What are the historical landmarks of Qutb Shahi architecture? Why is Charminar considered an example of Indo-Islamic architecture? Read further to know more.
The monuments of the Qutb Shahi period represent different building typologies. Golconda Fort, Qutb Shahi Tombs and Charminar, located in Hyderabad, are the landmarks that together symbolize the Qutb Shahi Dynasty (1518 A.D. to 1687 A.D.).
The oldest mosque ever constructed is located inside “The City of Nizams” is called Charminar, which translates to “four minarets” is an enormous example of Indo-Islamic architecture and gives the history of the monument.
Qutub Shahi Dynasty
- One of the five successor kingdoms to the Bahman dynasty was the kingdom of Golconda, ruled by the Qutub Shahi Dynasty (1518–1687), in the southeast Indian region of the Deccan.
- The Qutb Shahi dynasty was founded in 1512 AD by Sultan-Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk, more commonly known in English as “Quli Qutb Shah”.
- Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor, compelled the Qutb Shahis to recognise Mughal suzerainty and pay tribute regularly in 1636.
- The Dynasty’s seven kings presided for 170 years while successfully repelling the Mughal invasion until 1687 A.D. The Mughal Empire’s final kingdom to be absorbed was this one.
- When the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb detained and imprisoned Abul Hasan for the remainder of his life in Daulatabad, merging Golconda into the Mughal empire, the dynasty came to an end in 1687 under the reign of its seventh sultan, Abul Hasan Qutb Shah.
- The kingdom included portions of what are now the states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Odisha.
- The Adil Shahis and Nizam Shahis were in constant battle with the Golconda sultanate.
- Hyderabad was the seat of government for the Qutb Shahis, the Asaf Jahi Nizams, and is currently the state capital of Telangana.
Monuments Of The Qutb Shahi Architecture
Different architectural typologies are represented by the monuments from the Qutb Shahi era. The Qutb shahi architecture is represented by the Hyderabad landmarks Golconda Fort, Qutb Shahi Tombs, and Charminar (1518 A.D. to 1687 A.D.).
Golconda Fort of Qutb Shahi Architecture:
- The Qutb Shahi dynasty’s early capital of Golconda is a walled castle. It is situated in Hyderabad’s western region.
- It was established on a hilltop around the year 1143 and was first known as Mankal. Under the rule of Rajah of Warangal, it was initially a mud fort.
- The Qutub Shahi dynasty and the Bahmani Sultans later reinforced it between the 14th and 17th centuries.
- The main residence of the Qutub Shahi kings was Golconda.
- The Golconda Fort encloses a mediaeval Islamic village within its seven-kilometre-long stone defences.
- The historical Qutb shahi architecture includes funerary baths, silos, mosques, gardens, residential sections, pavilions, and royal courts in addition to military and defensive fortifications. This diversity of buildings illustrates how a mediaeval fortified town in India functioned.
- A palace and mosque remain, as well as a hilltop pavilion that stands around 130 metres high and provides a birds-eye perspective of other structures, which can be found in the inner fort.
- At one time, the fort was home to priceless jewels including the Hope, Nassak, and Koh-i-Noor diamonds, which are among India’s most valuable stones.
Qutb Shahi Tombs
- The Qutb Shahi Tombs are two kilometres from the Golconda Fort and feature Persian, Hindu, and Pathani architectural influences.
- Many rulers who ruled the state in the 18th century were involved in the planning and construction of the tombs.
- The tombs themselves are devoted to the seven Qutub Shahi rulers who ruled Golconda for 170 years, and their magnificence is nestled inside the lovely and picturesque environment and gardens of Ibrahim Bagh.
- Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah, the man who founded Hyderabad, has one of the most spectacular tombs, which is 42 metres tall.
- The Qutb Shahi Tombs are a mausoleum complex, a royal necropolis (cemetery), mortuary baths, and mosques in addition to the tombs of the Royal family and the servants who faithfully served them.
- The complex includes a funeral bath, 30 tombs, and mosques. The Qutb Shahi tombs are the largest and most epigraphically documented dynasty necropolis in all of India, and they jointly represent an outstanding example of an Indo-Muslim dynastic necropolis, showing the elegance of Qutb shahi architecture.
- The tombs are beautiful constructions with elaborate stone carvings. The tombs have a unique design that combines Persian, Pathan, and Hindu features.
- These tombs were built out of grey granite that had stucco (a sturdy outside wall finish) ornamentation on them.
- The graves are arranged in a big groups and are elevated. They have pointed arches surrounding domed constructions with square bases.
- A broad quadrangular terrace with steps leading up to it surrounds each tomb, which is situated there. The larger tombs have two stories in their galleries, but the smaller ones have a single story.
- The Charminar was built in 1591 after Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the fifth ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, moved his headquarters from Golkonda to Hyderabad.
- The Charminar was constructed in 1591 CE to commemorate the beginning of the second Islamic millennium year, according to Jean de Thévenot, a French traveller of the 17th century whose narrative was supported by easily accessible Persian literature.
- The episode was highly regarded throughout the Islamic world, therefore Qutb Shah founded the city of Hyderabad to honour it by erecting this monument.
- At the intersection of an ancient trade route that links the city to markets abroad via the port city of Machilipatnam, the Charminar was constructed.
- The Charminar was constructed to serve as the hub of Hyderabad’s Old City.
- Its structure has Persian architectural traits and an Indo-Islamic aesthetic. A sample was said to have been prepared at the Dabirpura/Nagabola graveyard before the Charminar was ever built.
- Its construction date, which coincides with the start of the second Islamic millennium, an occasion that was widely observed in the Islamic world, suggests that Hyderabad was planned to be a “Millennial” metropolis.
- Due to its design, it is frequently referred to as the Arc de Triomphe of the East. It was the zenith of Qutb shahi architecture.
- It was the first monument ever built utilising a lime mortar and granite, and it wasn’t until it was finished that architects all over the world realised how effective lime mortar was for building massive monuments.
- With its four entrances facing the cardinal directions, it serves as the city’s symbolic fulcrum and is located at the intersection of two major axes in Hyderabad’s old city.
- The planning grid that dictated Hyderabad’s layout has a starting point and reference point in Charminar.
- It is now officially recognised as the Telangana Emblem for the state of Telangana.
Indo-Islamic Architectural Features of Charminar
- The Charminar Masjid is a square structure with sides that are 20 metres (66 feet) long.
One of four spectacular arches, one on each of the four sides, faces a central point and opens straight into the street in front.
- At each corner is a beautifully sculpted, 56-meter-tall (approximately 184-foot) minaret with a double balcony.
- Each minaret’s bulbous dome is crowned with little, petal-like embellishments at the base.
Unlike the Taj Mahal’s minarets, the Charminar’s four fluted minarets are a part of the main structure.
- 149 spiral staircases lead up to the upper story. Equally noteworthy are the positioning of balconies and balustrades as well as the stucco embellishments on the building.
- The monument was constructed using about 14,000 tonnes of granite, limestone, mortar, and marble showing the elegance of Qutb shahi architecture.
- The fort’s four huge arches, each of which faced one of the busiest royal ancestral roads, provided panoramic views of Hyderabad’s bustling city when it first stood.
- A mosque is located at the westernmost point of the open roof. The last intact portion of the roof served as a royal court throughout the Qutb Shahi era. The fourth floor of the four-story building houses the actual mosque.
- The four cardinal directions clocks were installed in 1889. Amid the Charminar mosque, there is a vazu (water cistern) with a small fountain for ablution before prayer.
- Along with the Golconda Fort and the Qutb Shahi Tombs in Hyderabad, Charminar was included in the “tentative list” of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- The monument was proposed on September 10, 2010, by India’s Permanent Delegation to UNESCO.
The heart of the city beats to the beat of the Charminar, a priceless gem of Hyderabad and a source of national pride for India. It was a gift from the Qutb Shahi Dynasty to honour the splendour of the Sultanate.
The oldest mosque ever constructed in the “City of Nizams” is located inside this enormous example of Indo-Islamic architecture called a Charminar, which translates to “four minarets” and gives the history of the monument. The heritage nature of the two places must be preserved through collaboration between residents and governmental organisations.
Article written by Aseem Muhammed