahendri and Akkal Kot. Qir Khan was sent to conquer Kalyan. After the news of this great victory of Kalyan, King renamed Daulatabad to Fatahabad.

Sikandar was send to Malkher which was held by the Hindu Zamindars who opposed first but subdued later. Krishna Nayak of Tilangana entered into treaty and became friend of Sikandar and loyal to the King. Quir Khan revolted and was beheaded by the king. King renamed Gulbarga as Ahsanabad and made it the capital of Deccan.

The King died on Rabi-ul-awwal 1, Feb 11, 1358 at the age of 67.

Silver Coins struck in the name of Bahman Shah in 760 AH indicates that he might have died some time in 760 AH and hence Muhammad Shah I ascended the throne in 760 AH.

*Mohammed or Muhammed Shah I/ Zafar Khan (Feb 11, 1358 – April 21, 1375)
Son of Bahman Shah
Capital: Gulbarga.

Muhammad Shah ascended the throne. He is better known as organizer of Bahmani Kingdom and founder of its institutions. His Silver throne from his father was replaced by the magnificent ‘Takht-e-Firoza’ (Turquoise Throne) on March 23, 1363 presented to him by Raya of Tilangana. He constructed ‘Jama Masjid’ in Gulbarga Fort and Shah Bazaar Masjid in Gulbarga town. His father Alauddin Bahman Shah, Mohammed was involved in wars with Vijayanagar. However he also became embroiled in wars with Warangal. Sultan invaded Tilangana, Kanya Nayak offered Huns, elephants and horses along with Golkunda Town. Sultan died on Zi-qada April 21, 1375 AD from drinking too much.

Silver Coins struck in the name of Muhammad Shah I in, Silver coin of and a Gold coin is also known. No coin of his successor Mujahid Shah is known. Mujahid Shah’s Gold coin is known. This indicates that Muhammad Shah I might have died in 1375 and issue may be a posthumously in his Mujahid Shah’s reign.

*Aladdin Mujahid Shah (April 21, 1375 – April 16, 1378)
Son of Muhammad Shah
Capital: Gulbarga

Muhammad I was succeeded by his son Aladdin Mujahid Shah at the age of 19. Mujahid Shah was murdered by Masud Khan (son of Mubarak Khan) and Daud Khan.

*Da’ud Shah (April 16, 1378 – May 21, 1378)
Son of Mahmud Shah S/o Bahman Shah
Capital: Gulbarga.

Immediately on Mujahid’s murder Daud Shah proclaimed king of Deccan and all those present paid homage to him. It is said that Ruh Parwar Agha (Mujahid’s sister) got Daud murdered through a royal slave Bakah while he was attending Friday prayer of Muharram, in great mosque of Gulbarga Fort.

*Mohammed Shah II (May 21, 1378 – April 20, 1397 AD)
Son of Mahmud Shah S/o Bahman Shah
Capital: Gulbarga

Ruh Parwar after taking revenge of her brother’s death, blinded Sanjar ( S/o Daud I ). She put Muhammad II brother of Daud I on throne. Muhammad Shah II’s 19 year reign was one of the most peaceful period in the whole Bahmani history. Since he had no son so he adopted two sons Firoz Shah and Ahmad I of his uncle Ahmad Khan s/o Bahman Shah. But after the birth of Tahmatan Shah, Muhammad on his death bed wished that Ghiyasuddin Tahmatan Shah should succeed him and Firoz and Ahmad should pay homage to him.

Muhammad died of typhoid on. The next day died the grand old man of the Deccan Mallik Saif-ud-din Ghori who had lived through five reigns and who was the Prime Minister of Bahmani State in the time of storm and three of four rulers.

*Ghiyath ud-Din/ Ghiyas-Ud-Din-Tahmatan Shah (April 20, 1397 – June 14, 1397 AD)
S/o Muhammad Shah II
Capital : Gulbarga.

Muhammad’s elder son Ghiyas-ud-din Tahmatan Shah succeeded to the throne without any trouble. Taghalchin (Turkish slave) who wanted to be the Prime Minister arranged a big feast at which king was also invited. Taghalchin blinded the king on Ramadan, and imprisoned him at Sagar and his step brother Shams-ud-din Daud II was put on the throne.

*Shams-ud-Din/ Shams- ud-Din Daud Shah II(June 14, 1397 AD – Nov 15, 1397 AD)
S/o Muhammad II
Capital: Gulbarga.

The first thing the boy king was made to do was to promote Taghalchin to be the Malik Naib and Mir Jumla of the kingdom. The manumitted slave girl who was Shamsuddin’s mother was now raised to the rank and title of Makhduma-i-Jahan (Dowager Queen). Taghalchin tried to persuade Shamsuddin to imprison Firoz and Ahmad and asked king’s mother to have them done to death. On hearing of the conspiracy the two brothers fled to Sagar. Firoz proclaimed himself king making his younger brother Ahmad Khan Amir-ul-umra, Mir Fazlil-lah Inju Wakil (Prime Minister). He had the blind boy Ghiyasuddin Tahmatan with him. He directly attacked into the Darbar Hall. Taghalchin and his son was killed Daud II was blinded and allowed to move Mecca with his mother. Shamsuddin Daud II died in 1414 AD at Mecca.

*Taj ud-Din Firuz Shah (Nov 16, 1397 – Sep 22, 1422 AD)
S/o Ahmad Khan s/o Bahman Shah
Capital: Gulbarga.

Firoz Shah was one of the most learned of Indian sovereigns. He was a good calligrapher and poet (poetic name Uruji or Firozi). Among other public works he under took the construction of an Observatory on the chain of hills near Daulatabad called Balaghat which could not be completed due to his death.

Hazrat Khwaja Syed Muhammad Gesu Draz’ was a Sufi (saint) and was deeply related with the Bahmani kings and the people of Gulbarga. He was the s/o Syed Yusuf who came to Daulatabad in the reign of Muhammad Tughlaq. Hazrat was born on Jan 30, 1331 and started living near ‘Gulbarga Jama Masjid’. He died on Nov 1, 1422 AD at the age of 105 years.

Firoz Shah paid tribute to him. He gave him many villages for his maintenance.
He knows and can carry translation in Persian, Arabic, Turkish, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali and many other languages. He tamed prince Bukka and Harihara of Vijayanagar and Narasingha of Kherla in battle.

Firoz’s army tried to kill Ahmad Khan (brother of Firoz) but defeated in battle fought cleverly by Ahmad. Gates of the city was opened for Ahmad and he was taken to dying king Firoz. Firoz died on Sep 28, 1422.

Bidar Period ( 116 years )
*Ahmad Shah I Wali/ Ahmed Shah Al Wali Bahamani/ Shihab-Ud-Din Ahmad I (1422 – 1436)
S/o Ahmad Khan s/o Bahman Shah
Capital: Bidar

Portrait of Ahmed Shah Wali Bahamani

At the begening of his reign he suffered the shock of the death of ‘Hazrat Khwaja Syed Muhammad Gesu Draz’. He decided and shifted his capital from Gulbarga to Bidar. He made Khalaf Hasan Basri as his Wakil-e-Saltanate (Prime Minister).

He constructed the Tomb of Gesu Daraz at Gulbarga any buidings at Bidar.

Ahmad Shah attacked Vijayanagar and over powered Vijayaraya I. In the last year of his reign he appointed his eldest son Ala-ud-din Zafar Khan to be his heir, giving him the full charge of kingdom. King died after a short illness.

He was a great patron of arts and culture. He brought artisans from Iran, including the metal-worker Abdulla-bin-Kaiser, who was the father of bidriware, the inlaying of zinc alloy with silver and gold.

Ahmed Shah’s, and his empress’s, tomb is located in Ashtur village, Bidar District, and is the subject of an annual ‘urs’, or anniversary of death festival.

*Aladdin Ahmad Shah II (Apr 17, 1436 – May 6, 1458 AD)
S/o Ahmad Shah I
Capital: Bidar.

Ahmad I had been very successful as a king and when he died he was popular even to the extent of being regarded as a saint. His son Zafar Khan who asumed the title of Ahmad on his accession. He gave preference to newcomers from outside over the old in his cabinet. This created a great cleavage between them and the Dakhnis (old comers). He married the daughter of Raja of Sangmeswar and gave her the title of Zeba Chehra apart from the daughter of Nasir Khan Faruqi of Khandesh ‘Agha Zainab’.

There became two party, aparently the old-comers and the new-comers. King died early due to his wound in his shin (front of lower leg).

Silver Coins struck in the name of Ahmad Shah II in 838 AH has been reported. No coin of Ahmad Shah I has been reported so for. This confirms that Ahmad Shah II ascended the throne in 838 AH when Ahmad I was alive

*Aladdin Humayun Zalim Shah (May 7, 1458 – Sep 4, 1461 AD)
S/o Ahmad Shah II
Capital: Bidar.

Ahmad Shah II had nominated his eldest son Humayun heir to his throne. King made Khwaja Mahmud Gawan, Malik-ut-tujjar, trafdar of Bijapur and Wakil-e-Sultunate giving him full control of military matters. Humayun was a very short tempered and cruel man. He made his own cousin Sikandar Khan as Sipahsalar. Sikandar became rebellion and was crushed to death with the help of Mahmud Gawan. Humayun died on Sep 4, 1461.

Coins were struck in the name of Humayun Shah indicates that he might have died some time in Sep 4, 1461. Hence Ahmad Shah III ascended the throne in 1461.

*Nizam Shah/ Nizam-Ud-Din Ahmad III (Sep 4, 1461 – Jul 30, 1463 AD)
S/o Humayun Shah
Capital: Bidar.

On Humayun’s death his son Ahmad succeeded to the throne as Nizam-ud-din Ahmad III at the age of 8. He was escorted to the throne by Shah Muhib-ul-la and Syed-us-Sadat Syed Hanif. Late king had nominated a council of Regency constituting of Khwaja-e-Jahan Turk, Mahmud Gawan with the Dowager Queen Makhduma-e-Jahan Nargis Begum. Master mind which ruled the country during the short reign of Ahmad Shah III was that of the great queen. All the political prisoners of Humayun period were released. Ahmad III died on the very night of his marriage on and was succeeded by his younger brother Muhammad Khan as Shams-ud-din Muhammad Shah III.

*Mohammed Shah III Lashkari/ Shams-Ud-Din Muhammad Shah III (Jul 30, 1463 – Mar 26, 1482 AD)
S/o Humayun Shah
Capital: Bidar.

Shamsuddin Muhammad was between 9 and 10 years when he succeeded his elder brother. He was escorted to the Turquoise Throne by Shah Mohib-ul-lah (who was released by his captor Mahmud Khalji of Malwa) and Syed Hanif. Nizam-ul-mulk murdered Khwaja-e-Jahan Turk (one of the member of the three party committee of Regency after the death of Humayun ) ) at the instance of Queen in the presence of boy king in 870 AH.

Mohammad Shah III got married at the age of 14 years. Dowager Queen retired from active role. Malik-ut-tujjar Mahmud Gawan was made Prime Minister. The Prime Minister ship of Mahmud Gawan saw the Bahmani State attaining high unequalled in the whole of its history. During this period Parenda Fort, Great College of Bidar and Madarsa at Bidar. Kherla was besieged in 872 AH. Kapileswar of Orissa was defeated in 1470 AD. Goa was annexed on 20th of Shaban 876 AH. Queen Dowager died in 877 AH.

Boundaries of Bahmani Kingdom now touching the Bay of Bengal in the east and the Arabian Sea in the west. Mahmud Gawan was one of the first ministers in Medieval India to order a systematic measurement of land, fixing the boundaries of villages and towns and making a thorough enquiry into the assessment of revenue.

King annexed Kanchi on 1st Muharram, 886 AH. This was the southern most point ever reached by Bahmani. Nobles conspired against Khwaja Mahmud Gawan and prepared a false paper on behalf of Khwaja saying he wants Deccan to be partitioned between him and Purushottum of Orissa. King sentenced Khwaja to death on 5th Safar 886 AH at the age of 73. Later King came to know that Khwaja was innocent. He appointed his son Mahmud as his heir. He died on on 5th Safar 887 AH.

A silver Tanka of about 11 grams from the treasury of Muhammad Shah III dated 1472.

*Mohammed Shah IV/Mahmud Shah/ Shihab-Ud-Din Mahmud (Mar 26, 1482 – Dec 27, 1518 AD)
S/o Ahmad Shah III
Capital: Bidar.

The long reign of Mahmud Shah Bahmani, was a period of gradual weakening of the state. He ascended the throne at the age of 12 years, when new-comers had been over thrown. New Regency was formed with Queen as president. Qasim Barid was entitled with Barid-ul-mumalik.
King began to indulge in wine, women and song and spent so much money that he had to extract many jewels from the Turquoise throne at the instigation of Qasim Barid. Qasim Barid forced Mahmud to make Prime Minister of the kingdom. Malik Ahmad Nizamul-mulk revolted and made a beautiful palace making it the center of his newly created capital, which he named after himself, Ahmadnagar. Qutbul-Mulk was appointed as the Governor of Tilangana in 1495-96 AD who controlled over Warrangal, Rajakonda, Dewarkonda and Kovilkonda. Qasim Barid died and was succeeded by his son Amir Barid. Ahmad Nizam died and succeeded by his son Burhan. Sultan died on Dec 27, 1518 AD.

*Ahmad Shah III/ Ahmad Shah IV (Dec 27, 1518 – Dec 15, 1520)
S/o Mahmud Shah
Capital: Bidar.

Amir Barid was very clever, He put Mahmud’s son Ahmad on throne. Amir Barid was careful that king should not leave the palace but he actually set about to spoil his life and morals. New Sultan was forced to breakup the ancient crown of the Bahmanis, worth 15 lakes of Rupees (Rs. 1,500,000), and sell the jewels in order to provide himself with the means of ease and pleasure. Sultan died on Muharram Dec 15, 1520.

After 1518 the sultanate broke up into five states, Ahmednagar, Berar, Bidar, Bijapur, and Golconda, known collectively as the Deccan sultanates.

*Aladdin Shah (Dec 28, 1520 – Mar 5, 1523 AD)
S/o Ahmad Shah IV
Capital: Bidar.

Amir Barid’s wish to become king was rekindled with Ahmad’s death. He put the crown on Ahmad’s son Ala-ud-din on Dec 28, 1520.The new Sultan was wise and courageous. Amir Barid conspired against him and Sultan was dethroned.

*Wali-Allah Shah/ Wali-Ul-Lah Shah (Mar 5, 1523 – 1526 AD)
S/o Mahmud Shah
Capital: Bidar.

Amir Barid put Waliullah son of Mahmud on throne. He was imprisoned in his own zanana (ladies room) and lived on bread and clothes provided to him by his master. Amir Barid married the pretty Bibi Sitti, Ahmad’s widow who was just 22-23 yrs. Amir Barid was now a royal kinsman and was free to enter the zanana apartment of the palace. He began to make love with the queen. When Sultan resisted he was poisoned.

Coin of Waliullah and no coin of Alauddin Shah indicate that Alauddin Shah was dethroned and Waliullah ascended the throne.

Coins struck in the name of Kalimullah indicate that he ascended the throne and Wali-ullah died in 1526 AD.

*Kalim-Allah Shah/ Kalim-Ul-Lah Shah (1526 – 1527 AD)
S/o Mahmud Shah
Capital: Bidar

After 1538 Bahamani Empire gets converted in to 5 shahis. Kalimullah son of Mahmud Shah was the last king of the Bahmani Dynasty. He was closely guarded by Amir Barid. A new political force had now appeared on the Indian Horizon in the person of Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur. All the rulers of Deccan i.e. Bijapur, Ahmadnagar, Berar, and Burhanpur sent their congratulations to the Mughal conqueror. Kalimulla also wrote letter to Babur to relieve him from Amir Barid. This news was leaked and out of fear of his life Kalimullah Shah fled to Bijapur in 1527 AD. He was not welcomed there. He left for Ahmadnagar. He was first received well by Burhan Nizamul Mulk, but never again called in open court. Kalimullah soon breathed his last in Ahmadnagar. The men of shahis rulers planned to murder him after he was got down from his post because they thought that he could regain the position. His coffin was brought to Bidar. His date of death could not be confirmed. After the death of Kalimullah his son Ilhamullah proceeded to Mecca and never returned.

Coins struck in his name in 951 and 952 AH say that the sultan must have stayed long at Ahmadnagar.

Coins struck in his name in 1527 AD, indicate that he ascended the throne in 1527 AD.