Friday, 24 July 2015

Qutb Shahi Tombs - entire dynasty taking eternal sleep in one place, Hyderabad, S. India

Qutb Shahi tombs, near Golconda(Hyderabad).Tomb of Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah.en.wikipedia.org/
Qutb Shahi tombs, near Golconda (Hyderabad),S.India.Tomb of Abdullah Qutb Shah.www.mindfreshtrips.com
It was a tradition among the Muslim rulers of India to have excellent memorials or tombs built for the departed members of the royal family. Whenever they build mausoleums, tombs or mosques, not only do they spend money lavishly, but also pay serious attention to the  architecture, style, decorations, artwork and workmanship. That is the reason why they are remembered even to day and their creations are a perpetual reminder of their golden era.The  Qutb Shahi tombs near Golconda, now Telengana state are really impressive.
Hamam or Mortuary Chamber at Qutb Shahi Tomb in Golconda in Hyderabad,S.India.www.alamy.com
Near the Golconda fort, near Hyderabad) - about  one km - lies a cluster of of impressive tombs called ''Qutb Shahi tombs'' in the middle of a well maintained  garden, called Ibrahim Bagh. Qutb Shahi kings  ruled Golconda  for more  170 years and the tombs are dedicated to the seven out of eight rulers. The interesting aspect of these tombs is one can not find a place in this world where the entire dynasty is buried in one place. Perhaps it may be one of a kind in this world. The galleries of the smaller tombs are of a single storey while the larger ones are two storied.  In the center of each tomb is a sarcophagus which overlies the actual burial vault in a crypt below. 
Qutb Shahi tombs, near Golconda(Hyderabad),S.Indiawww.ghumakkar.com
After the fall of the Bahmanis (1347-1518), five new kingdoms came up. They were the Adil Shahi at Bijapur, Baridi at Bidar, Nizam Shahi at Ahmednagar, Berar at Ellchipur and Qutb Shahi at Golconda. Sultan - Quli Qutbul Mulk, a native of Hamadan (Iran), was  the governor of the Bahmani province of Telangana in 1496. Later for unknown, he gave up the governorship  and founded the 'Qutb Shahi Dynasty' of  Turko-Persian ancestry. This dynasty, collectively called as ''Qutb Shahis'' ruled from   1518 up to 1687.The Qutb Shahi rulers got a good name among the natives - mostly Hindus and these secular rulers ruled their land intelligently maintaining communal harmony. They were great builders and patrons of learning. Some were well versed in the native language spoken there - Telugu.

There are 30 tombs including the tombs of seven kings, their queens and children, members of the royal family and the officials who faithfully served the royal family, a mortuary bath and mosques. The dome shaped tombs forming  a large cluster,  stand on a raised platform with  a square base surrounded by pointed arches, exhibiting a  blend of Persian and Indian architectural style. These tombs were held in great veneration  and well taken care of during the period of Qutb Shahi. After their reign, they fell into ruins. It was  Sir. Salar Jung III, a great administrator as he was, who understood the historical value of these tombs, began the restoration work in the 19th century and restored the beauty of this monument.  Each tomb is built on a broad quadrangle terrace that can be accessed from various sides by a flight of steps. At the center of every tomb lies the casket which crowns the vault with the crypt lying below. The tombs are surrounded by beautiful gardens that form the backdrop. 
Qutb Shahi tombs, near Golconda(Hyderabad)www.timesofindiatravel.
Way back in the beginning, the tombs were deliberately furnished with carpets, chandeliers and velvet canopies on silver poles. The holy book of Muslims, the Quran was kept on supports and readers recited verses during their visits to the tombs. Another feature was to differentiate the tombs of Sultans and other royal members, so, golden spires were fixed on the tomb of the rulers.
 The tomb of one Saint Shah Raju II was left incomplete but is revered as one of the most magnificent of all the Qutb Shahi Tombs.

Interestingly, most of the Qutb Shahi Kings reigned long enough to plan and execute a tomb just a little better and more exquisite  than their predecessors. These tombs are considered to be the oldest historical monument in Hyderabad. A stricking feature of Qutb Shahi architecture is the fact that almost every tomb has a mosque attached adjacent to it.

The following are the seven tombs:

Tomb of Sultan Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk (He himself  built his tomb; he was a patron of Urdu and Telugu; treated Hindus well; there was communal harmony. 

Tomb of Jamsheed Quli Qutb Shah (not impressive record)
 

Tomb of Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah: (He built the Hussain Sagar Lake and and developed Ibrahim Bagh. A partron of Telugu
 

Ibrahim's tomb - the largest tomb
 

Tomb of Sultan, Muhammad Qutub Shah
 

Tomb of Abdullah Qutb Shah (His reign saw the down fall of the dynsaty because of pressure from the Mogul Emperor Aurangazeb)

The tomb's structural design was such that, it has  withstood the vagarious of tropical climate and weather through time, still reminding us the glorious past history of the Qutb Shahi rulers who lie buried here. 

Thomas Gray's poem 'Elegy written in a country churchyard' comes to my mind:

       ''The paths of glory lead but to the grave'' 

Ref:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qutb_Shahi_tombs

http://www.come2india.org/qutub-shahi-tombs.html