Qutb Shahi Heritage Park
Hyderabad, India
Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme

Qutb Shahi Dynasty

Located in the city of Hyderabad, capital of the state of Telengana the Qutb Shahi Tombs are landmarks that symbolize the Qutb Shahi Dynasty, which ruled the region from 1518 A.D. to 1687 A.D. The Qutb Shahi Islamic Sultanate was one of the five prominent dynasties that emerged in the Deccan following the downfall of the Bahmani Dynasty in 1518 A.D. Seven rulers of the Dynasty ruled for 170 years and successfully resisted the Mughal attack till 1687 A.D. It was the last kingdom to be absorbed in the expanding Mughal Empire.


The Qutb Shahi monuments provide a unique testimony to the vibrant cosmopolitanism that characterized the medieval period in India and in the Deccan region in particular. Other Deccani sultanates were similarly multi-ethnic and multi-lingual, but the Qutb Shahi Sultanate appears to have been at the forefront of this cosmopolitanism. The founder of the dynasty and many influential nobles were Shia Turkmen who embraced Persian culture. The success of the Qutb Shahi state depended critically on the ability of these "westerners" (gharbian) to form alliances both with members of the deeply rooted class of Deccani Muslims, and the local Telugu-speaking Hindu elite. The Qutb Shahi monuments reveal the innovative and inspired blending of Persianate and Indic cultures that flowed from the successful integration of this multi-ethnic society.


Qutb Shahi Tombs

The Qutb Shahi Tombs complex consists of 30 tombs, mosques and a mortuary bath. The tombs belong to the rulers of the Qutb Shahi Dynasty, their queens and children and the nobles who faithfully served them. It contains the epigraphically documented tombs of five of the dynasty's seven sultans, as well as those of another four members of the royal family, spanning the 130-year period from 1543 to 1672. The Qutb Shahi Tombs collectively constitute an outstanding example of an Indo-Muslim dynastic necropolis and is the most extensive and best epigraphically documented in all of India.


Qutb Shahi Heritage Park

Nestled at the foot of the majestic Golconda Fort, the Qutb Shahi Heritage Park is spread over 106 acres. This necropolis of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, which ruled the region for 169 years in the 16th 17th centuries, includes 40 mausoleums, 23 mosques, 6 baolis (step-wells), a hammam (mortuary bath), pavilions, and garden structures set within a heritage zone of international significance. Many of these rival the greatest Mughal structures in scale and represent almost two centuries of funerary architecture. No other ensemble of structures in the Deccani kingdoms of Ahmednagar, Berar, Bidar, Bijapur or Gulbarga includes as many monuments of striking grandeur and complexity reflecting a unique synthesis of architectural styles.

With the tomb structures of all eight rulers of the Qutb Shahi Sultans located here, the ensemble provides a unique understanding of the culture of the era. The necropolis is the only surviving complex of this nature where architectural styles used during an entire significant dynasty are found in one ensemble. During the Qutb Shahi period, these tombs were held in great veneration but after their reign, the complex fell into neglect. The architectural style of Qutb Shahi monuments develops from the earlier Bahmani style and is a synthesis of Pathan, Hindu forms and can be seen to be evolving over 17 decades. Surviving as a ‘Heritage Park’, and presently nominated to the tentative list of world heritage monuments, visitor experience and understanding of these diverse building types could help form the critical ‘first impression’ of the Qutb Shahi heritage for visitors en-route to Golconda and prior to visiting Charminar and other Qutb Shahi built heritage of Hyderabad. The monuments in Qutb Shahi Heritage Park are built in a unique architectural style which is an integration of Persian, Pathan, and Hindu forms, built in granite and lavishly embellished with lime stucco ornamentation. Surfaces of the historic buildings are ornamented with intricate incised plasterwork and few monuments also bear glazed tilework. Each structure, especially the tombs stands within wide terraces and together comprises an ensemble.


The connections with Golconda Fort will be revived allowing the site to serve as a starting point for the Qutb Shah trail of Hyderabad leading to a significant interest in its heritage both locally and internationally. Nearly 15 hectares within the Heritage Park are being converted into an ecological zone by introducing appropriate tree species and enhancing bird habitat unique to the region. Thereby creating suitable and significant heritage zones wrapped by ecological and formal landscapes.


In keeping with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture's objectives, the project will establish a model conservation process that would include greater public-private partnership for the conservation of our built and intangible heritage, extend the craft-based conservation approach adopted at various sites worldwide, including training opportunities for archaeologists and conservation professionals, demonstrate that conservation effort can lead to improved Quality of Life and socioeconomic development of communities residing in historic neighborhoods.


Source: Aga Khan Trust for Culture


Golconda, Hyderabad, India
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Restoration 2013 and ongoing
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106 acres
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Qutb Shahi Tombs Conservation
Qutub Shahi Royal Tombs Restoration
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