Qutub Shahi Tombs – Best Places to See in Hyderabad

The Qutub Shahi Tombs is one of the must-see places in Hyderabad. I have visited these tombs several times during our Photowalks in Hyderabad.

History:

The Qutb Shahi Tombs are located in the Ibrahim Bagh ,Hyderabad. They contain the tombs and mosques built by the various kings of the Qutb Shahi dynasty. The galleries of the smaller tombs are of a single storey while the larger ones are two storied. In the centre of each tomb is a sarcophagus which overlies the actual burial vault in a crypt below. The domes were originally overlaid with blue and green tiles, of which only a few pieces now remain.

During the Qutb Shahi period, these tombs were held in great veneration. But after their reign, the tombs were neglected until Sir Salar Jung III ordered their restoration in the early 19th century. A garden was laid out, and a compound wall was built. Once again, the tomb-garden of the Qutb Shahi family became a place of serene beauty. All except the last of the Qutb Shahi sultans lie buried here.

Sultan Quli Qutb Mulk’s tomb, the style of which sets the example for the tombs of his descendants, is on an elevated terrace measuring 30 meters in each direction. The entire structure is crowned by a circular dome. There are three graves in this tomb chamber and twenty-one laid out on the surrounding terrace.The tomb was built in 1543 A.D. by the Sultan, during his lifetime, as was the custom.

Near the tomb of Sultan Quli is that of his son, Jamsheed, the second in the line of Qutb Shahi sultans. Built in 1550 A.D.He was popularly called Chhote Malik (Small Master).

Sultan Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah’s tomb, built in 1580, after his death, is slightly larger than Sultan Quli’s tomb.

Sultan Muhammed Quli Qutb Shah’s mausoleum is considered the grandest of the Qutb Shahi tombs. Built in 1602 A.D., the tomb is on a terrace. A flight of steps leads to the mausoleum proper.There are entrances on the southern and eastern sides. The tomb is in a vault below the terrace. Inscriptions in Persian and the Naskh scripts decorate it.

Another grand mausoleum is that of the sixth sultan, Muhammed Qutb Shah. The facade of this tomb was once decorated with enameled tiles; only traces are now evident.

The Great Mosque in the Qutb Shahi Tombs Complex

The tomb of Fatima Sultan, with its bulbous dome, is near the entrance to the tomb-garden. Fatima was the sister of Muhammed Qutb Shah. Her tomb houses several graves.

The twin-tombs of the two favourite hakims (physicians) of Sultan Abdullah — Nizamuddin Ahmed Gilani and Abdul Jabbar Gilani — were built in 1651. They are among the few Qutb Shahi tombs that are not of royalty.

The mausoleum which Abdul Hasan, the last Qutb Shahi Sultan, began building for himself, actually houses the grave of Mir Ahmed, the son of Sultan Abdullah’s son-in-law and the sister of Abbas II Safair, the Shah of Persia. The tomb of Fadma Khanum, one of Sultan Abdullah’s daughters, stands near the mausoleum of her husband, Mir Ahmed. Hers is the only Qutb Shahi tomb not surmounted by a dome.

To the west of the tombs lies the dargah of Hazrat Hussain Shah Wali, the revered Sufi saint. He is most affectionately remembered by people as the builder of Hussain Sagar in 1562.

The mortuary bath, which stands opposite the tomb of Muhammad Quli, was built by Sultan Quli to facilitate the ritual washing of the bodies of the dead kings and others of the royal family before they were carried to their final resting place. The practice followed was to bring the body out of the fort, through the Banjara Gate, to this bath, before carrying it away for burial with the ritualistic pomp that was required to mark the occasion. A large number of people, fond subjects, friends and relatives attended. The bath is one of the finest existing specimens of ancient Persian or Turkish baths.

The Qutb Shahis built a number of masjids all over Golkonda and Hyderabad, and almost every tomb has a masjid adjacent. The biggest and the grandest such masjid is by the mausoleum of Hayat Bakshi Begum. Popularly known as the great masjid of the Golkonda tombs, it was built in 1666 A.D. Fifteen cupolas decorate the roof and the prayer-hall is flanked by two lofty minarets. The impression, as a whole, is one of majesty and splendour. The inscriptions in the masjid are in calligraphic art.

Hayat Bakshi Begum was the daughter of Muhammed Quli Qutb Shah, the fifth sultan, the wife of Sultan Muhammed Qutb Shah, the sixth sultan and the mother of Abdullah Qutb Shah, the seventh sultan. She was affectionately known as “Ma Saheba” (Revered Mother). The tomb-garden of the sultans of Golkonda was known as Lagar-e-Faiz Athar (a place for bountiful entertainment) in the days of the Qutb Shahi rulers, for some item or song or dance or even an occasional play was staged here every evening, free of cost, to entertain the poor.

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Tips for Photographers:
1. The best time to go there is in the evenings. Thats when you will find lots of activities.
2. Carry your tripod if you want to shoot inside the tombs.
3. The tombs close by sunset, be on time.
4. Fortunately, the tombs are renovated now for longevity, but has lost its rustic look. Hence, it might not look the way you seen in these pictures.


Thank you for reading this post. Hope you liked spending time here. I will be back again with another interesting place.

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This post is written by Saurabh Chatterjee. He is a travel photographer and a photography trainer.
He strives to ‘make every camera-owner a great photographer through his Photography workshops and Photo Tours and Photowalks..

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