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The family of the Nizams of Hyderabad is one of the most illustrious that ever came to India. Khaja Abid, grandfather of the first Nizam, was born in Aliabad near Samarkhand in the kingdom of Bukhara. His father, Alam Shaik, was a well—known Sufi and celebrated man of letters. Alam Shaik originally belonged to Suhraward, a town in Kurdistan, and his descent can be traced to Shaik Shahabuddin Suhrawardy, who was a great spiritual teacher and author of eminent works on Islamic philosophy. Khaja Abid’s mother was of the family of Mir Hamdan, a ditinguished Syed of Samarkhand. Khaja Abid, who had held the high office of Qazi (Judge) and Shaiku l-Islam, first visited India during the reign of Shah Jehan in 1655 on his way to Mecca. He presented himself at the Imperial Court where he won favours and a robe of honour.

He was offered a position in the Emperor’s service which he agreed to accept after his return from Mecca. In 1657 Khaja Abid returned from his pilgrimage and joined the service of Aurangzeb. At that time Aurangzeb was in the Deccan preparing for the war of succession to the Mughal throne. Khaja Abid, besides being a learned man, was well versed in the art of war. Aurangzeb gave him an important post in the Imperial army.

He was granted a high rank of 3000 Zat and 500 Sawars and the title of ‘Khan’. After succeeding in the war of succession, Aurangzeb made him the Governor of Ajmer and subsequently of Multan with the title of ‘Qalich Khan’. He served the Emperor with distinction particularly during the early years of Aurangzeb’s reign while he was consolidating and restoring peace in his newly acquired territory.

On 30th January, 1687 during the siege of Golconda while leading the Imperial armies against the Qutb Shahi king, Qalich Khan died when he was struck fatally by a cannon ball. (Photograph of Qalich Khan on the cover page). Qalich Khan was survived by five Sons and his eldest son Shahabuddin Khan, entitled Ghaziuddin Khan Feroz Jung, earned the position of highest distinction in the Mughal Court. He married Safia Khanum, daughter of Saadullah Khan, the famous Prime Minister of Shah Jehan, and by her had a son named Qamaruddin, afterwards the celebrated Nizam—ul--Mulk, the founder of the Asaf Jahi dynasty.


The tombs erected in memory of the departed kings of Golconda are truly magnificent monuments that have stood the test of time and the vagaries of nature. They stand a kilometre north of Golconda fort’s Banjara Darwaza. These imposing marvels of architectural excellence stand as solemn reminders of the grandeur and glory of Golconda and the great kings wito are buried here. The tombs form a large, close group standing on a raised plateau. Nowhere in the world are there so many tombs in one place as here. These tombs and other monuments of the Qutb Shahi kings mark a unique architectural style which is a mixture of Persian, Pathan and Hindu forms. The tombs are marked by perfect harmony from plinth to top. Each stands on a wide quadrangular terrace approached on all sides by flights of steps. The arcades on all the sides and the pointed arches add to their beauty and grace. The main body of the edifice is also quadrangular, rising 9 to 15 metres above the terrace and surrounded by balustrades with beautiful minarets at the corners. The principal material used was grey granite, embellished with stucco decoration in places. Originally each tomb had a mosque as an adjunct. When Aurangzeb captured Golconda his officers were quartered in these tombs. There are 30 in the complex, besides some outside the compound wall. Noteworthy among these are the tombs of the seven kings and the one of Hayath Bakshi Begum. Restoration work on these tombs was started by Salar Jung I and a wall was also built surrounding the tombs. Tavernier who visited Golconda more than three hundred years ago, writes in his book, “At three coss off from the town there is a very fine mosque where there are the tombs of the Kings of Golconda and every day at 4 P.M. bread and pulao are given to all poor who present themselves. When you wish to see something really beautiful, you should go to see these tombs on the day of a festival, for then, from morning to evening, they are covered with rich carpets"...


In 1463, disturbances broke out in the Telangana area of the Bahmani kingdom of the Deccan. Sultan Quli Qutbul-Mulk, a Turk who was a high ranking military officer under Muhammad Shah Bahmani, was sent to quell the trouble. He was successful and was rewarded by being made the subedar of Telangana in 1495, with Golconda as his headquarters. Subsequently, with the disintegration of the Bahmani kingdom in the early 16th century, Sultan Quli assumed virtual independence. Thus he founded the Qutb Shahi dynasty that lasted from 1518 right upto 1687, when Aurangzeb’s armies swept the Deccan. This dynasty spanned 171 years in the history of South India. The eight kings of this royal line have left a firm impression of their strong personalities upon the land and its people. The Qutb Shahi rulers were great builders and patrons of learning. They not only patronized the Persian culture but also the regional culture of the Deccan, symbolised by the Telugu language and the newly developed Deccani idiom...


Qutb Shahi kings reigned for almost 170 years from 1518 to 1687. After the siege of Golconda by Aurangzeb in 1687 there was Mughal rule in the Deccan till 1724. In 1724 AsáfJah I defeated Mubrez Khan, the last Mughal Subedar of the Deccan,and established his supremacy. Qutb Shahi kings were great builders and lovers of architecture. Important archaeological monuments of this period are Charminar, Char Kaman, Mecca Masjid, Toli Masjid, Golconda Fort and the Golconda Tombs...

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