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Delhi Sultanate

The Delhi Sultanate was a Muslim sultanate based mostly in Delhi that stretched over large parts of the Indian subcontinent for 320 years (1206–1526).[5] [6] Five dynasties ruled over the Delhi Sultanate sequentially: the Mamluk dynasty (1206–90), the Khalji dynasty (1290–1320), the Tughlaq dynasty (1320–1414),[7] the Sayyid dynasty (1414–51), and the Lodi dynasty (1451–1526). The sultanate is noted for being one of the few states to repel an attack by the Mongol Empire,[8] and enthroned one of the few female rulers in Islamic history, Razia Sultana, who reigned from 1236 to 1240.[9]

Qutb al-Din Aibak, a former Turkic Mamluk slave of Muhammad Ghori, was the first sultan of Delhi, and his Mamluk dynasty conquered large areas of northern India. Afterwards, the Khalji dynasty was also able to conquer most of central India, but both failed to conquer the whole of the Indian subcontinent. The sultanate reached the peak of its geographical reach during the Tughlaq dynasty, occupying most of the Indian subcontinent.[10] This was followed by decline due to Hindu reconquests, states such as the Vijayanagara Empire asserting independence, and new Muslim sultanates such as the Bengal Sultanate breaking off.[11] [12]

During and in the Delhi Sultanate, there was a synthesis of Indian civilization with that of Islamic civilization, and the further integration of the Indian subcontinent with a growing world system and wider international networks spanning large parts of Afro-Eurasia, which had a significant impact on Indian culture and society, as well as the wider world.[13] The time of their rule included the earliest forms of Indo-Islamic architecture,[14] [15] increased growth rates in India's population and economy,[16] and the emergence of the Hindi-Urdu language.[17] The Delhi Sultanate was also responsible for repelling the Mongol Empire's potentially devastating invasions of India in the 13th and 14th centuries.[18] However, the Delhi Sultanate also caused large scale destruction and desecration of temples in the Indian subcontinent.[19] In 1526, the Sultanate was conquered and succeeded by the Mughal Empire.


The context behind the rise of the Delhi Sultanate in India was part of a wider trend affecting much of the Asian continent, including the whole of southern and western Asia: the influx of nomadic Turkic peoples from the Central Asian steppes. This can be traced back to the 9th century, when the Islamic Caliphate began fragmenting in the Middle East, where Muslim rulers in rival states began enslaving non-Muslim nomadic Turks from the Central Asian steppes, and raising many of them to become loyal military slaves called Mamluks. Soon, Turks were migrating to Muslim lands and becoming Islamicized. Many of the Turkic Mamluk slaves eventually rose up to become rulers, and conquered large parts of the Muslim world, establishing Mamluk Sultanates from Egypt to Afghanistan, before turning their attention to the Indian subcontinent.[18]

It is also part of a longer trend predating the spread of Islam. Like other settled, agrarian societies in history, those in the Indian subcontinent have been attacked by nomadic tribes throughout its long history. In evaluating the impact of Islam on the subcontinent, one must note that the northwestern subcontinent was a frequent target of tribes raiding from Central Asia in the pre-Islamic era. In that sense, the Muslim intrusions and later Muslim invasions were not dissimilar to those of the earlier invasions during the 1st millennium.[20]

By 962 AD, Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms in South Asia were under a wave of raids from Muslim armies from Central Asia.[21] Among them was Mahmud of Ghazni, the son of a Turkic Mamluk military slave,[22] who raided and plundered kingdoms in north India from east of the Indus river to west of Yamuna river seventeen times between 997 and 1030.[23] Mahmud of Ghazni raided the treasuries but retracted each time, only extending Islamic rule into western Punjab.[24] [25]

The wave of raids on north Indian and western Indian kingdoms by Muslim warlords continued after Mahmud of Ghazni.[26] The raids did not establish or extend permanent boundaries of their Islamic kingdoms. The Ghurid sultan Mu'izz ad-Din Muhammad Ghori, commonly known as Muhammad of Ghor, began a systematic war of expansion into north India in 1173.[27] He sought to carve out a principality for himself by expanding the Islamic world.[23] [28] Muhammad of Ghor sought a Sunni Islamic kingdom of his own extending east of the Indus river, and he thus laid the foundation for the Muslim kingdom called the Delhi Sultanate.[23] Some historians chronicle the Delhi Sultanate from 1192 due to the presence and geographical claims of Muhammad Ghori in South Asia by that time.[29]

Ghori was assassinated in 1206, by Ismāʿīlī Shia Muslims in some accounts or by Hindu Khokhars in others.[30] After the assassination, one of Ghori's slaves (or mamluks, Arabic: مملوك), the Turkic Qutb al-Din Aibak, assumed power, becoming the first Sultan of Delhi.[23]

Sultans of Delhi Sultanate
Sultans (Kings/Rulers) King in Death Note
Qutb-ud-din Aibak 1206 1210 First Sultan
Aram Shah 1210 1211
Iltutmish 1211 1236
Rukn-ud-din Firuz 1236 1236
Razia Sultan 1236 1240 Lady Ruler
Muiz ud din Bahram 1240 1243
Ala ud din Masud 1243 1249
Nasir ud din Mahmud 1249 1266
Ghiyas ud din Balban 1266 1287
Muiz ud din Qaiqabad 1287 1290
Jalaluddin Khilji 1290 1296
Alauddin Khilji 1296 1316
Shihabuddin Omar 1316 1316
Qutb-ud-din Mubarak 1316 1320
Khusrau Khan 1320 1321
Delhi Sultanate
Ruling dynasties

Mamluk / Slave

Qutb al-Din Aibak, a former slave of Mu'izz ad-Din Muhammad Ghori (known more commonly as Muhammad of Ghor), was the first ruler of the Delhi Sultanate. Aibak was of Cuman-Kipchak (Turkic) origin, and due to his lineage, his dynasty is known as the Mamluk (Slave) dynasty (not to be confused with the Mamluk dynasty of Iraq or the Mamluk dynasty of Egypt).[31] Aibak reigned as the Sultan of Delhi for four years, from 1206 to 1210.

After Aibak died, Aram Shah assumed power in 1210, but he was assassinated in 1211 by Shams ud-Din Iltutmish.[32] Iltutmish's power was precarious, and a number of Muslim amirs (nobles) challenged his authority as they had been supporters of Qutb al-Din Aibak. After a series of conquests and brutal executions of opposition, Iltutmish consolidated his power.[33] His rule was challenged a number of times, such as by Qubacha, and this led to a series of wars.[34] Iltumish conquered Multan and Bengal from contesting Muslim rulers, as well as Ranthambore and Siwalik from the Hindu rulers. He also attacked, defeated, and executed Taj al-Din Yildiz, who asserted his rights as heir to Mu'izz ad-Din Muhammad Ghori.[35] Iltutmish's rule lasted till 1236. Following his death, the Delhi Sultanate saw a succession of weak rulers, disputing Muslim nobility, assassinations, and short-lived tenures. Power shifted from Rukn ud-Din Firuz to Razia Sultana and others, until Ghiyas ud-Din Balban came to power and ruled from 1266 to 1287.[34] [35] He was succeeded by 17-year-old Muiz ud-Din Qaiqabad, who appointed Jalal ud-Din Firuz Khalji as the commander of the army. Khalji assassinated Qaiqabad and assumed power, thus ending the Mamluk dynasty and starting the Khalji dynasty.

Qutb al-Din Aibak initiated the construction of the Qutub Minar[36] and the Quwwat-ul-Islam (Might of Islam) Mosque, now a UNESCO world heritage site.[37] It was built from the remains of twenty seven demolished Hindu and Jain temples. The Qutub Minar Complex or Qutb Complex was expanded by Iltutmish, and later by Ala ud-Din Khalji (the second ruler of the Khalji dynasty) in the early 14th century.[37] [38] During the Mamluk dynasty, many nobles from Afghanistan and Persia migrated and settled in India, as West Asia came under Mongol siege.[39]

Alai Gate and Qutub Minar were built during the Mamluk and Khalji dynasties of the Delhi Sultanate.[37]

The Khalji dynasty was of Turko-Afghan heritage.[40] [41] [42] [43] They trace their roots to Central Asia and were originally of Turkic origin.[44] They had long been settled in present-day Afghanistan before proceeding to Delhi in India. The name "Khalji" refers to an Afghan village or town known as Qalat-e Khalji (Fort of Ghilji).[45] Sometimes they were treated by others as ethnic Afghans due to their adoption of Afghan habits and customs.[46] [47] As a result of this, the dynasty is sometimes referred to as Turko-Afghan.[41] [42] [43] The dynasty later also had Indian ancestry, through Jhatyapali (daughter of Ramachandra of Devagiri), wife of Alauddin Khalji and mother of Shihabuddin Omar.[48]

The first ruler of the Khalji dynasty was Jalal ud-Din Firuz Khalji. He came to power in 1290 after killing the last ruler of the Mamluk dynasty, Muiz ud-Din Qaiqabad, at the behest of Turkic, Afghan and Persian nobles. He was around 70 years old at the time of his ascension, and was known as a mild-mannered, humble and kind monarch to the general public.[49] [50] Jalal ud-Din Firuz was of Turko Afghan origin,[51] [52] [53] and ruled for 6 years before he was murdered in 1296 by his nephew and son-in-law Juna Muhammad Khalji,[54] who later came to be known as Ala ud-Din Khalji.

Ala ud-Din began his military career as governor of Kara province, from where he led two raids on Malwa (1292) and Devagiri (1294) for plunder and loot. His military campaigning returned to these lands as well other south Indian kingdoms after he assumed power. He conquered Gujarat, Ranthambore, Chittor, and Malwa.[55] However, these victories were cut short because of Mongol attacks and plunder raids from the northwest. The Mongols withdrew after plundering and stopped raiding northwest parts of the Delhi Sultanate.[56]

After the Mongols withdrew, Ala ud-Din Khalji continued expanding the Delhi Sultanate into southern India with the help of generals such as Malik Kafur and Khusro Khan. They collected lots of war booty (anwatan) from those they defeated.[57] His commanders collected war spoils and paid ghanima (Arabic: الْغَنيمَة, a tax on spoils of war), which helped strengthen the Khalji rule. Among the spoils was the Warangal loot that included the famous Koh-i-noor diamond.[58]

Ala ud-Din Khalji changed tax policies, raising agriculture taxes from 20% to 50% (payable in grain and agricultural produce), eliminating payments and commissions on taxes collected by local chiefs, banned socialization among his officials as well as inter-marriage between noble families to help prevent any opposition forming against him, and he cut salaries of officials, poets, and scholars.[54] These tax policies and spending controls strengthened his treasury to pay the keep of his growing army; he also introduced price controls on all agriculture produce and goods in the kingdom, as well as controls on where, how, and by whom these goods could be sold. Markets called "shahana-i-mandi" were created.[59] Muslim merchants were granted exclusive permits and monopoly in these "mandis" to buy and resell at official prices. No one other than these merchants could buy from farmers or sell in cities. Those found violating these "mandi" rules were severely punished, often by mutilation. Taxes collected in the form of grain were stored in the kingdom's storage. During famines that followed, these granaries ensured sufficient food for the army.[54]

Historians note Ala ud-Din Khalji as being a tyrant. Anyone Ala ud-Din suspected of being a threat to this power was killed along with the women and children of that family. In 1298, between 15,000 and 30,000 people near Delhi, who had recently converted to Islam, were slaughtered in a single day, due to fears of an uprising.[60] He is also known for his cruelty against kingdoms he defeated in battle.

After Ala ud-Din's death in 1316, his eunuch general Malik Kafur, who was born in a Hindu family in India and had converted to Islam, tried to assume power. He lacked the support of Persian and Turkic nobility and was subsequently killed.[54] The last Khalji ruler was Ala ud-Din Khalji's 18-year-old son Qutb ud-Din Mubarak Shah Khalji, who ruled for four years before he was killed by Khusro Khan, another of Ala ud-Din's generals. Khusro Khan's reign lasted only a few months, when Ghazi Malik, later to be called Ghiyath al-Din Tughlaq, killed him and assumed power in 1320, thus ending the Khalji dynasty and starting the Tughlaq dynasty.[39] [60]

Delhi Sultanate from 1321-1330 AD under the Tughlaq dynasty. After 1330, various regions rebelled against the Sultanate and the kingdom shrank.

The Tughlaq dynasty lasted from 1320 to nearly the end of the 14th century. The first ruler Ghazi Malik rechristened himself as Ghiyath al-Din Tughlaq and is also referred to in scholarly works as Tughlak Shah. He was of Turko-Indian origins; his father was a Turkic slave and his mother was a Hindu.[1] Ghiyath al-Din ruled for five years and built a town near Delhi named Tughlaqabad. According to some historians such as Vincent Smith,[61] he was killed by his son Juna Khan, who then assumed power in 1325. Juna Khan rechristened himself as Muhammad bin Tughlaq and ruled for 26 years.[62] During his rule, Delhi Sultanate reached its peak in terms of geographical reach, covering most of the Indian subcontinent.[10]

Muhammad bin Tughlaq was an intellectual, with extensive knowledge of the Quran, Fiqh, poetry and other fields. He was also deeply suspicious of his kinsmen and wazirs (ministers), extremely severe with his opponents, and took decisions that caused economic upheaval. For example, he ordered minting of coins from base metals with face value of silver coins - a decision that failed because ordinary people minted counterfeit coins from base metal they had in their houses and used them to pay taxes and jizya.[10] [61]

Muhammad bin Tughlaq moved his capital to the Deccan Plateau, and build a new capital called Daulatabad (shown). He later reversed his decision because Daulatabad lacked the fresh water supply that Delhi had.[61]
A base metal coin of Muhammad bin Tughlaq that led to an economic collapse.

On another occasion, after becoming upset by some accounts, or to run the Sultanate from the center of India by other accounts, Muhammad bin Tughlaq ordered the transfer of his capital from Delhi to Devagiri in modern-day Maharashtra (renaming it to Daulatabad), by forcing the mass migration of Delhi's population. Those who refused were killed. One blind person who failed to move to Daulatabad was dragged for the entire journey of 40 days - the man died, his body fell apart, and only his tied leg reached Daulatabad.[61] The capital move failed because Daulatabad was arid and did not have enough drinking water to support the new capital. The capital then returned to Delhi. Nevertheless, Muhammad bin Tughlaq's orders affected history as a large number of Delhi Muslims who came to the Deccan area did not return to Delhi to live near Muhammad bin Tughlaq. This influx of the then-Delhi residents into the Deccan region led to a growth of Muslim population in central and southern India.[10] Muhammad bin Tughlaq's adventures in the Deccan region also marked campaigns of destruction and desecration of Hindu and Jain temples, for example the Swayambhu Shiva Temple and the Thousand Pillar Temple.[63]

Revolts against Muhammad bin Tughlaq began in 1327, continued over his reign, and over time the geographical reach of the Sultanate shrunk. The Vijayanagara Empire originated in southern India as a direct response to attacks from the Delhi Sultanate.,[64] and liberated south India from the Delhi Sultanate's rule.[65] In 1337, Muhammad bin Tughlaq ordered an attack on China, sending part of his forces over the Himalayas. Few survived the journey, and they were executed upon their return for failing.[61] During his reign, state revenues collapsed from his policies such as the base metal coins from 1329-1332. To cover state expenses, he sharply raised taxes. Those who failed to pay taxes were hunted and executed. Famines, widespread poverty, and rebellion grew across the kingdom. In 1338 his own nephew rebelled in Malwa, whom he attacked, caught, and flayed alive. By 1339, the eastern regions under local Muslim governors and southern parts led by Hindu kings had revolted and declared independence from the Delhi Sultanate. Muhammad bin Tughlaq did not have the resources or support to respond to the shrinking kingdom.[66] The historian Walford chronicled Delhi and most of India faced severe famines during Muhammad bin Tughlaq's rule in the years after the base metal coin experiment.[67] [68] By 1347, the Bahmani Sultanate had become an independent and competing Muslim kingdom in Deccan region of South Asia.[21]

The Tughlaq dynasty is remembered for its architectural patronage, particularly for ancient lats (pillars, left image),[69] dated to be from the 3rd century BC, and of Buddhist and Hindu origins. The Sultanate initially wanted to use the pillars to make mosque minarets. Firuz Shah Tughlaq decided otherwise and had them installed near mosques. The meaning of Brahmi script on the pillar at right was unknown in Firuz Shah's time.[70] The inscription was deciphered by James Prinsep in 1837; the pillar script of Emperor Ashoka asked people of his and future generations to seek a dharmic (virtuous) life, use persuasion in religion, grant freedom from religious persecution, stop all killing, and be compassionate to all living beings.[71]

Muhammad bin Tughlaq died in 1351 while trying to chase and punish people in Gujarat who were rebelling against the Delhi Sultanate.[66] He was succeeded by Firuz Shah Tughlaq (1351–1388), who tried to regain the old kingdom boundary by waging a war with Bengal for 11 months in 1359. However, Bengal did not fall. Firuz Shah ruled for 37 years. His reign attempted to stabilize the food supply and reduce famines by commissioning an irrigation canal from the Yamuna river. An educated sultan, Firuz Shah left a memoir.[72] In it he wrote that he banned the practice of torture, such as amputations, tearing out of eyes, sawing people alive, crushing people's bones as punishment, pouring molten lead into throats, setting people on fire, driving nails into hands and feet, among others.[73] He also wrote that he did not tolerate attempts by Rafawiz Shia Muslim and Mahdi sects from proselytizing people into their faith, nor did he tolerate Hindus who tried to rebuild temples that his armies had destroyed.[74] As punishment for proselytizing, Firuz Shah put many Shias, Mahdi, and Hindus to death (siyasat). Firuz Shah Tughlaq also lists his accomplishments to include converting Hindus to Sunni Islam by announcing an exemption from taxes and jizya for those who convert, and by lavishing new converts with presents and honours. Simultaneously, he raised taxes and jizya, assessing it at three levels, and stopping the practice of his predecessors who had historically exempted all Hindu Brahmins from the jizya.[73] [75] He also vastly expanded the number of slaves in his service and those of Muslim nobles. The reign of Firuz Shah Tughlaq was marked by reduction in extreme forms of torture, eliminating favours to select parts of society, but also increased intolerance and persecution of targeted groups.[73]

The death of Firuz Shah Tughlaq created anarchy and disintegration of the kingdom. The last rulers of this dynasty both called themselves Sultan from 1394 to 1397: Nasir ud-Din Mahmud Shah Tughlaq, the grandson of Firuz Shah Tughlaq who ruled from Delhi, and Nasir ud-Din Nusrat Shah Tughlaq, another relative of Firuz Shah Tughlaq who ruled from Firozabad, which was a few miles from Delhi.[76] The battle between the two relatives continued till Timur's invasion in 1398. Timur, also known as Tamerlane in Western scholarly literature, was the Turkic ruler of the Timurid Empire. He became aware of the weakness and quarreling of the rulers of the Delhi Sultanate, so he marched with his army to Delhi, plundering and killing all the way.[77] [78] Estimates for the massacre by Timur in Dehli range from 100,000 to 200,000 people.[79] [80] Timur had no intention of staying in or ruling India. He looted the lands he crossed, then plundered and burnt Delhi. Over five days, Timur and his army raged a massacre. Then he collected and carried the wealth, captured women and slaves (particularly skilled artisans), and returned to Samarkand. The people and lands within the Delhi Sultanate were left in a state of anarchy, chaos, and pestilence.[76] Nasir ud-Din Mahmud Shah Tughlaq, who had fled to Gujarat during Timur's invasion, returned and nominally ruled as the last ruler of Tughlaq dynasty, as a puppet of various factions at the court.[81]


The Sayyid dynasty was a Turkic dynasty[82] that ruled the Delhi Sultanate from 1415 to 1451.[21] The Timurid invasion and plunder had left the Delhi Sultanate in shambles, and little is known about the rule by the Sayyid dynasty. Annemarie Schimmel notes the first ruler of the dynasty as Khizr Khan, who assumed power by claiming to represent Timur. His authority was questioned even by those near Delhi. His successor was Mubarak Khan, who rechristened himself as Mubarak Shah and tried to regain lost territories in Punjab, unsuccessfully.[81]

With the power of the Sayyid dynasty faltering, Islam's history on the Indian subcontinent underwent a profound change, according to Schimmel.[81] The previously dominant Sunni sect of Islam became diluted, alternate Muslim sects such as Shia rose, and new competing centers of Islamic culture took roots beyond Delhi.

The Sayyid dynasty was displaced by the Lodi dynasty in 1451.

Delhi Sultanate during Babur's invasion.

The Lodi dynasty belonged to the Pashtun[83] (Afghan) Lodi tribe.[82] Bahlul Khan Lodi started the Lodi dynasty and was the first Pashtun, to rule the Delhi Sultanate.[84] Bahlul Lodi began his reign by attacking the Muslim Jaunpur Sultanate to expand the influence of the Delhi Sultanate, and was partially successful through a treaty. Thereafter, the region from Delhi to Varanasi (then at the border of Bengal province), was back under influence of Delhi Sultanate.

After Bahlul Lodi died, his son Nizam Khan assumed power, rechristened himself as Sikandar Lodi and ruled from 1489 to 1517.[85] One of the better known rulers of the dynasty, Sikandar Lodi expelled his brother Barbak Shah from Jaunpur, installed his son Jalal Khan as the ruler, then proceeded east to make claims on Bihar. The Muslim governors of Bihar agreed to pay tribute and taxes, but operated independent of the Delhi Sultanate. Sikandar Lodi led a campaign of destruction of temples, particularly around Mathura. He also moved his capital and court from Delhi to Agra,[86] an ancient Hindu city that had been destroyed during the plunder and attacks of the early Delhi Sultanate period. Sikandar thus erected buildings with Indo-Islamic architecture in Agra during his rule, and the growth of Agra continued during the Mughal Empire, after the end of Delhi Sultanate.[84] [87]

Sikandar Lodi died a natural death in 1517, and his second son Ibrahim Lodi assumed power. Ibrahim did not enjoy the support of Afghan and Persian nobles or regional chiefs.[88] Ibrahim attacked and killed his elder brother Jalal Khan, who was installed as the governor of Jaunpur by his father and had the support of the amirs and chiefs.[84] Ibrahim Lodi was unable to consolidate his power, and after Jalal Khan's death, the governor of Punjab, Daulat Khan Lodi, reached out to the Mughal Babur and invited him to attack Delhi Sultanate.[86] Babur defeated and killed Ibrahim Lodi in the Battle of Panipat in 1526. The death of Ibrahim Lodi ended the Delhi Sultanate, and the Mughal Empire replaced it.


Before and during the Delhi Sultanate, Islamic civilization was the most cosmopolitan civilization of the Middle Ages. It had a multicultural and pluralistic society, and wide-ranging international networks, including social and economic networks, spanning large parts of Afro-Eurasia, leading to escalating circulation of goods, peoples, technologies and ideas. While initially disruptive due to the passing of power from native Indian elites to Turkic Muslim elites, the Delhi Sultanate was responsible for integrating the Indian subcontinent into a growing world system, drawing India into a wider international network, which led to cultural and social enrichment in the Indian subcontinent.[13]

Economist Angus Maddison has estimated that, during the Medieval Delhi Sultanate era, between 1000 and 1500, India's GDP grew nearly 80% up to $60.5 billion in 1500.[16]

The worm gear roller cotton gin was invented in the Indian subcontinent during the early Delhi Sultanate era of the 13th–14th centuries,[89] and is still used in India through to the present day.[90] Another innovation, the incorporation of the crank handle in the cotton gin, first appeared in the Indian subcontinent some time during the late Delhi Sultanate or the early Mughal Empire.[91] The production of cotton, which may have largely been spun in the villages and then taken to towns in the form of yarn to be woven into cloth textiles, was advanced by the diffusion of the spinning wheel across India during the Delhi Sultanate era, lowering the costs of yarn and helping to increase demand for cotton. The diffusion of the spinning wheel, and the incorporation of the worm gear and crank handle into the roller cotton gin, led to greatly expanded Indian cotton textile production.[92]


The Indian population had largely been stagnant at 75 million during the Middle Kingdoms era from 1 AD to 1000 AD. During the Medieval Delhi Sultanate era from 1000 to 1500, India experienced lasting population growth for the first time in a thousand years, with its population increasing nearly 50% to 110 million by 1500 AD.[93] [94]


While the Indian subcontinent has had invaders from Central Asia since ancient times, what made the Muslim invasions different is that unlike the preceding invaders who assimilated into the prevalent social system, the successful Muslim conquerors retained their Islamic identity and created new legal and administrative systems that challenged and usually in many cases superseded the existing systems of social conduct and ethics, even influencing the non-Muslim rivals and common masses to a large extent, though the non-Muslim population was left to their own laws and customs.[95] [96] They also introduced new cultural codes that in some ways were very different from the existing cultural codes. This led to the rise of a new Indian culture which was mixed in nature, different from ancient Indian culture. The overwhelming majority of Muslims in India were Indian natives converted to Islam. This factor also played an important role in the synthesis of cultures.[97]

The Hindustani language (Hindi-Urdu) began to emerge in the Delhi Sultanate period, developed from the Middle Indo-Aryan apabhramsha vernaculars of North India. Amir Khusro, who lived in the 13th century CE during the Delhi Sultanate period in North India, used a form of Hindustani, which was the lingua franca of the period, in his writings and referred to it as Hindavi.[17]


The bulk of Delhi Sultanate's army consisted of nomadic Turkic Mamluk military slaves, who were skilled in nomadic cavalry warfare. A major military contribution of the Delhi Sultanate was their successful campaigns in repelling the Mongol Empire's invasions of India, which could have been devastating for the Indian subcontinent, like the Mongol invasions of China, Persia and Europe. The Delhi Sultanate's Mamluk army were skilled in the same style of nomadic cavalry warfare used by the Mongols, making them successful in repelling the Mongol invasions, as was the case for the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt. Were it not for the Delhi Sultanate, it is possible that the Mongol Empire may have been successful in invading India.[18]

Temple desecration
The Somnath Temple in Gujarat was repeatedly destroyed by Islamic armies and rebuilt by Hindus. It was destroyed by Delhi Sultanate's army in 1299 AD.[98]

Historian Richard Eaton has tabulated a campaign of destruction of idols and temples by Delhi Sultans, intermixed with instances of years where the temples were protected from desecration.[19] [99] [100] In his paper, he has listed 37 instances of Hindu temples being desecrated or destroyed in India during the Delhi Sultanate, from 1234 to 1518, for which reasonable evidences are available.[101] [102] [103] He also noted there were also many instances of Delhi sultans, who often had Hindu ministers, ordering the protection, maintenance and repairing of temples, according to both Muslim and Hindu sources. For example, a Sanskrit inscription notes that Sultan Muhammad bin Tughluq repaired a Siva temple in Bidar after his Deccan conquest. There was often a pattern of Delhi sultans plundering or damaging temples during conquest, and then patronizing or repairing temples after conquest. This pattern came to an end with the Mughal Empire, where Akbar the Great's chief minister Abu'l-Fazl criticized the excesses of earlier sultans such as Mahmud of Ghazni.[104]

In many cases, the demolished remains, rocks and broken statue pieces of temples destroyed by Delhi sultans were reused to build mosques and other buildings. For example, the Qutb complex in Delhi was built from stones of 27 demolished Hindu and Jain temples by some accounts.[105] Similarly, the Muslim mosque in Khanapur, Maharashtra was built from the looted parts and demolished remains of Hindu temples.[39] Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji destroyed Buddhist and Hindu libraries and their manuscripts at Nalanda and Odantapuri Universities in 1193 AD at the beginning of the Delhi Sultanate.[63] [106]

The first historical record of a campaign of destruction of temples and defacement of faces or heads of Hindu idols lasted from 1193 through the early 13th century in Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh under the command of Ghuri. Under the Khaljis, the campaign of temple desecration expanded to Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra, and continued through the late 13th century.[19] The campaign extended to Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu under Malik Kafur and Ulugh Khan in the 14th century, and by the Bahmanis in 15th century.[63] Orissa temples were destroyed in the 14th century under the Tughlaqs.

Beyond destruction and desecration, the sultans of the Delhi Sultanate in some cases had forbidden reconstruction of damaged Hindu, Jain and Buddhist temples, and they prohibited repairs of old temples or construction of any new temples.[107] [108] In certain cases, the Sultanate would grant a permit for repairs and construction of temples if the patron or religious community paid jizya (fee, tax). For example, a proposal by the Chinese to repair Himalayan Buddhist temples destroyed by the Sultanate army was refused, on the grounds that such temple repairs were only allowed if the Chinese agreed to pay jizya tax to the treasury of the Sultanate.[109] [110] In his memoirs, Firoz Shah Tughlaq describes how he destroyed temples and built mosques instead and killed those who dared build new temples.[111] Other historical records from wazirs, amirs and the court historians of various Sultans of the Delhi Sultanate describe the grandeur of idols and temples they witnessed in their campaigns and how these were destroyed and desecrated.[112]

Temple desecration during Delhi Sultanate period, a list prepared by Richard Eaton in Temple Desecration and Indo-Muslim States[19] [113]
Sultan / Agent Dynasty Years Temple Sites Destroyed States
Muhammad Ghori, Qutb al-Din Aibak Mamluk 1193-1290 Ajmer, Samana, Kuhram, Delhi, Kol, Varanasi Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh
Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji, Shams ud-Din Iltumish, Jalal ud-Din Firuz Khalji, Ala ud-Din Khalji, Malik Kafur Mamluk and Khalji 1290-1320 Nalanda, Odantapuri, Vikramashila, Bhilsa, Ujjain, Jhain, Vijapur, Devagiri, Somnath, Chidambaram, Madurai Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu
Ulugh Khan, Firuz Shah Tughlaq, Nahar, Muzaffar Khan Khalji and Tughlaq 1320-1395[114] Somnath, Warangal, Bodhan, Pillalamarri, Puri, Sainthali, Idar, Somnath[115] Gujarat, Telangana, Orissa, Haryana
Sikandar, Muzaffar Shah, Ahmad Shah, Mahmud Sayyid 1400-1442 Paraspur, Bijbehara, Tripuresvara, Idar, Diu, Manvi, Sidhpur, Delwara, Kumbhalmer Gujarat, Rajasthan
Suhrab, Begdha, Bahmani, Khalil Shah, Khawwas Khan, Sikandar Lodi, Ibrahim Lodi Lodi 1457-1518 Mandalgarh, Malan, Dwarka, Kondapalle, Kanchi, Amod, Nagarkot, Utgir, Narwar, Gwalior Rajasthan, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh
See also
  1. Jamal Malik (2008). Islam in South Asia: A Short History. Brill Publishers. p. 104.
  2. "Arabic and Persian Epigraphical Studies - Archaeological Survey of India".
  3. Alam, Muzaffar (1998). "The pursuit of Persian: Language in Mughal Politics". Modern Asian Studies. Cambridge University Press. 32 (2): 317–349. doi:10.1017/s0026749x98002947. Hindavi was recognized as a semi-official language by the Sor Sultans (1540-55) and their chancellery rescripts bore transcriptions in the Devanagari script of the Persian contents. The practice is said to have been introduced by the Lodis (1451-1526).
  4. Jackson, Peter (16 October 2003). The Delhi Sultanate: A Political and Military History. Cambridge University Press. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-521-54329-3.
  5. Delhi Sultanate, Encyclopædia Britannica
  6. A. Schimmel, Islam in the Indian Subcontinent, Leiden, 1980
  7. Sen, Sailendra (2013). A Textbook of Medieval Indian History. Primus Books. pp. 68–102. ISBN 978-9-38060-734-4.
  8. Pradeep Barua The State at War in South Asia, ISBN 978-0803213449, p. 29-30
  9. Bowering et al., The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, ISBN 978-0691134840, Princeton University Press
  10. Muḥammad ibn Tughluq Encyclopædia Britannica
  11. Hermann Kulke and Dietmar Rothermund, A History of India, 3rd Edition, Routledge, 1998, ISBN 0-415-15482-0, pp 187-190
  12. Vincent A Smith, The Oxford History of India: From the Earliest Times to the End of 1911, p. 217, at Google Books, Chapter 2, Oxford University Press
  13. Asher, C. B.; Talbot, C (1 January 2008), India Before Europe (1st ed.), Cambridge University Press, pp. 50–52, ISBN 978-0-521-51750-8
  14. A. Welch, "Architectural Patronage and the Past: The Tughluq Sultans of India," Muqarnas 10, 1993, Brill Publishers, pp 311-322
  15. J. A. Page, Guide to the Qutb, Delhi, Calcutta, 1927, page 2-7
  16. Madison, Angus (6 December 2007). Contours of the world economy, 1–2030 AD: essays in macro-economic history. Oxford University Press. p. 379. ISBN 0-19-922720-9.
  17. Keith Brown; Sarah Ogilvie (2008), Concise Encyclopedia of Languages of the World, Elsevier, ISBN 0-08-087774-5, ... Apabhramsha seemed to be in a state of transition from Middle Indo-Aryan to the New Indo-Aryan stage. Some elements of Hindustani appear ... the distinct form of the lingua franca Hindustani appears in the writings of Amir Khusro (1253–1325), who called it Hindwi ...
  18. Asher, C. B.; Talbot, C (1 January 2008), India Before Europe (1st ed.), Cambridge University Press, pp. 19, 50–51, ISBN 978-0-521-51750-8
  19. Richard Eaton (2000), Temple Desecration and Indo-Muslim States, Journal of Islamic Studies, 11(3), pp 283-319
  20. Richard M. Frye, "Pre-Islamic and Early Islamic Cultures in Central Asia", in Turko-Persia in Historical Perspective, ed. Robert L. Canfield (Cambridge U. Press c. 1991), 35–53.
  21. See:
    • M. Reza Pirbha, Reconsidering Islam in a South Asian Context, ISBN 978-9004177581, Brill
    • The Islamic frontier in the east: Expansion into South Asia, Journal of South Asian Studies, 4(1), pp. 91-109
    • Sookoohy M., Bhadreswar - Oldest Islamic Monuments in India, ISBN 978-9004083417, Brill Academic; see discussion of earliest raids in Gujarat
  22. Asher, C. B.; Talbot, C (1 January 2008), India Before Europe (1st ed.), Cambridge University Press, p. 19, ISBN 978-0-521-51750-8
  23. Peter Jackson 2003, pp. 3-30.
  24. T. A. Heathcote, The Military in British India: The Development of British Forces in South Asia:1600-1947, (Manchester University Press, 1995), pp 5-7
  25. Barnett, Lionel (1999), Antiquities of India: An Account of the History and Culture of Ancient Hindustan, p. 1, at Google Books, Atlantic pp. 73–79
  26. Richard Davis (1994), Three styles in looting India, History and Anthropology, 6(4), pp 293-317, doi:10.1080/02757206.1994.9960832
  27. MUHAMMAD B. SAM Mu'izz AL-DIN, T.W. Haig, Encyclopaedia of Islam, Vol. VII, ed. C.E.Bosworth, E.van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs and C. Pellat, (Brill, 1993)
  28. C.E. Bosworth, The Cambridge History of Iran, Vol. 5, ed. J. A. Boyle, John Andrew Boyle, (Cambridge University Press, 1968), pp 161-170
  29. History of South Asia: A Chronological Outline Columbia University (2010)
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  39. Welch, Anthony; Crane, Howard (1983). "The Tughluqs: Master Builders of the Delhi Sultanate" (PDF). Muqarnas. Brill. 1: 123–166. JSTOR 1523075.
  40. Khan, Hussain Ahmad (2014). Artisans, Sufis, Shrines: Colonial Architecture in Nineteenth-Century Punjab. I.B.Tauris. p. 15. ISBN 9781784530143.
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  42. Kumar Mandal, Asim (2003). The Sundarbans of India: A Development Analysis. India: Indus Publishing. p. 43. ISBN 81-738-7143-4. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
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  45. Thorpe, Showick Thorpe Edgar (2009). The Pearson General Studies Manual 2009, 1/e. Pearson Education India. p. 1900. ISBN 81-317-2133-7. Retrieved 2010-08-23. The Khalji dynasty was named after a village in Afghanistan. Some historians believe that they were Afghans, but Bharani and Wolse Haig explain in their accounts that the rulers from this dynasty who came to India, though they had temporarily settled in Afghanistan, were originally Turkic.
  46. Chaurasia, Radhey Shyam (2002). History of medieval India: from 1000 A.D. to 1707 A.D. Atlantic Publishers & Distributors. p. 337. ISBN 81-269-0123-3. Retrieved 2010-08-23. The Khaljis were a Central Asian Turkic dynasty but having been long domiciled in present-day Afghanistan, and adopted some Afghan habits and customs. They were treated as Afghans in Delhi Court.
  47. Cavendish, Marshall (2006). World and Its Peoples: The Middle East, Western Asia, and Northern Africa. Marshall Cavendish. p. 320. ISBN 0-7614-7571-0. Retrieved 2010-08-23. The sultans of the Slave Dynasty were Turkic Central Asians, but the members of the new dynasty, although they were also Turkic, had settled in Afghanistan and brought a new set of customs and culture to Delhi.
  48. Kishori Saran Lal (1950). History of the Khaljis (1290-1320). Allahabad: The Indian Press. pp. 56–57. OCLC 685167335.
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  56. Rene Grousset - Empire of steppes, Chagatai Khanate; Rutgers Univ Press, New Jersey, U.S.A, 1988 ISBN 0-8135-1304-9
  57. Frank Fanselow (1989), Muslim society in Tamil Nadu (India): an historical perspective, Journal Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, 10(1), pp 264-289
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  67. Cornelius Walford (1878), The Famines of the World: Past and Present, p. 3, at Google Books, pp 9-10
  68. Judith Walsh, A Brief History of India, ISBN 978-0816083626, pp 70-72; Quote: "In 1335-42, during a severe famine and death in the Delhi region, the Sultanate offered no help to the starving residents."
  69. McKibben, William Jeffrey (1994). "The Monumental Pillars of Fīrūz Shāh Tughluq". Ars Orientalis. 24: 105–118. JSTOR 4629462.
  70. HM Elliot & John Dawson (1871), Tarikh I Firozi Shahi - Records of Court Historian Sams-i-Siraj The History of India as told by its own historians, Volume 3, Cornell University Archives, pp 352-353
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  72. Firoz Shah Tughlak, Futuhat-i Firoz Shahi - Memoirs of Firoz Shah Tughlak, Translated in 1871 by Elliot and Dawson, Volume 3 - The History of India, Cornell University Archives
  73. Vincent A Smith, The Oxford History of India: From the Earliest Times to the End of 1911, p. 217, at Google Books, Chapter 2, pp 249-251, Oxford University Press
  74. Firoz Shah Tughlak, Futuhat-i Firoz Shahi - Autobiographical memoirs, Translated in 1871 by Elliot and Dawson, Volume 3 - The History of India, Cornell University Archives, pp 377-381
  75. Annemarie Schimmel, Islam in the Indian Subcontinent, ISBN 978-9004061170, Brill Academic, pp 20-23
  76. Vincent A Smith, The Oxford History of India: From the Earliest Times to the End of 1911, p. 217, at Google Books, Chapter 2, pp 248-254, Oxford University Press
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  78. Beatrice F. Manz (2000). "Tīmūr Lang". In P. J. Bearman; Th. Bianquis; C. E. Bosworth; E. van Donzel; W. P. Heinrichs. Encyclopaedia of Islam. 10 (2 ed.). Brill.
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  108. R Islam (1997), A Note on the Position of the non-Muslim Subjects in the Sultanate of Delhi under the Khaljis and the Tughluqs, Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society, 45, pp. 215–229; R Islam (2002), Theory and Practice of Jizyah in the Delhi Sultanate (14th Century), Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society, 50, pp. 7–18
  109. A.L. Srivastava (1966), Delhi Sultanate, 5th Edition, Agra College
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  112. Hasan Nizami et al, Taju-l Ma-asir & Appendix, Translated in 1871 by Elliot and Dawson, Volume 2 - The History of India, Cornell University Archives, pp 22, 219, 398, 471
  113. Richard Eaton, Temple desecration and Indo-Muslim states, Frontline (January 5, 2001), pp 72-73
  114. Ulugh Khan also known as Almas Beg was brother of Ala-al Din Khalji; his destruction campaign overlapped the two dynasties
  115. Somnath temple went through cycles of destruction by Sultans and rebuilding by Hindus
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Delhi Sultanate


The Delhi Sultanate was a Muslim sultanate based mostly in Delhi that stretched over large parts of the Indian subcontinent for 320 years (1206–1526). Five dynasties ruled over the Delhi Sultanate sequentially: the Mamluk dynasty (1206–90), the Khalji dynasty (1290–1320), the Tughlaq dynasty (1320–1414), the Sayyid dynasty (1414–51), and the Lodi dynasty (1451–1526). The sultanate is noted for being one of the few states to repel an attack by the Mongol Empire, and enthroned one of the few female rulers in Islamic history, Razia Sultana, who reigned from 1236 to 1240. Qutb al-Din Aibak, a former Turkic Mamluk slave of Muhammad Ghori, was the first sultan of Delhi, and his Mamluk dynasty conquered large areas of northern India. Afterwards, the Khalji dynasty was also able to conquer most of central India, but both failed to conquer the whole of the Indian subcontinent. The sultanate reached the peak of its geographical reach during the Tughlaq dynasty, occupying most of the Indian subcontinent. This was fol ...more...

Mamluk dynasty (Delhi)


History of the Turkic peoples Pre-14th century Turkic Khaganate 552–744   Western Turkic   Eastern Turkic Khazar Khaganate 618–1048 Xueyantuo 628–646 Great Bulgaria 632–668   Danube Bulgaria   Volga Bulgaria Kangar union 659–750 Turk Shahi 665–850 Turgesh Khaganate 699–766 Uyghur Khaganate 744–840 Karluk Yabgu State 756–940 Kara-Khanid Khanate 840–1212   Western Kara-Khanid   Eastern Kara-Khanid Gansu Uyghur Kingdom 848–1036 Kingdom of Qocho 856–1335 Pecheneg Khanates 860–1091 Kimek Khanate 743–1035 Cumania 1067–1239 Oghuz Yabgu State 750–1055 Ghaznavid Empire 963–1186 Seljuk Empire 1037–1194   Seljuk Sultanate of Rum Kerait khanate 11th century–13th century Khwarazmian Empire 1077–1231 Naiman Khanate –1204 Qarlughid Kingdom 1224–1266 Delhi Sultanate 1206–1526   Mamluk dynasty   Khalji dynasty   Tughlaq dynasty Golden Horde | 1240s–1502 Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo) 1250–1517   Bahri dynasty   Ottoman Empire 1299–1923 Other Turkic dynasties   in Anatolia Artuqid dynasty Saltuqid dynasty in Azerbaijan Ahmadili dyna ...more...

Turkish slaves in the Delhi Sultanate


Turkish slaves throughout the Islamic world, and in the Delhi Sultanate were valued members of society. Their value, for their patrons, was their military capabilities, their loyalty and discipline. Their ability to capitalize on opportunity for social mobility, while maintaining their own unique cultural identity created an interesting tension in their social narrative. Their slave origins created a discrepancy in their nobility. This discrepancy was often eluded in commentary by the Persian Chroniclers of the time. Origins The need to secure the Sultanate regime from Mongol marauders led to the delineation of a frontier that needed to be defended. To guard the Punjab marches, there was increasingly more and more slaves that were being bought. Their allegiance was not along ethnic lines, and their dedicated patronage allowed them to incorporate themselves into the military hierarchy as trusted officers and commanders. The Sultanate bought Turks in order to develop a strong cavalry arm and in particular to a ...more...

Gujarat under Delhi Sultanate


Gujarat , a region in western India, fell under Delhi Sultanate following repeated expeditions under Alauddin Khalji around the end of the 13th century. He ended the rule of Vaghela dynasty under Karna II and established Muslim rule in Gujarat. Soon the Tughluq dynasty came to power in Delhi whose emperor carried out expeditions to quell rebellion in Gujarat and established their firm control over the region by the end of the century. Following Timur 's invasion of Delhi, the Delhi Sultanate weakened considerably so the last Tughluq governor Zafar Khan declared himself independent in 1407 and formally established Gujarat Sultanate . Background Due to long coast of Gujarat, Muslim presence on its shores has been recorded since the 8th century due to economic and cultural reasons. Except the expedition of Mahmúd Ghazni against Somnáth in 1024; the defeat of Muhammad Muiz-ud-dín or Shaháb-ud-dín Ghori by Chaulukya king Bhima II of Aṇahilaváḍa (now Patan, Gujarat ) about 1178; Ghurid campaigns in 1172 and 1197; a ...more...

Bahmani Sultanate


The Bahmani Sultanate (also called the Bahmanid Empire or Bahmani Kingdom) was a Muslim state of the Deccan in South India and one of the major medieval Indian kingdoms. Bahmanid Sultanate was the first independent Muslim kingdom in South India. The empire was established by Turkic general Ala-ud-Din Bahman Shah after revolting against the Delhi Sultanate of Muhammad bin Tughlaq . Nazir Uddin Ismail Shah who had revolted against the Delhi Sultanate stepped down on that day in favour of Bahman Shah. His revolt was successful, and he established an independent state on the Deccan within the Delhi Sultanate's southern provinces. The Bahmani capital was Hasanabad ( Gulbarga ) between 1347 and 1425 when it was moved to Muhammadabad ( Bidar ). The Bahmani contested the control of the Deccan with the Vijayanagara Empire to the south. The sultanate reached the peak of its power during the vizierate (1466–1481) of Mahmud Gawan. The south Indian Emperor Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagara Empire defeated the last rem ...more...

Delhi Sultanate literature


The Delhi Sultanate literature began with the rise of Persian speaking people to the throne of the Sultanate of Delhi , naturally resulted in the spread of the Persian language in India . It was the official language and soon literary works in the language began to appear. Initially Persian literature talked about topics which were familiar to those from Persia . Gradually however as more Indians learnt the language, the literary works began to have a more Indian theme. Amir Khusrav was a noted writer of the period, who was one of the first writers to write Persian literature about events concerning India. His inspiration came from events he saw around, his work soon grew to be appreciated and he became a court poet. Sanskrit continued to remain an important language of the time, and despite the increasing influence of Persian, it was able to hold its ground. Many preferred Sanskrit poets as they were more established and experienced then those that worked in the new languages. A centre for Sanskrit learning ...more...

Madurai Sultanate


Ma'bar Sultanate (Persian: مابار سلطنت‎), unofficially known as the Madurai Sultanate, was a short lived independent Muslim kingdom based in the city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu, India. The sultanate was proclaimed in 1335 when the then viceroy of Madurai, Jalaluddin Ahsan Khan declared his independence from the Delhi Sultanate. Ahsan Khan and his descendants ruled Madurai and surrounding territories until 1378 when the last sultan, Ala-ud-Din Sikandar Shah fell in battle against the forces of the Vijayanagara Empire led by Kumara Kampana. In this short reign of 43 years, the Sultanate had 8 different rulers. Origins Coin of Jalaluddin Ahsan Khan first ruler of the Sultanate of Madurai In the early 14th Century, South India was subjected to repeated invasions by armies of the Delhi Sultanate. There were three separate invasions within a period of fifteen years. The first invasion in 1311 CE was led by Malik Kafur, who sacked Madurai. Following this there were two more expeditions from the Delhi Sultanat ...more...

Bengal Sultanate–Delhi Sultanate War


The Bengal Sultanate–Delhi Sultanate War was a conflict between the Bengal Sultanate and the Delhi Sultanate in the Indian subcontinent. The war resulted in Delhi recognizing the separation of Bengal from its authority. Background In the early 14th century, Delhi's rebel governors in Bengal formed their own sultanates. By 1352, Shamsuddin Ilyas Shah defeated other rulers in Bengal and united the region into one sultanate. Ilyas Shah proclaimed himself as the Sultan of Bengal. Ilyas Shah's earlier military campaigns also involved the sacking of Kathmandu and Varanasi; and an invasion of Orissa. Location The conflict centered on the mud fort of Ekdala. The fort was located on an island surrounded by a moat and marshy jungle. The exact location of the area is unclear; with various sources saying it may have been in Dinajpur, Dhaka or Pandua. Siege of Ekdala (1353) Firuz Shah Tughluq, the Delhi sultan, led his army and navy into Bengal in 1353. Ilyas Shah's forces deserted the capital Lakhnauti and took s ...more...

Khalji dynasty


The Khalji or Khilji dynasty was a Muslim dynasty which ruled large parts of the Indian subcontinent between 1290 and 1320. It was founded by Jalal ud din Firuz Khalji and became the second dynasty to rule the Delhi Sultanate of India. The dynasty is known for their faithlessness and ferocity, conquests into the Hindu south, and for successfully fending off the repeated Mongol invasions of India. Origins Copper coin of Alauddin Khalji The Khalji rulers were of Turko-Afghan heritage. They trace their roots to Central Asia and were originally of Turkic origin. They had long been settled in present-day Afghanistan before proceeding to Delhi in India. The name "Khalji" refers to an Afghan village or town known as Qalat-e Khalji (Fort of Ghilji). Sometimes they were treated by others as ethnic Afghans due to their adoption of some Afghan habits and customs. As a result of this, sometimes the dynasty is referred to as Turko-Afghan. The dynasty later also had Indian ancestry, through Jhatyapali (daughter o ...more...

Tughlaq dynasty


History of the Turkic peoples Pre-14th century Turkic Khaganate 552–744   Western Turkic   Eastern Turkic Khazar Khaganate 618–1048 Xueyantuo 628–646 Great Bulgaria 632–668   Danube Bulgaria   Volga Bulgaria Kangar union 659–750 Turk Shahi 665–850 Turgesh Khaganate 699–766 Uyghur Khaganate 744–840 Karluk Yabgu State 756–940 Kara-Khanid Khanate 840–1212   Western Kara-Khanid   Eastern Kara-Khanid Ganzhou Uyghur Kingdom 848–1036 Qocho 856–1335 Pecheneg Khanates 860–1091 Kimek confederation 743–1035 Cumania 1067–1239 Oghuz Yabgu State 750–1055 Ghaznavid Empire 963–1186 Seljuk Empire 1037–1194   Sultanate of Rum Kerait khanate 11th century–13th century Khwarazmian Empire 1077–1231 Naiman Khanate –1204 Qarlughid Kingdom 1224–1266 Delhi Sultanate 1206–1526   Mamluk dynasty   Khalji dynasty   Tughlaq dynasty Golden Horde | 1240s–1502 Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo) 1250–1517   Bahri dynasty   Ottoman Empire 1299–1923 Other Turkic dynasties   in Anatolia Artuqid dynasty Saltuqid dynasty in Azerbaijan Ahmadili dynasty Ildeni ...more...

Mongol invasions of India


Genghis Khan The Mongol Empire launched several invasions into the Indian subcontinent from 1221 to 1327, with many of the later raids made by the unruly Qaraunas of Mongol origin. The Mongols occupied parts of modern Pakistan and other parts of Punjab for decades. As the Mongols progressed into the Indian hinterland and reached the outskirts of Delhi, the Delhi Sultanate led a campaign against them in which the Mongol army suffered serious defeats. The Mughal Empire founded by Babur, however, successfully conquered most of the Indian subcontinent in the 16th and the 17th centuries. Whilst the Mongol empire was primarily foreign and India was one conquest amongst many, the Mughals adopted India as home. Background After pursuing Jalal ad-Din into India from Samarkand and defeating him at the battle of Indus in 1221, Genghis Khan sent two tumens (20,000 soldiers) under commanders Dorbei the Fierce and Bala to continue the chase. The Mongol commander Bala chased Jalal ad-Din throughout the Punjab regi ...more...

Lodi dynasty


The Lodi dynasty (or Lodhi) was an Afghan dynasty that ruled the Delhi Sultanate from 1451 to 1526. It was the last dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate, and was founded by Bahlul Khan Lodi when he replaced the Sayyid dynasty. Bahlul Lodi Bahlul Khan Lodi (r. 1451–1489) was the nephew and son-in-law of Malik Sultan Shah Lodi, the governor of Sirhind in (Punjab), India and succeeded him as the governor of Sirhind during the reign of Sayyid dynasty ruler Muhammad Shah. Muhammad Shah raised him to the status of an emir. He was the most powerful of the Punjab chiefs and a vigorous leader, holding together a loose confederacy of Afghan and Turkish chiefs with his strong personality. He reduced the turbulent chiefs of the provinces to submission and infused some vigour into the government. After the last Sayyid ruler of Delhi, Ala-ud-Din Aalm Shah voluntarily abdicated in favour of him, Bahlul Khan Lodi ascended the throne of the Delhi sultanate on 19 April 1451. The most important event of his reign was the conquest ...more...

Jaunpur Sultanate


The Jaunpur sultanate was an independent kingdom of northern India between 1394 and 1479, whose rulers ruled from Jaunpur or Jounpoor in the present day state of Uttar Pradesh. The Jaunpur sultanate was ruled by the Sharqi dynasty. The Khwajah-i-Jahan Malik Sarwar, the first ruler of the dynasty was a wazir (minister) under Sultan Nasiruddin Muhammad Shah IV Tughluq (1390–1394). In 1394, he established himself as an independent ruler of Jaunpur and extended his authority over Awadh and a large part of Ganges-Yamuna doab. The dynasty founded by him was named so because of his title Malik-us-Sharq (the ruler of the east). The most acclaimed ruler of this dynasty was Ibrahim Shah. The last ruler Hussain Shah was overthrown by Bahlul Lodi, and Jaunpur sultanate was permanently annexed to Delhi sultanate by Sikandar Lodi. Malik Sarwar, Khwajah-i-Jahan In 1389, Malik Sarwar received the title of Khajah-i-Jahan. In 1394, he was appointed as the governor of Jaunpur and received his title of Malik-us-Sharq from Su ...more...

Malika-i-Jahan (wife of Alauddin Khalji)


Malika-i-Jahan ("Queen of the World") was the first and chief wife of Sultan Alauddin Khalji, the second and most powerful ruler of the Khalji dynasty that ruled the Delhi Sultanate. She was the daughter of Alauddin's predecessor and paternal uncle, Sultan Jalaluddin Khalji, the founder of the Khalji dynasty. Family and lineage Malika-i-Jahan was the daughter of Jalaluddin Khalji, the founder and first Sultan of the Khalji dynasty that ruled the Delhi Sultanate. Her mother, also titled Malika-i-Jahan, was Jalaluddin's chief wife. She was quite an ambitious and arrogant lady and held great influence over the Sultan. She also influenced contemporary politics to great extent. Malika-i-Jahan had at least three brothers: Khan-i-Khan, Arkali Khan and Qadr Khan. Her future husband, Alauddin, was the eldest son of Jalaluddin's older brother, Shihabuddin Mas'ud, making Malika-i-Jahan a first-cousin of Alauddin. After his father's death, Alauddin was brought up by Jalaluddin. His younger brother, Almas Beg, also ma ...more...

1311 massacre of Mongols in the Delhi Sultanate


In 1311, the Delhi Sultanate ruler Alauddin Khalji ordered a mass massacre of the "New Muslims" ( Mongols who had recently converted to Islam), after some Mongol amirs of Delhi conspired to kill him. According to chronicler Ziauddin Barani , 20,000 or 30,000 Mongols were killed as a result of this order. Background The Khalji dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate was of Turkic origin, and had fought several wars against the Mongol invaders from Central Asia. In 1292, the Delhi Sultan Jalaluddin Khalji had permitted several thousand Mongols to settle in his empire after they converted to Islam . These Mongol converts were called New Muslims (or Neo-Muslims), and by 1311, more than 10,000 of them lived in the capital Delhi alone. Several of them served in the Delhi army, and during the 1299 Gujarat campaign of Jalaluddin's successor Alauddin, some of them had staged an usuccessful mutiny . After facing three other rebellions (not by Mongols), Alauddin had taken several measures to prevent further rebellions, includ ...more...

Malik Kafur


Malik Kafur (died 1316), also known as Taj al-Din Izz al-Dawla, was a prominent eunuch slave-general of the Delhi Sultanate ruler Alauddin Khalji. He was captured by Alauddin's general Nusrat Khan during the 1299 invasion of Gujarat, and rose to prominence in the 1300s. As a commander of Alauddin's forces, Kafur defeated the Mongol invaders in 1306. Subsequently, he led a series of expeditions in the southern part of India, against the Yadavas (1308), the Kakatiyas (1310), the Hoysalas (1311), and the Pandyas (1311). During these campaigns, he obtained a large number of treasures, elephants and horses for the Delhi Sultanate. During 1313-1315, Kafur served as Alauddin's governor of Devagiri. When Alauddin fell seriously ill in 1315, he was recalled to Delhi, and held the actual power as the Na'ib (viceroy). After Alauddin's death, he tried to usurp the power by appointing Alauddin's son Shihabuddin Omar as a child puppet monarch. His regency lasted for about a month, and he was assassinated by Alauddin's f ...more...

Malwa Sultanate


The Malwa Sultanate was a late medieval kingdom presumably of Turkic origin, in the Malwa region of the present day Madhya Pradesh state in India in 1392–1562. History Preparation of wada for Ghiyath al-Din, Sultan of Malwa, at Mandu The sultanate of Malwa was founded by Dilawar Khan Ghuri, the governor of Malwa for the Delhi Sultanate, who asserted his independence in 1392, but did not actually assume the ensigns of royalty till 1401. Initially Dhar was the capital of the new kingdom, but soon it was shifted to Mandu, which was renamed Shadiabad (the city of joy). After his death, he was succeeded by his son Alp Khan, who assumed the title of Hoshang Shah. The Ghurid dynasty, founded by Dilawar Khan Ghuri, was replaced by Mahmud Shah I, who proclaimed himself king on May 16, 1436. The Khalji dynasty, founded by him, ruled over Malwa till 1531. Mahmud Khalji I was succeeded by his eldest son Ghiyas-ud-Din. The last days of Ghiyas-ud-Din were embittered by a struggle for throne between his two sons, ...more...

Gujarat Sultanate


Death of Bahadur Shah of Gujarat an Ottoman ally at Diu , in front of the Portuguese , in 1537; (Illustration from the Akbarnama , end of 16th century). The Gujarat Sultanate was a medieval Indian kingdom established in the early 15th century in present-day Gujarat , India. The founder of the ruling Muzaffarid dynasty , Zafar Khan (later Muzaffar Shah I ) was appointed as governor of Gujarat by Nasir-ud-Din Muhammad bin Tughluq IV in 1391, the ruler of the principal state in north India at the time, the Delhi Sultanate . Zafar Khan's father Sadharan, was a Tanka Rajput convert to Islam. Zafar Khan defeated Farhat-ul-Mulk near Anhilwada Patan and made the city his capital. Following Timur 's invasion of Delhi, the Delhi Sultanate weakened considerably so he declared himself independent in 1407 and formally established Gujarat Sultanate. The next sultan, his grandson Ahmad Shah I founded the new capital Ahmedabad in 1411. His successor Muhammad Shah II subdued most of the Rajput chieftains. The prosperity of ...more...

Indo-Persian culture


The Taj Mahal unites Persian and Indian elements. It is the mausoleum of Mumtaz Mahal , Shah Jahan 's Persian wife. Indo-Persian culture refers to those Persian aspects that have been integrated into or absorbed into the cultures of South Asia and in particular, into North India , and Pakistan . Persian influence was first introduced to the South Asia by Muslim rulers of Turkic and Afghan origin, especially with the Delhi Sultanate from the 13th century, and in the 16th to 19th century by the Mughal Empire . In general, from its earliest days, aspects of the culture and language were brought to South Asia by various Persianized Central Asian Turkic and Afghan rulers, such as Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi in the 11th century. Persian was the official language of the Delhi Sultanate , the Bahamani Sultanate , the Mughal Empire , and their successor states, as well as the cultured language of poetry and literature. Many of the Sultans and nobility in the Sultanate period were Persianised Turks from Central Asia who sp ...more...

Jalal-ud-din Khalji


Jalal-ud-Din Khalji (r. 1290-1296; died 19 July 1296; name also transliterated as Jalal-al-din) was the founder and first Sultan of the Khalji dynasty that ruled the Delhi Sultanate from 1290 to 1320. Jalal-al-Din was originally named Firuz, and started his career as an officer of the Mamluk dynasty, and rose to an important position under Sultan Muizzuddin Qaiqabad. After Qaiqabad was paralyzed, a group of nobles appointed his infant son Shamsuddin Kayumars as the new Sultan, and tried to kill Jalal-al-Din. Instead, Jalal-al-Din had them killed, and became the regent. A few months later, he deposed Kayumars, and became the new Sultan. As a Sultan, he repulsed a Mongol invasion, and allowed many Mongols to settle in India after their conversion to Islam. He captured Mandawar and Jhain from the Chahamana king Hammira, although he was unable to capture the Chahamana capital Ranthambore. During his reign, his nephew Ali Gurshasp raided Bhilsa in 1293 and Devagiri in 1296. Jalal-al-Din, who was around 70 year ...more...

Islamic rulers in South Asia


Beginning in the 12th century, several Islamic states were established in the Indian subcontinent in the course of a gradual Muslim conquest in the Indian subcontinent. This process culminated in the Mughal Empire, which ruled most of India during the mid-16th to mid-19th centuries. The Islamic rule gradually declined due to the dominance of Maratha rule and several other rebellions (case during the entire period of Mughal rule past Akbar). The eventual end of the period of Islamic rule of India is marked by the two main events Indian Rebellion of 1857 and the beginning of British rule, although Islamic rule persisted in Hyderabad State and other minor princely states until Union of India in 1948. However, most Islamic rules had started to wane in the 17th and 18th century before that. Delhi Sultanate Delhi Sultanate During the last quarter of the 12th century, Muhammad of Ghor invaded the Indo-Gangetic plain, conquering in succession Ghazni, Multan, Sindh, Lahore, and Delhi. Qutb-ud-din Aybak, one o ...more...



The Sultan Suleiman I is considered one of the most famous Ottoman sultans . Sultan ( ; Arabic : سلطان ‎ sulṭān, pronounced  ) is a position with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", derived from the verbal noun سلطة sulṭah, meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who claimed almost full sovereignty in practical terms (i.e., the lack of dependence on any higher ruler), albeit without claiming the overall caliphate , or to refer to a powerful governor of a province within the caliphate. The adjective form of the word is "sultanic", and the dynasty and lands ruled by a sultan are referred to as a sultanate ( سلطنة salṭanah ) . The term is distinct from king ( ملك malik), despite both referring to a sovereign ruler; the use of "sultan" is restricted to Muslim countries, where the title carries religious significance, contrasting the more secular "king", which is used in both Muslim ...more...

Muhammad bin Tughluq


Muhammad bin Tughluq (also Prince Fakhr Malik , Jauna Khan , Ulugh Khan ; died 20 March 1351) was the Sultan of Delhi from 1325 to 1351. He was the eldest son of Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq , the Turko - Indian founder of the Tughluq dynasty . He was born in Kotla Tolay Khan in Multan .His wife was the daughter of the Raja of Dipalpur . Ghiyas-ud-din sent the young Muhammad to the Deccan to campaign against king Prataparudra of the Kakatiya dynasty whose capital was at Warangal in 1321 and 1323 . Muhammad ascended to the Delhi throne upon his father's death in 1325. He was interested in medicine and was skilled in several languages — Persian, Arabic, Turkish and Sanskrit Ibn Battuta , the famous traveler and jurist from Morocco, was a guest at his court and wrote about his suzerainty in his book. From his accession to the throne in 1325 until his death in 1351, Muhammad contended with 22 rebellions, pursuing his policies, consistently and ruthlessly. Early life Muhammad bin Tughluq was born to Ghiyas-ud-din Tug ...more...

Alauddin Khalji


ʿAlāʾ ud-Dīn Khaljī (r. 1296–1316) was the second ruler of the Khalji dynasty that ruled the Delhi Sultanate in the Indian subcontinent. He was a nephew and a son-in-law of his predecessor Jalaluddin. When Jalaluddin became the Sultan of Delhi after deposing the Mamluks, Alauddin was given the position of Amir-i-Tuzuk (equivalent to master of ceremonies). Alauddin obtained the governorship of Kara in 1291 after suppressing a revolt against Jalaluddin, and the governorship of Awadh in 1296 after a profitable raid on Bhilsa. In 1296, Alauddin raided Devagiri, and acquired loot to stage a successful revolt against Jalaluddin. After killing Jalaluddin, he consolidated his power in Delhi, and subjugated Jalaluddin's sons in Multan. Alauddin wished to become the second Alexander (Sikander Sani), and this title of his was mentioned on coins and public prayers. Over the next few years, Alauddin successfully fended off the Mongol invasions of India, at Jaran-Manjur (1297-1298), Sivistan (1298), Kili (1299), Delhi (1 ...more...

Alp Khan


Alp Khan (died late 1315 or early 1316) was a general and brother-in-law of the Delhi Sultanate ruler Alauddin Khalji. He served as Alauddin's governor of Gujarat, and held considerable influence at the royal court of Delhi during the last years of Alauddin's life. He was executed on the charges of conspiring to kill Alauddin, possibly because of a conspiracy by Malik Kafur. Early life Alp Khan was originally named Junaid, and was later called Malik Sanjar. He appears to have come from a family of Khalji chiefs. According to Isami, Alauddin brought him up since his childhood. Upon becoming the Sultan of Delhi in 1296, Alauddin gave him the title Alp Khan ("Powerful Khan"). His sister (called Mahru according to the 16th-17th century chronicler Haji-ud-Dabir ) married Alauddin: Khizr Khan was the issue of this marriage. Career Alauddin appointed Alp Khan as Amir-i-Majlis (chief of protocol), and granted him the iqta' of Multan. In c. 1310, Alauddin granted Alp Khan the iqta' of Gujarat. . The Jain works ...more...

Khusro Khan


Khusro Khan (also spelled Khusrau Khan or Khusru or Khusraw Khan) was a medieval Indian military leader, and ruler of Delhi as Sultan Nasiruddin Khusrau Shah for a short period of time. Origin Qutb ud din Mubarak Shah had homosexual relations with two uterine brothers, Hasan and Husamuddin (or Hisamuddin). According to Amir Khusrau's Tughluq Nama, the two brothers belonged to a Hindu military caste called Baradu. They had been captured during Ayn al-Mulk Multani-led 1305 conquest of Malwa. They were brought as slaves to Delhi, where they were brought up by Alauddin's naib-i khas-i hajib Malik Shadi. The two brothers acted as passive homosexuals only to maintain their status and position. Mubarak Shah preferred Hasan as a partner, but turned to Husamuddin whenever Hasan was not available. Their relationship was not a secret, and Mubarak and Hasan used to exchange hugs and kisses in public. Mubarak gave Hasan the title Khusrau Khan, several iqtas, the army of the deceased Malik Kafur, and the wizarat. Ear ...more...

Bengal Sultanate


The Bengal Sultanate ( Bangalah ; Sultanate of Bengal ) was a sultanate of Islamic India which ruled in modern South Asia and Southeast Asia . It was established by the conqueror Shamsuddin Ilyas Shah in 1352. It was one of the great powers of Medieval India , ruling over what is now Bangladesh , the Indian state of West Bengal and the Arakan region of Burma. Its principal cities were Lakhnauti , Sonargaon and Pandua ; along with dozens of provincial capitals known as mint towns, where the sultanate's currency was produced. At the time, Europeans called it Bengala, such as in the Portuguese trading post of Porto Grande de Bengala . Explorers who visited the sultanate included Ibn Battuta , Ma Huan and Niccolo De Conti . History The Adina Mosque was built by Sikandar Shah The Delhi Sultanate lost its hold over Bengal in 1338 when separatist states were established by governors, including Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah in Sonargaon, Alauddin Ali Shah in Lakhnauti and Shamsuddin Ilyas Shah in Satgaon . In 1352, Ilyas ...more...

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Shamsuddin Kayumars


Shams ud-Din Kayumars (reigned: 1290) was the son of Muiz ud-Din Qaiqabad , the tenth sultan of the Mamluk dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate . His father Muiz ud din Qaiqabad is said to have been murdered by a Khalji noble, Jalal ud-Din Firuz Khalji . Khalji assumed the throne after murdering Kayumars, ending the Mamluk dynasty and starting the Khalji dynasty. See also Muslim history History of India List of Indian monarchs References Sen, Sailendra (2013). A Qaiqabad Textbook of Medieval Indian History. Primus Books. p. 80. ISBN   978-9-38060-734-4 . External links India Through the Ages The Slave Dynasty The Khalji Revolution Preceded by Muiz ud din Qaiqabad Mamluk Sultan of Delhi 1290 Succeeded by Jalal ud din Firuz Khalji ( Khalji Dynasty ) Shams ud-Din Kayumars (reigned: 1290) was the son of Muiz ud-Din Qaiqabad , the tenth sultan of the Mamluk dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate . His father Muiz ud din Qaiqabad is said to have been murdered by a Khalji noble, Jalal ud-Din Firuz Khalji . Khalji assumed the thro ...more...



Delhi (, Hindustani pronunciation:  Dilli), officially the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT), is a city and a union territory of India. It is bordered by Haryana on three sides and by Uttar Pradesh to the east. The NCT covers an area of 1,484 square kilometres (573 sq mi). According to the 2011 census, Delhi city's proper population was over 11 million, the second highest in India after Mumbai, while the whole NCT's population was about 16.8 million. Delhi's urban area is now considered to extend beyond the NCT boundary to include an estimated population of over 26 million people, making it the world's second largest urban area. As of 2016 recent estimates of the metro economy of its urban area have ranked Delhi either the top or second most productive metro area of India. Delhi is the second wealthiest city after Mumbai in India, with a total wealth of $450 billion and home to 18 billionaires and 23,000 millionaires. Delhi has been continuously inhabited since the 6th century BC. Through most of i ...more...

Ahmadnagar Sultanate


The Ahmadnagar Sultanate was a late medieval Indian kingdom, located in the northwestern Deccan , between the sultanates of Gujarat and Bijapur . Malik Ahmad, the Bahmani governor of Junnar after defeating the Bahmani army led by general Jahangir Khan on 28 May 1490 declared independence and established the Nizam Shahi dynasty rule over the sultanate of Ahmednagar . Initially his capital was in the town of Junnar with its fort, later renamed Shivneri . In 1494, the foundation was laid for the new capital Ahmadnagar. In 1636 Aurangzeb , then Mugal viceroy of Deccan finally annexed the sultanate to the Mughal empire . History Malik Ahmad was the son of Nizam-ul-Mulk Malik Hasan Bahri. After the death of his father, he assumed the appellation of his father and from this the dynasty found by him is known as the Nizam Shahi dynasty . He founded the new capital Ahmadnagar on the bank of the river Sina. After several attempts, he secured the great fortress of Daulatabad in 1499. After the death of Malik Ahmad in 15 ...more...

Razia Sultana


Raziya Sultana, sometime Raziyya Sultan, (1205 – October 13, 1240) was the Sultan of Delhi from 10 November 1236 to 14 October 1240. A member of the Mamluk dynasty, she is known for being the only female ever to rule the Delhi Sultanate. Early life and career Razia Sultana was the daughter of Shams-ud-din Iltutmish, who had begun life as a Turk slave and ended it as Sultan of Delhi. Iltutmish had been a great favorite of his master, Qutb ud din Aibak, the first Sultan of Delhi, so Aibak had his daughter Qutub Begum married to Iltutmish. Qutub Begum was the mother of Razia, and Razia was thus a maternal granddaughter of Qutb ud din Aibak and Shamshad Begum (Valide Sultan). Razia also had a brother, Nasiruddin Mahmud. Razia, being a member of the ruling family, grew up in privileged circumstances and was close to the levers of power both within the harem (where her mother was dominant) and in the court, where she was a favorite of both her maternal grandfather and her father. This was in contrast with her h ...more...

Sayyid dynasty


The Sayyid dynasty was the fourth dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate , with four rulers ruling from 1414 to 1451. Founded by a former governor of Multan , they succeeded the Tughlaq dynasty and ruled the sultanate until they were displaced by the Lodi dynasty . Members of the dynasty derived their title, Sayyid , or the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad , based on the claim that they belonged to the Prophet's lineage through his daughter Fatima , and son-in-law and cousin Ali . History Following the 1398 Sack of Delhi , Amir Timur appointed the Sayyids as the governors of Delhi. Their dynasty was established by Sayyid Khizr Khan , deputised by Timur to be the governor of Multan ( Punjab ). Khizr Khan captured Delhi from Daulat Khan Lodi on May 28, 1414 thereby establishing the Sayyid dynasty. Khizr Khan did not take up the title of Sultan and nominally, continued to be a Rayat-i-Ala (vassal) of the Timurids - initially that of Timur, and later his grandson Shah Rukh . Khizr Khan was succeeded by his son Sayyid ...more...

Shihabuddin Omar


Shibab-ud-din Omar Khan Khalji (1310?–1316) was the third Sultan of the Khalji Dynasty and 13th Sultan of Delhi. He ascended the throne as a minor with the death of his father Alauddin Khalji in January 1316. He became Sultan with the help of Malik Kafur, the Military Commander. After the assassination of Kafur, his brother Qutb-ud-din Mubarak became Sultan. Early life According to the 14th century chronicler Isami, Shihab-ud-Din was Alauddin's son from Jhatyapali, the daughter of Ramachandra of Devagiri. Reign under Malik Kafur's regency Allauddin Khalji, the second ruler of the Khalji dynasty, died on 3 January 1316. Malik Kafur, the commander-in-chief of the army, placed the young Shibabuddin on the throne and became the regent. Kafur executed all the princes having any claim to the throne. The eyes of Princes Khizr Khan and Shadi Khan were ordered to be cut out. Prince Mubarrak was detained in the Palace of Thousand Pillars but escaped using his cleverness. Nobles and Slaves of Allauddin were also p ...more...

Qutb Shahi dynasty


The Qutb Shahi dynasty (or Golconda Sultanate) was a territory in south India. It was initially a highly Persianate Muslim Turkmens dynasty established in the 16th century that eventually adopted the regional culture of the Deccan (Telugu culture, language and the newly developed Deccani idiom of Urdu). Its members were collectively called the Qutub Shahis and were the ruling family of the kingdom of Golkonda, in and near the modern-day states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The Golconda sultanate was constantly in conflict with the Adil Shahis and Nizam Shahis. In 1636, Shah Jahan forced the Qutb Shahis to recognize Mughal suzerainty, which lasted until 1687 when the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb conquered the Golcondan sultanate. History Golkonda Painting - Finch, Poppies, Dragonfly, and Bee India (Deccan, Golconda), 1650-1670 Opaque watercolor and gold on paper Overall Tomb of Sultan Muhammad Qutb Shah in Hyderabad. The dynasty's founder, Sultan Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk, migrated to Delhi from Iran, wit ...more...

Mongol invasion of India, 1306


In 1306, the Chagatai Khanate ruler Duwa sent an expedition to India, to avenge the Mongol defeat in 1305. The invading army included three contingents led by Kopek, Iqbalmand, and Tai-Bu. To the check the invaders' advance, the Delhi Sultanate ruler Alauddin Khalji dispatched an army led by Malik Kafur, and supported by other generals such as Malik Tughluq. The Delhi army achieved a decisive victory, killing tens of thousands of the invaders. The Mongol captives were brought to Delhi, where they were either killed or sold into slavery. After this defeat, the Mongols did not invade the Delhi Sultanate during Alauddin's reign. The victory greatly emboldened Alauddin's general Tughluq, who launched several punitive raids in the Mongol territories of present-day Afghanistan. Background Duwa, the ruler of the Mongol Chagatai Khanate in Central Asia, had dispatched multiple expeditions to India before 1306. Alauddin Khalji, the ruler of Delhi Sultanate of India, had taken several measures against these invasi ...more...

Malik Altunia


Malik Ikhtiyar-ud-din Altunia was the lover and husband of Sultana Razia and the governor of Bhatinda ( Punjab ) in India under the rule of the Delhi Sultanate under the Mamluk Sultanate . Early life He was given the charge of sharab-dar [office for the care of the liquors] and after sometime when Sultan iltutmish saw the braveness and manliness, in him he gave him the office of Sar Chatar-dar [Head of the state canopy- bearers]. During the reign of Razia Sultan , he stood by her like a pillar through thick and thin times. He helped her break the 40 Amirs and strengthen her rule, he also helped her in over throwing the rule of Shah Turkan and her son, Ruknuddin Firoz who were very cruel. Due to his services to her and the Sultanate, she made him the Governor of Bhatinda which was under the rule of the Delhi Sultanate. Some historians say that, it was because of Malik Altunia's undying support and protective shield towards her, that she managed to rule successfully for four years. This fact made sense because, ...more...

Mongol invasion of India, 1303


In 1303, a Mongol army from the Chagatai Khanate launched an invasion of the Delhi Sultanate , when two major units of the Delhi army were away from the city. The Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khalji , who was away at Chittor when the Mongols started their march, returned to Delhi in a hurry. However, he was unable to make adequate war preparations, and decided to take shelter in a well-guarded camp at the under-construction Siri Fort . The Mongols, led by Taraghai, besieged Delhi for over two months, and ransacked its suburbs. Ultimately, they decided to retreat, having been unable to breach Alauddin's camp. The invasion was one of the most serious Mongol invasions of India , and prompted Alauddin to take several measures to prevent its recurrence. He strengthened military presence along the Mongol routes to India, and implemented economic reforms to ensure adequate revenue streams for maintaining a strong army. Background Alauddin Khalji , the ruler of the Delhi Sultanate , had successfully warded off Mongol (Mugha ...more...

Deccan sultanates


The Deccan sultanates were five dynasties that ruled late medieval Indian kingdoms , namely, Bijapur , Golkonda , Ahmadnagar , Bidar , and Berar in south - western India . The Deccan sultanates were located on the Deccan Plateau , between the Krishna River and the Vindhya Range . These kingdoms became independent during the break-up of the Bahmani Sultanate . In 1490, Ahmadnagar declared independence, followed by Bijapur and Berar in the same year. Golkonda became independent in 1518 and Bidar in 1528. In 1510, Bijapur repulsed an invasion by the Portuguese against the city of Goa, but lost it later that year. Although generally rivals, they did ally against the Vijayanagara Empire in 1565, permanently weakening Vijayanagar in the Battle of Talikota . In 1574, after a coup in Berar, Ahmadnagar invaded and conquered it. In 1619, Bidar was annexed by Bijapur. The sultanates were later conquered by the Mughal Empire ; Berar was stripped from Ahmadnagar in 1596, Ahmadnagar was completely taken between 1616 and ...more...

Siege of Chittorgarh (1303)


Chittor Delhi In 1303, the Delhi Sultanate ruler Alauddin Khalji captured the Chittor Fort from the Guhila king Ratnasimha , after an eight month long siege. The conflict has been described in several legendary accounts, including the historically unreliable Padmavat , which claims that Alauddin's motive was to obtain Ratnasimha's beautiful wife Padmini . Background The Mewar region in north-western India was ruled by the Guhila dynasty , whose seat was located at the Chittor Fort (Chittorgarh). In 1299, Alauddin's general Ulugh Khan had raided the Mewar region on his way to Gujarat . However, this appears to have been a light raid rather than a serious invasion, and the Guhila king Samarasimha protected his country from the raiders, possibly by paying a tribute . In 1301, Alauddin conquered Ranthambore , which was located between Delhi and Chittor, and then returned to Delhi. The same year, Ratnasimha ascended the throne of Chittor. The later legends based on Malik Mohammad Jaisi 's epic poem Padmavat stat ...more...

Qutb al-Din Aibak


Quṭb al-Dīn Aibak also spelt Quṭb ud-Dīn Aibak or Qutub ud-Din Aybak, (1150–1210), was the founder of the Mamluk dynasty and the first sultan of the Delhi Sultanate. History Quṭb al-Din Aibak was born to Turkic parents in Turkistan. In his childhood, Aibak was sold as a slave and raised at Nishapur, Persia, where he was purchased by the local Qazi. After the death of his master, he was sold by his master's son and eventually became a slave of Muhammad of Ghor who made him the Amir-i-Akhur, the Master of Slave. Eventually, Aibak was appointed to military command and became an able general of Muhammad of Ghor. In 1193 and after conquering Delhi, his master returned to Khorāsān and left the consolidation of the Ghūrid conquests in northwest India to him. With his headquarters at Delhi, Aibak subjugated areas between the Ganges (Ganga) and Yamuna (Jumna) rivers. He then turned his attention to the Rajputs who were still resisting Ghūrid domination. In 1195–1203, he mounted campaigns against their strongholds ...more...

Malik Kafur's invasion of the Pandya kingdom


Delhi Madurai During 1310-1311, the Delhi Sultanate ruler Alauddin Khalji sent an army led by Malik Kafur to the southernmost kingdoms of India. After subjugating the Hoysalas , Malik Kafur invaded the Pandya kingdom (called Ma'bar in Muslim chronicles), taking advantage of a war of succession between the Pandya brothers Vira and Sundara. During March–April 1311, he raided several places in the Pandya territory, including their capital Madurai . He was unable to make the Pandya king a tributary to the Delhi Sultanate, but obtained a huge plunder, including elephants, horses, gold and precious stones . Background By 1310, Alauddin Khalji of the Delhi Sultanate had forced the Yadava and Kakatiya rulers of Deccan region in southern India to become his tributaries . During the 1310 Siege of Warangal against the Kakatiyas, Alauddin's general Malik Kafur had learned that the region to the south of the Yadava and Kakatiya kingdoms was also very wealthy. After returning to Delhi, Kafur told Alauddin about this, and o ...more...

Ramachandra of Devagiri


Ramachandra (IAST: Rāmacandra, r. c. 1271-1311 CE), also known as Ramadeva, was a ruler of the Seuna (Yadava) dynasty of Deccan region in India. He seized the throne from his cousin Ammana, and expanded his kingdom by fighting his Hindu neighbours such as the Paramaras, the Vaghelas, the Hoysalas, and the Kakatiyas. In 1296 CE, he suffered a Muslim invasion from the Delhi Sultanate, and established peace by agreeing to pay Alauddin Khalji an annual tribute. When he discontinued the tribute payments in 1303-1304 CE, Alauddin sent an army led by Malik Kafur to subjugate him, and forced him to become a vassal of the Delhi Sultanate. Subsequently, Ramachandra served Alauddin as a loyal feudatory, and helped his forces defeat the Kakatiyas and the Hoysalas. Early life Ramachandra was a son of the Yadava king Krishna. At the time of Krishna's death around 1260 CE, Ramachandra was probably very young, because of which his uncle (Krishna's younger brother) Mahadeva ascended the throne. When Mahadeva's son Ammana ...more...

Zafar Khan (Indian general)


Hizabruddin, better known by his title Zafar Khan, was a general of the Delhi Sultanate ruler Alauddin Khalji. He held charge of Multan, Samana, and Sivistan at various times during Alauddin's reign. Associated with Alauddin since the latter's days as a governor of Kara, Zafar Khan led a major division of Alauddin's army from Kara to Delhi after Alauddin assassinated his predecessor Jalaluddin in 1296. Along with Alauddin's brother Ulugh Khan, he led the army that invaded Multan to eliminate the surviving members of Jalaluddin's family. Zafar Khan, along with Ulugh Khan, probably led the Delhi army that inflicted a crushing defeat on the Chagatai Mongol invaders at Jaran Manjur in 1298. Later that year, Alauddin dispatched Zafar Khan to recapture Sivistan, which had been occupied by Mongol invaders. Zafar Khan decisively defeated the invaders, and took their leader to Delhi as a prisoner. In 1299, he was killed in the Battle of Kili against the Mongol invaders led by Qutlugh Khwaja. Before being killed in ...more...

Abdul Malik Isami


Abdul Malik Isami (1311-?) was a 14th-century Indian historian and court poet. He wrote in Persian language, under the patronage of Ala-ud-Din Bahman Shah, the founder of the Bahmani Sultanate. He is best known for Futuh-us-Salatin (c. 1350), a poetic history of the Muslim conquest of India. Early life Isami was born in 1311, possibly in Delhi. His father's name was 'Izz ul-Din 'Isami. His ancestor Fakhr Malik Isami had migrated from Baghdad to India during the reign of Iltutmish (r. 1211–1236). In 1327, the Delhi Sultanate ruler Muhammad bin Tughluq decided to move his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad in Deccan region. Several residents of Delhi, including Isami's family, were ordered to move to Daulatabad. His 90-year-old grandfather died during this journey. In Bahman Shah's service At Daulatabad, Isami was appalled with what he perceived as Tughluq's misdeeds and tyranny. At one point, he decided to migrate to Mecca, but he was determined to write a history of Muslim rule in India before leaving th ...more...

Aram Shah


Aram Shah was the second sultan of the Mamluk dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate. He reigned from 1210 to 1211. Origins The relationship of Aram Shah with Qutb al-Din Aibak (the first sultan of Delhi, who ruled from 1206 to 1210) is a subject of controversy. According to some, he was Aibak's son, but Minhaj-i-Siraj distinctly writes that Qutb al-Din only had three daughters. Abul Fazl has made the "astonishing statement" that Aram Shah was Qutb al-Din's brother. A modern writer has hazarded the opinion that "he was no relation of Qutb al-Din" but was selected as his successor as he was available on the spot. Succession There were no fixed rules governing the succession in the Sultanate, with Aram being selected by Turkic amirs (nobles) at Lahore. However, Aram was ill-qualified to govern a kingdom. An elite group of forty nobles known as "Chihalgani" soon conspired against him and invited Shams ud-Din Iltutmish, then Governor of Badaun, to replace Aram. Both Aram Shah and Iltutmish marched towards Delhi fro ...more...

Chahamanas of Ranastambhapura


Ranthambore Ranthambore in present-day India The Ranthambore fort The Chahamanas of Ranastambhapura were a 13th century Indian dynasty. They ruled the area around their capital Ranastambhapura ( Ranthambore ) in present-day Rajasthan , initially as vassals of the Delhi Sultanate , and later as sovereigns. They belonged to the Chahamana (Chauhan) clan of the Rajputs , and are also known as Chauhans of Ranthambore in vernacular Rajasthani bardic literature. The Chahamana line of Ranastambhapura was established by Govindaraja , who agreed to rule as a vassal of the Ghurids in 1192, after they defeated his father, the Shakambhari Chahamana king Prithviraja III . Govindaraja's descendants gained and lost their independence to the Delhi Sultanate multiple times during the 13th century. Hammira , the last king of the dynasty, adopted an expansionist policy, and raided several neighbouring kingdoms. The dynasty ended with his defeat against the Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khalji at the Siege of Ranthambore in 1301. History ...more...



Jauhar , sometimes spelled Jowhar or Juhar , was the Hindu custom of mass self-immolation by women in parts of the Indian subcontinent , to avoid capture, enslavement and rape by any foreign invaders, when facing certain defeat during a war. This practice was historically observed in northwest regions of India, with most famous Jauhars in recorded history occurring during wars between Hindu Rajput kingdoms in Rajasthan and the Muslim armies. Jauhar is related to sati , and sometimes referred in scholarly literature as jauhar sati. According to Veena Oldenburg, the roots of this practice "almost certainly" lie in the internecine warfare among different Rajput kingdoms. In contrast, according to Kaushik Roy, the jauhar custom was observed only during Hindu-Muslim wars, but not during internecine Hindu-Hindu wars among the Rajputs. The term jauhar sometimes connotes with both jauhar-immolation and saka ritual. During the Jauhar, Rajput women committed suicide with their children and valuables in massive ...more...

Battle of Amroha


The Battle of Amroha was fought on 20 December 1305 between the armies of the Delhi Sultanate of India and the Mongol Chagatai Khanate of Central Asia. The Delhi force led by Malik Nayak defeated the Mongol army led by Ali Beg and Tartaq near Amroha in present-day Uttar Pradesh. Background The Mongol Chagatai Khanate had invaded the Delhi Sultanate a number of times in the 13th century. After Alauddin Khalji ascended the throne of Delhi, four such invasions had been repulsed in 1297-98, 1298-99, 1299, and 1303. During the 1303 invasion, the Mongols managed to enter Alauddin's capital Delhi, which prompted him to take a series of steps to prevent further Mongol invasions. Alauddin started residing in the newly-constructed Siri Fort, repaired and built several frontier forts, and appointed powerful commanders in the frontier regions. Mongol march to India Despite Alauddin's measures, a Mongol force led by Ali Beg invaded the Delhi Sultanate in 1305. The Delhi chronicler Ziauddin Barani describes Ali Beg ...more...

Firuz Shah Tughlaq


Sultan Firuz Shah Tughlaq (1309 – 20 September 1388) was a Turkic Muslim ruler of the Tughlaq Dynasty , who reigned over the Sultanate of Delhi from 1351 to 1388. His father's name was Rajab (the younger brother of Ghazi Malik ) who had the title Sipahsalar. He succeeded his cousin Muhammad bin Tughlaq following the latter's death at Thatta in Sindh , where Muhammad bin Tughlaq had gone in pursuit of Taghi the ruler of Gujarat. For the first time in the history of Delhi Sultanate, a situation was confronted wherein nobody was ready to accept the reigns of power. With much difficulty, the camp followers convinced Firuz to accept the responsibility. In fact, Khwaja Jahan, the Wazir of Muhammad bin Tughlaq had placed a small boy on throne claiming him to the son of Muhammad bin Tughlaq, who meekly surrendered afterwards. Due to widespread unrest, his realm was much smaller than Muhammad's. Tughlaq was forced by rebellions to concede virtual independence to Bengal and other provinces. Rule We know of Firuz Sha ...more...

Indo-Islamic architecture


The Buland Darwaza gateway to Fatehpur Sikri , built by Akbar in 1601 Indo-Islamic architecture is the architecture of the Indian subcontinent produced for Islamic patrons and purposes. Despite an earlier presence in Sindh in modern Pakistan , its main history begins when Muhammad of Ghor made Delhi a Muslim capital in 1193. Both the Delhi Sultans and the Mughal dynasty that succeeded them came from Central Asia via Afghanistan , and were used to a Central Asian style of Islamic architecture that largely derived from Iran . The types and forms of large buildings required by Muslim elites, with mosques and tombs much the most common, were very different from those previously built in India. The exteriors of both were very often topped by large domes , and made extensive use of arches . Both of these features were hardly used in Hindu temple architecture and other native Indian styles. Both types of building essentially consisted of a single large space under a high dome, and completely avoided the figurative s ...more...

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