‘Abdu’n Nabi’–At the court of Akbar

Akbar showed great respect for the two leading religious leaders at the court, Makhdum-ul-Mulk and Shaikh Abdul Nabi. Makhdum-ul-Mulk, who had been an important figure during the reign of the Surs, became even more powerful in the early days of Akbar.

‘Abdu’n Nabi aka Shaikh Abdul Nabi held the post of ‘Sadr‘, a kind of ecclesiastical registrar, in Akbar’s reign and enjoyed his confidence and was an important person in the court of Emperor Akbar.

Also known as Shaikh Abdul Nabi, who was appointed sadr-ul-sadur in 1565, was given authority which no other holder of the office (the highest religious position in the realm) had ever enjoyed. Akbar would go to his house to hear him expound the sayings of the Prophet, and he placed his heir, Prince Salim, under his tutorship. “For some time the Emperor had so great faith in him as a religious leader that he would bring him his shoes and place them before his feet.”

The assemblies in the Ibadat Khana had been arranged by Akbar out of sincere religious zeal, but ultimately they were to drive him away from orthodoxy. This was partly the fault of those who attended the gatherings. Questions were asked to belittle rivals, and soon the gatherings degenerated into religious squabbles.

The two great theologians of the court, Makhdum-ul-Mulk and Shaikh Abdul Nabi, arrayed on opposite sides, attacked each other so mercilessly that Akbar lost confidence in both of them. His disillusionment extended to the orthodoxy they represented.

Shaikh Abdul Nabi, although not personally accused of graft, is said to have had corrupt subordinates. He was a strict puritan, and his hostility toward music was one of the grounds on which his rival attacked him in the discussions in the House of Worship.

The petty recriminations of the ulama disgusted the emperor, but probably a deeper cause for his break with them was an issue that is comparable in some ways to the conflict between the church and the state in medieval Europe. The interpretation and application of Islamic law, which was the law of the state, was the responsibility of the ulama. Over against this, and certain to come in conflict with it, was Akbar’s concentration of all ultimate authority in himself.

Furthermore, with Akbar’s organization of the empire on new lines, problems were arising which the old theologians were unable to comprehend, much less settle in a way acceptable to the emperor.

i) One such problem brought matters to a climax in 1577. A complaint was lodged before the emperor by the qazi of Mathura that a rich Brahman in his vicinity had forcibly taken possession of building material collected for the construction of a mosque and had used it for building a temple. “When the qazi had attempted to prevent him, he had, in presence of witnesses, opened his foul mouth to curse the Prophet, and had shown his contempt for Muslims in various other ways.”

The question of suitable punishment for the Brahman was discussed before the emperor, but, perplexed by conflicting considerations, he gave no decision. The Brahman languished in prison for a long time.

ii) Ultimately Akbar left the matter to Shaikh Abdul Nabi, who had the offender executed. This led to an outcry, with many courtiers like Abul Fazl expressing the view that although an offense had been committed, the extreme penalty of execution was not necessary. They based their opinion on a decree of the founder of the Hanafi school of Islamic law. Abdul Nabi’s action was also severely criticized by the Hindu courtiers and by Akbar’s Rajput wives.

iii) He was sent by the emperor to Mecca with money for distribution to the poor, but on his return he failed to account for the money and was put in prison and murdered in 1584-85.

iv) A similar incident is mentioned in a book Themes in Indian History by Raghunath Rai, in the following words:

The king (Akbar) listened to the viewpoints of all the scholars and sometimes asked very intelligent questions. But he was much disgusted with the orthodox Muslims religious leaders like Makhdum ul Malik, Abdul Nabi and others as they showed obnoxious intolerance of another’s views.

v) Again in another book titled Domesticity and Power in the Early Mughal World by Ruby Lal, Abdul Nabi is not mentioned in good words:

One one occasion, even the Sadr (chief Judge) of the empire Shaykh Abd un Nabi has sought “protection from secluded ladies”.

Abd un Nabi was the grandson of Abdul Qaddus Gangohi, a great saint of his time.

Akbar had appointed Abd un Nabi the Sadr of the empire but found cases of bribery and murder against him, and therefore gave his position to Sultan Khvajeh.

Abd un Nabi was banished to Mecca. It was after his return that he sought refuge with the women.

In due time Akbar gave orders for his arrest “in such manner that the ladies should not know of it.”Abd un Nabi was later put to death: but it is interesting that Akbar had to do all this quietly, without crossing swords with the senior women of his Harem.

vi) Even his famous contemporary historian Abdul Qadir Badayuni, also seems to be not happy with the gentleman and his opinion is expressed in the following words:

Badauni not only has his complain only for Shias or Hindus, he too has reservations for many people from among Sunni faith. Shaikh Abd un Nabi, the chief Sadr, a bigoted Sunni is great target of him, in spite of his being good terms with Sadr, he related too many ‘infamous’ act of the Sardr.


Abdul Nabi Mosque

(Internet Photo)

Tilak Bridge, On Mathura Road, New Delhi
Dedicated To : Abdu’n Nabi
Built In : 1575-76

Abd un Nabi aka Abdul Nabi had constructed a beautiful mosque in Delhi. It was construct in 1575/76.

Abdul Nabi Mosque

Abdul Nabi Mosque, about 400m north of the Tilak Bridge, lies with its back on the Mathura road. It is a rubble-built structure consisting of a prayer-hall entered through three arched openings, the central apartment of which is provided with a dome. The cloisters on the sides of its courtyard have disappeared.
Originally, there was an inscription above the main arched bay of the prayer-hall, from which it is learnt that it was built by Shaikh ‘Abdu’n Nabi in 983 AH (1575-76). The façade of the prayer-hall was originally decorated with colored tiles, which have largely disappeared. The original features of the mosque have suffered during its recent renovation.

Tomb of Abd un Nabi aka Abdul Nabi (?) in District Gujranwala-Pakistan

Though it is clear from historical references that Abd un Nabi was a prominent courtier of Akbar, during the early decades of his rule. But it cannot be said with certainty that the same person is buried in this tomb. I found the following references about Abd un Nabi on the net, which I would like to share with you.

On 28 May, 2015, an article by Aown Ali was published in Dawn. on Abd un Nabi and his tomb.

This idea is based on the research of some of our renowned archaeologists, for example Ihsan H. Nadiem in an article on historic monuments in Gujranwala writes:

“The tomb is associated with Sheikh Abdul Nabi who was a tutor of the great Akbar. The Sheikh reached the status of Sadrus Sudur but was exiled to the holy places (Makkah and Madina) when the emperor was poisoned by Sheikh Faizi and Abdul Fazal.”

“He was ordered not to return to his country unless called by the emperor. On receiving rumors of disturbed conditions in India under Akbar he, however, came back without the permission of the emperor and settled in Ahmadabad in Gujarat in 1583. He was, therefore, arrested by Akbar and sent to prison under the charge of his old rival, Abul Fazal”.

“Another version tells of his having been murdered, while yet another attributes it was a natural death. But both accounts agree that it happened in 1584.”

Furthermore, in the same article, the veteran archaeologist says that there is no dated inscription record about the monument yet the architectural features on comparative basis suggests it dates back to the early 17th century of Shahjahan’s rule (1628-1658).

However, the comparative historical notes suggest that Sheikh Abdul Nabi was imprisoned and died in Fatehpur Sikri in 1583. It seems strange that the body of a person who was oppressed by the emperor was shifted so far away, and for what reason? Why was he buried in this great wilderness, as it surely has been towards the end of 16th century when the sheikh died?

Archeologists do not accommodate this query. But the historic record that we do have is a testament to the fact that Sheikh Abdul Nabi, the Sadrus Sudur, was buried in Narnaul in the Indian state of Haryana. This place is not too far from Fatehpur Sikri where the sheikh died while in prison.

The other school of thought regarding the tomb relates it to the Diwan Abdul Nabi Khan who is said to be the governor of Wazirabad under Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb’s era. Dr. Saif ur Rahman Dar the archeologist and Salman Rashid the travel writer are leading on this thought. Dr. Dar even establishes that Diwan Abdul Nabi Khan was a tutor of the grandchildren of Nawab Saad Ullah Khan, the prime minister, under Shah Jahan.


Tomb of Abd un Nabi at Kotly Maqbara


(Internet Photo)

Tomb of Abd un Nabi is a majestic building located in district Gujranwala, near a small village Kotly Maqbara. It is situated in such a remote country side. The huge tomb is a grand building standing tall in the green fields and visible from a long distance. Its sheer size and beauty of architecture is simply marvelous. Folk lore call it a work of Djins.

Due to negligence, it is fast approaching a stage when it would be difficult to repair or restore it. Already huge cracks have appeared in one of the four cupolas of the tomb. The main building is eroding at the lower parts.


The board reads: There are three graves under this tomb. In centre, Sheikh Abd un Nabi, on the west  side his son and on the east side his disciple lie buried.

(Internet Photo)


Passage to the lower a chamber containing graves


(Internet Photo)

There was one interesting story in November 1991: a woman had, of late, started to visit Abdul Nabi’s mausoleum. She dismounted from her escort’s motorcycle some ways away and came dancing to the tomb where she did all sorts of genuflexions at the subterranean graves.

(By the way-In the old days, when you came in front of your social superiors, you were expected to genuflect: that is, bend your knee and bow submissively. You did it before kings and nobles, and everyone did it before God.)

She told the people that a vision in her dream had informed her that these three were great heroes of Islam, who had come from Arabia and whose exertions had done much for religion in the heathen land of India.

Upon investigations it was revealed that this seer of visions was a superannuated dancing woman and prostitute from Chhicherwali, a village outside Gujranwala.



Posted in Historical Accounts | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Inside a Harem – Dar Harem Awurd-Dar Nikah Awurd

Dar Nikah Awurd (brought into the legal wedlock) and Dar Harem Awurd (admitted to the harem) these were used in order to indicate the manner in which particular women were admitted into the Harem, as the number of legally wedded were few; the number of others was often very large.



‘The Reception’ (1873) by John Frederick Lewis


Maintaining a large harem was cumbersome Personal jealousies and intrigues were rampant.

Sultan Mahmud of Gujarat had understood this fact and maintained a peaceful atmosphere in the Harem. According to his rules any lady who laughed at or derided the other, both were killed.

The harem of the Sultans comprised the mother of the Sultan, his wives, sisters and daughters, concubines and slave girls. Some of them were daughters of important nobles or chiefs. The principal wives had each a house, maiden, guards and servants. The ladies of the Harem enjoyed respectable positions and were held in high esteem by the Sultans.

Some royal ladies enjoyed high prestige and were endowed high titles such as Malika-i- Jahan, Makhduma-i Jahan and Khudavanda-i Jahan etc.

Among the prominent ladies of Mamluk, Khilji and Tughlaq Dynasty come the names of Khudavanda-i Jahan = Shah Turkan (wife of Sultan Iltutmish), Malika-i- Jahan, (wife of Sultan Jalaluddin Khalji), Makhduma-i Jahan and Khudavandzada (the mother and sister of Sultan Mohammad Bin Tughluq) respectively.

Interestingly the aspect of harem life of the Delhi Sultans was that, in order to strengthen their position, they established matrimonial relations with the royal family. Some significant examples are:

i) Qutbuddin Aibak’s daughter was married to Iltutmish

ii) A daughter of Iltutmish was married to Balban

iii) Altunia married Raziya

iv) Balban gave one of his daughters in marriage to Nasiruddin Mahmud

v) A daughter of Malik Chajju was married to Kaiqubad

vi) A daughter of Kaiqubad was married to Alauddin Khalji

vii) A daughter of Sultan Jalaluddin Khalji was married to Alauddin Khalji

viii) A daughter of Alauddin Daughter Khalji was married to Ghiyasuddin Tughluq

x) A daughter of Mubarak Khalji was married to Firozshah Tughluq

x) A daughter of Sultan Muhammad of the Syed dynasty was married to Mahmud Sharqi


‘The Harem’ by Gustave Boulanger

Petticoat Government run from the Harem-Some examples: from Mamluk, Khilji and Tughlaq Dynasty.

Shah Turkan


Shah Turkan

Iltutmish’s death in 1236 was a signal for the nobles to initiate factional politics. His vigilance and political adroitness had as yet kept the nobles strictly under his control throughout his life time.

As mentioned by contemporary historians of Sultanate of Delhi, the name of Khudavanda-i Jahan Shah Turkan surfaces.

She was originally a slave girl of Turkish origin, purchased by Iltutmish. She rose to the status of chief queen of Sultan Iltutmish by dint of her beauty and qualities.

An ambitious lady, possessing intelligence and ability, she took over the reins of government in her own hands, after the passing away of her husband, because the new Sultan, her son Sultan Ruknuddin Firoz had become neglectful of his duties, owing to his over indulgence in pleasure.

She patronized men of letters and bestowed munificent generosity towards the men of learning and piety and endowments. She won the support of the nobility, and it was with their active cooperation that she succeeded in setting aside the will of Sultan Iltutmish and claimed the throne for her son Ruknuddin Firoz in place of Raziya Sultan.

Shah Turkan had ambitious and intriguing nature. She rose to prominence because of the incompetent and pleasure loving temperament of her son, Sultan Ruknuddin Firoz. The Sultan preferred a life of merry making with wine and women ignoring his responsibility in the affairs of the state.

This led Shah Turkan to control the administration of the Sultanate. She enjoyed the support of the officers of the house and the Turkish officers of the capital.

All powers were concentrated in her hands, to the extent that she issued royal farmans (royal mandates) in her own name. She meted out her vicious treatment against the other wives, sons and daughters of the deceased husband. Out of sheer jealousy she started harassing the ladies of the royal household. On the pretext of personal grievances, she brought about the assassination of several co wives of Sultan Iltutmish as she enjoyed the status of queen mother. Hence, she avenged being treated as base and inferior by her co wives.

The treasury was unduly spent to cater for the Sultan’s pleasure. This vicious, petticoat rule produced the inevitable reaction and his own supporters now set about to make amends for their hasty action. But Shah Turkan wanted to keep the throne safe and secure for her son Ruknuddin Firoz.

This brought her in conflict with another son of Sultan Iltutmish named Qutbuddin. He was a young prince having many talents and merit. By the order of Shah Turkan and Ruknuddin Firoz, he was blinded and finally put to death.

All these activities of Shah Turkan led to mutual distrust in the government. Rebellions broke out in different parts of the country.

The so called forty (Turkan-i-chahalgani) the prominent figure of the period felt that for preserving the dynasty and good name of their master Ruknuddin Firoz must be deposed.

To make the matters worse the provincial governors such as Malik Ghiyasuddin Mohammad Shah, a son of Iltutmish rose in rebellion in Oudh and plundered the treasure of Lakhnauti, which was being taken to Delhi. He also sacked and plundered several towns and created lawlessness.

Malik Izzuddin Mohammad Salari, the iqtadar of Badaun, also rebelled. The iqtadar of Multan, Malik Izzuddin Kabir Khan Ayaz and the Iqtadar of Hansi, Malik Saifuddin Kochi and the iqtadar of Lahore Malik Alauddin Jani, collectively rose against Ruknuddin Firoz.

It was a formidable combination of some of the most influential and powerful maliks of the empire.

Firoz marched from Delhi in order to deal with them, but the imperial officers themselves were either afraid of the power of the rebels or not loyal to the king. Nizamul Mulk Junaidi, the wazir deserted the army at Kilugarhi and fled to Koil, and from there went to join Malik Jani and Kochi.

The rebellion of the maliks and amirs spread like a wild fire. Ruknuddin Firoz led an army towards Kohram. At this time the Turkish amirs and slaves of the household, who formed the core centre of the army of the Sultan, further complicated the situation by intriguing with the many of Tazik (non Turk) officers in the neighbour hoods of Mansurpur and Tarain.

Rebellions and disorders in the empire encouraged Raziya also to take advantage. Her relations with Shah Turkan were far from cordial. Shah Turkan wanted to secure her position therefore she challenged Raziya. The generosity of the Sultan perhaps had kept the people of the capital in check so long, but during his absence from the capital Shah Turkan quarreled with Raziya. A rebellion broke out in the city in favor of Raziya . She deepened the crisis by inciting the masses of Delhi against the oppressive measures of Shah Turkan.

The Sultan was forced to return to the capital, but situation was already out of control, in response to an appeal from Raziya whom shah Turkan had attempted to capture and put to death, the people of Delhi were in favour of Raziya and Shah Turkan’s conspiracy failed miserably.

The Sultan retired to Kilugarhi and the revolt of the people met with success. The amirs and the soldiers, when they came back to the city took their oath of allegiance to Sultan Raziya. Ruknuddin was arrested from Kilugarhi and was imprisoned and put to death in Nov. 1236 A.D. He had ruled for only six months and twenty eight days.

The influential phase of Shah Turkan demonstrates that women in the Delhi Sultanate could be powerful. They were able to change the course of events and winning the nobles to their side.

Unscrupulous acts ultimately made some of the prominent nobles oppose her and plotted to bring end of her reign. She also became influential in political arena because of her son’s incompetence.

If Ruknuddin would have proved to be an able ruler then she with her son could have been successful for a long period of time.

Raziya Sultan


Razia Sultan of the Delhi Sultanate during its early phase, left her mark as a real ruling Sultan. She was the daughter of Sultan Iltutmish (1236- 1240 A.D.) and the first woman Sultan of Delh.

Ibn Battuta says that Raziya wore the garments of the oppressed and appealed to the an-nas (army). But most of the soldiers including the Turkish guards were absent from the capital and the appeal of Raziya must have been to the people of Delhi.

The people of the city hearing about the conspiracy of the queen mother against Raziya rose up in rebellion, attacked the royal palace and seized Shah Turkan.

Freedom of women of the Harem

Daughter of Sultan Iltutmish

The relevant evidence about the daughter who happened to be the real sister of Sultan Muizuddin Bahram Shah (1240- 1242 A.D. ) shows that a Muslim woman did not think it derogatory at all to seek divorce from her husband if there was temperamental incompatibility.

She was first married to the son of Qazi Nasiruddin but the marriage was dissolved afterwards. Again she was married to Aitigin, who had become the Naib-i- Mulk (regent ) after her brother’s accession to the throne in 1240 A. D.

Widow of Sultan Iltutmish

Another widow of Sultan Iltutmish, she also married a senior noble, Qutlugh Khan and with the support of her new husband and his friends at the court she compelled Sultan Alauddin Masud Shah (1242- 1246 A.D. ) to release from prison the sons of Sultan Iltutmish, prince Nasiruddin Mahmud (her own son) and prince Jalaluddin.

On the advice of nobles her son, Nasiruddin Mahmud was entrusted with the charge of the territorial unit of Bahraich, while Jalaluddin was posted as the wali (governor of) of Qanauj.

She is also said to have accompanied her son to Bahraich, because the latter was still a minor, aged less than fourteen years.

Two years later she plotted in league with her husband against Sultan Alauddin Masud and won over the nobles at the court to support her son’s claim to the throne. She confidentially carried on correspondence with the nobles in Delhi, and finally she secretly approached with her son from Bahraich for Delhi.

On her departure for Delhi, she announced that her son was taken to Delhi for medical treatment. Both of them were taken in a palanquin, escorted by sawars (horsemen). In Delhi nobody, except the accomplices in the conspiracy, knew about their arrival till Sultan Alauddin Masud Shah was dethroned and her son was placed on the throne instead.

She further tried to conciliate her son’s position by having the daughter of Balban married to the Sultan. By now Balban had emerged as the leader of powerful Turkish nobility of the court.

Soon after Balban manipulated to undermine her and Qutlugh Khan’s position at the court.

Malika-i- Jahan w/o Jalaluddin Khilji

As wife of Sultan Jalaluddin Khalji, she enjoyed complete influence over her husband. The nobles obeyed her because she wielded great influence at the court and amongst the nobility she commanded a respectable status.

Though a veteran Sultan Jalaluddin Khalji leant ears to his wife, allowing her to prevail in the affairs of the empire.

Barani informs us that when Sultan Jalaluddin Khalji expressed his wish to adopt the title of Al Mujahid fi – Sabilullah (the fighter in the path of Almighty), because he had confronted the Mongols, and so he might be appropriately mentioned in the khutba Al- Mujahis fi Sabilullah. He sought his consort’s (Malika-i- Jahan) advice.

He also requested her to speak on his behalf to the nobles, the Qazis and other religious men to propose the title to him in the court. Since Malika-i- Jahan commanded a lot of respect among the nobles, she found no problem in gaining their consent. It was at her persuasion that the nobles and Qazis proposed the Sultan to accept the title.

But his eyes filled with tears and acknowledged that he had directed Malika-i- Jahan to make the suggestion but he had since reflected that he was not worthy of the title ….as he had fought for his own gratification and vanity.

So later on the Sultan himself declined to accept it.

This event shows that Malika-i- Jahan acted as an advisor to the Sultan. And even enjoyed a respectable position among the nobility also and they welcomed her suggestions.

Alauddin Khilji had strained relations with his mother in law Malika-i- Jahan and with his wife, the daughter of the Sultan-Jalaluddin Khilji. He was apprehensive of the intrigues of Malika-i- Jahan, who had great ascendancy over her husband.

Unable to incur the displeasure of Malika-i- Jahan, he could not even complain to his uncle against his wife’s disobedience and misbehavior towards him. Malika-i- Jahan had caused strain in Alauddin’s relation with his father in law.

This episode to a great extent was responsible in aggravating the domestic unhappiness of Alauddin. He was averse to bringing the disobedience of his wife before the sultan because he could not brook the disgrace which would arise from his derogatory position being made public.

It greatly distressed him and he often consulted his intimates at Kara about going out into the world to making a position for himself by conquering a far off territory, and rule over it independent of his uncle so that he could remain away both from his wife and his mother in law.

We learn from Tarikh-i- Firozshahi that she was aware of his ambitious and intriguing nature and kept a close watch over him. She warned her husband about Alauddin’s alleged intention to carve out an independent principality for himself 30 in some remote corners of the country. Perhaps it was she who created a feeling of suspicion in the mind of the Sultan.

The strained relation between Sultan Alauddin Khalji and his wife were further complicated by the uncharitable attitude of his mother in law Malika-i- Jahan.

Afraid of public disgrace and reluctant to hurt Sultan Jalaluddin Khalji.34 Alauddin Khalji did not openly protest against undesirable activities of his wife and mother in law.

But in heart of hearts, he felt very dejected. This was the main cause of his remaining away from his wife and mother in law.

Malika – i– Jahan w/o Allauddin Khilji

Daughter of Malika – Jahan w/o Jalauddin Khilji, was married to the Sultan’s nephew, Alauddin, the daughter became so overbearing that her husband had become disgusted with her.

The extent of her influence on her husband can be illustrated by the following episode narrated by Barani.

Malika-i- Jahan, wife of Alauddin Khalji, being the daughter of the king always tried to domineer over her husband. The sudden rise of her father had made her exceedingly vain. Alauddin refused to become hen pecked. Being disgusted with the behavior of his wife, he began to neglect her and she made this ground for saying many unpleasant things. This made matter worse. Jalaluddin’s wife tried to mind matters by brow- beating Alauddin which led to greater estrangement. Alauddin was wary of these ladies, life lost all charm for him, and he tended to grow indolent, insipid and dispirited. Her impudence greatly distressed Alauddin, but he was averse to bringing the disobedience of his wife to the notice of the Sultan.

Haji-ud-Dabir in Zafar-ul-walih elucidates the cause of misunderstanding between Alauddin and his consort. He says that the prince had two wives – one the daughter of the Sultan Jalaluddin Khalji, and the other Mahru, the sister of Malik Sanjar, later known as Alp Khan.

Jalaluddin’s daughter had no knowledge about the other marriage, but when she came to know about it, she began to fret out their private life. One day when the Sultan was sitting with Mahru in a garden when she suddenly appeared and enraged at the sight began to beat Mahru with her shoe. Alauddin could hardly bear this insult and became infuriated and attacked her with his sword. She however escaped luckily only with a few minor injuries.

The position of Alauddin’s harem is not known but he had several wives- Jalaluddin’s daughter, a sister of Alp Khan, Badshah Begum, a daughter of Kaiqubad, known as Malka Mahik and mother of Mubarak, Kamla Devi the daughter of Ram Dev, became the chief queen of Alauddin Khalji.However K.S. Lal has rightly remarked that the Sultan does not seem to have been under feminine influence as such.

Makhduma-i- Jahan, widow of Sultan Ghiyasuddin Tughluq and the mother of Sultan Mohammad Tughluq ( 1225-1351 A.D. ).

As wife of Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq

The Tughluqs also had great regard for the ladies. The harem life of the Tughluq Sultans was characterized by sobriety, dignity and restraint. Ghiyasuddin Tughluq’s personal life was extremely chaste and pure. His harem was perhaps very restricted and small.

While we possess very little information about the harem life of Ghiyasuddin Tughluq, all that can be inferred is that he had several wives and that his first wife was the mother of Juna Khan (Mohammad Tughluq ) , his eldest son.

She influenced him many years and was seen in her old age by Ibn Battuta as the mother of the ruling Sultan Mohammad Tughluq. She was the queen dowager, enjoyed the title of Makhduma-i- Jahan (mistress of the world). Her advance age combined with the fact that she had borne Mohammad Tughluq, his eldest son, already a grown up man under Sultan Qutbuddin Mubarak Shah, able to command armies and cut a prominent figure in war, encouraged the conclusions that she was the first wife of Ghiyasuddin Tughluq.

In all probability he married her on his arrival in India soon after the death of Sultan Ghiyasuddin Balban, as is evident from the memoir of their son, Sultan Mohammad Tughluq. Barani and Ibn Battuta are unanimous in praising the exalted lady and the Sultan’s devotion to her. She was one of those virtuous, benevolent and charitable ladies who left their mark as great philanthropists. She received envoys, guests at court and gave magnificent reception to them in the capital

As Mother of Mohammed Bin Tughlaq

Our knowledge about Mohammad Tughluq’s harem life is almost nil. However he looked after his mother, sisters and others with great personal concern. Tughluq dynasty witnessed the political influence of Makhduma-i- Jahan, widow of Sultan Ghiyasuddin Tughluq and the mother of Sultan Mohammad Tughluq (1225-1351 A.D. ). He was always respectful towards the queen mother and even he allowed her to exercise influence in matters of state throughout her life. It appears that she enjoyed precedence over the queens of the Sultan.

Ibn Battuta, the Moorish traveler was one of them, who saw her in her advance age. When he reached Delhi, She was present there with her wazir Khwaja-i- Jahan. She received gifts and presents from the guests and also distributed gifts to others with an open heart. She maintained a large number of hospices for the comfort of the travelers and endowed them to supply free food to all travelers. The foreigners who came to India to seek fortune were first extended hospitality on her behalf as guests. They were entertained with delicious food and then invested with silk robes of honour embroidered in gold. After it they were given fabrics of silk, linen and cotton. A separate department was organized which kept an account of her gifts and grants.

Mohammed Bin Tughlaq allowed her to exercise influence in matters of state throughout her life. It appears that she enjoyed precedence over the queens of the Sultan.

Being a woman of charitable disposition, she maintained a number of hospices which were run by state exchequer. Her acts of charity were a boon for several families which survived merely because of her help.

During the time of transfer of the capital first of all the Sultan shifted his mother Makhduma-i- Jahan with the entire household of the amirs, maliks and courtiers and slaves along with treasure and the royal hidden wealth shifted to Deogiri. Afterwards the Sultan summoned all the Sayyids, Sheikh (mystics), ulama and grandees of Delhi.

The Sultan sought her able advice not only in the management of the royal household but also on various political issues. It was through her timely intervention that the marriage of Bibi Raasti, the daughter of sultan Mohammad Tughluq, was solemnized with Sheikh Fathullah bin Sheikh Auhaduddin Nagoari, the grandson of Baba Farid in 1327 A.D. at Daulatabad.

Mohammad Tughluq had great devotion and love for his mother, Makhduma-i- Jahan. On one occasion she went on a tour with the Sultan but he returned few days before. When she came back, the Sultan received her with great ceremony. He alighted from his horse and kissed her feet when she was in her palanquin.

Unfortunately she had lost her eye sight at the time of Mohammad Tughluq’s coronation. Though based on hearsay, the following account of Makhduma-i- Jahan, as given by Ibn Battuta gives an idea of the éclat and splendour with which the occasion was celebrated: But she had lost her eye sight, which came about in this way; when her son ascended the throne, all the ladies and the daughters of maliks and amirs, dressed in their best clothes, came to pay their respect. She was seated in on a golden throne studded with jewels. All of them bowed to her. Then suddenly she lost her eye sight. She was treated by various means but could not get her eye sight back.

In 1341 A.D., when the governor of Multan declared his independence, Mohammad Tughluq set off from Delhi to deal with him. On the way he heard about the death of his revered mother Makhduma-i- Jahan at Delhi. The Sultan was over 56.

Over powered with grief, but having made arrangements of the distribution of alms for the benefit of the departed soul of his mother, he started for Multan.

The tomb of Sultan Ghiyasuddin Tughluq which lies near the Tughluqabad fortress was built by Mohammad Tughluq over the grave of his father. Subsequently two other graves namely the grave of Makhduma-i- Jahan and that of Sultan Mohammad Tughluq himself were built in the premise.

Sultan Mohammad Tughluq’s death on 20th March 1351 A.D., plunged Delhi Sultanate into great confusion and chaos.

Khudavandzada – Eldest Sister of Mohammed Bin Tughlaq

Following Mohammed Bin Tughlaqs death the confusion and chaos was further aggravated when the deceased Sultan’s eldest sister Khudavandzada intervened in the matters of succession. Unlike his wife, we find no mention in any contemporary or near contemporary records, his sisters are often mentioned.

The most prominent being Khudavandzada, she had a son named Dawar Malik. Other sisters have been mentioned in the Rehla which bears testimony to the kindness, he uniformly showed to them.

Before Thatta campaign, the Sultan had summoned Khudavandzada and Makhduma-i- Jahan from Delhi, together with many Sheikhs, the ulama, the elders, maliks, horsemen and foot soldiers to join him in the camp.

Soon after the death of Sultan at Thatta, Khudavandzada, being in the royal lineage, she put forward the claims of her son, Dawar Malik to the throne against Firozshah Tughluq as she was present in the imperial camp at Thatta.

She lodged a protest and asserted the superiority of the claims of her son. But Firozshah had been in the good books of Mohammad Tughluq and possessed first hand administrative experience. She appealed to Firozshah that he should help in restoring order in the realm by accepting the office of the regent. The nobles and the captains of the army attached no importance to his (Dawar Malik) Dynastic claims and only stated that he was unfit for the kingly office because he was a minor and possessed no administrative experience.

She desired to achieve her ends by being harsh to the nobles. This hostile attitude of Khudavandzada infuriated the nobility who opposed her claims.

The nobles made it clear to her that at such critical hour there was a need of competent person on the throne who could save the Sultanate from disruption. For this purpose Dawar Malik was too immature in comparison to Firozshah Tughluq. But Khudavandzada was firm in her stand and pressed the claims of her son for succession. She cared for her interest more and was least concerned about the welfare of the Sultanate. In order to avoid a civil war, Malik Saifuddin an influential noble of the court made efforts to pacify Khudavandzada’s stubborn attitude and he succeeded in his attempts and she withdrew her agitation.

Thus she could not procure the throne for her son. The nobles assigned him the office of Naib Barbak. Khudavandzada yielded to the wishes of the nobles, in favor of Firozshah Tughluq, yet in heart of hearts she longed to place her son on the throne.

Here we again find that women in any relation were respected and were given due weightage to their words. She was respectfully told that her son was a minor and unfits to manage the state affairs. And even the Sultan did not want to hurt her feeling.

The authority of Firozshah was recognized even at the capital. The boy king was unceremoniously set aside to make room for him and was later killed or died a natural death.

Wolseley Haig calls Firozshah a usurper who overrode the claims of the legitimate heir of the late Sultan. He regards the boy king as truly a son of Mohammad Tughluq. But Ishwari Prasad points out a number of difficulties in doing so. He says that if the Sultan had a son, contemporary historians must have referred to his birth, Khudavandzada could not have pleaded in favour of her own son. Firozshah Tughluq would not have inquired whether the Sultan had a son. The nobles could not have asserted that there was none and Firozshah would have never set his claims aside.

But he does not explain why Khwaja Jahan should have placed an obscure child on the throne and if his motive was to grab power for himself why should he has offered the regency to Firozshah. Hence a suspicion is created that the Sultan did leave behind a son. Ferishta and Badaoni support this view. R.P. Tripathi also regards the boy as a legitimate son of the late Sultan. If this be a fact, Firozshah was surely usurper in the light of current tradition but in point of law his election was not only valid but also in public interest. In this latter sense, the charge of usurpation falls to the ground.

Firozshah left no stones unturned in maintaining cordial relationship with his cousin Khudavandzada. He considered it proper to be coronated by her hand and she is said to have completed the ceremony of his coronation. Perhaps through this act he tried to express feeling of gratitude towards her for his succession.

So on his visit to Khudavandzada, he fell upon his knees, and pleaded her to fulfill his desire. She embraced him and placed the crown on Firozshah’s head on 24 Muharram 752 A.H./ 20th March1351 A.D. In spite of this she cherished malice.

Since then the Sultan made it a custom to pay visit to Khudavandzada after every Friday prayer.98 Thus the Sultan continuously expressed his gratitude and paid his respect to Khudavandzada. During these visits Sultan Firozshah and Khudavandzada sat on the same carpet and discussed the issue of importance.

It was after taking betel leave from her the Sultan came back to the palace. During these meetings Khudavandzada’s husband, Khusrau Malik stood beside them and her son Dawar Malik sat behind his mother. It shows that she enjoyed great respect and privilege and also appears that she asserted herself in presence of her son and husband.

As it is clear that Khudavandzada had never abandoned the idea of placing her son upon the throne. She was just looking for the right moment. Before Firozshah started on his first Bengal campaign, she along with her husband organized a conspiracy against the Sultan to assassinate him at the time when he visited her. For this purpose the armed guards were asked to stay in the nearby chamber and at Khudavandzada’s signal they were to attack the Sultan. Firozshah was completely unaware of this whole plot. As usual he went to visit Khudavandzada, but the timely gesture of Dawar Malik upset the plan and Firozshah escaped unhurt. The armed guards were arrested and they confessed their guilt.

Even though her attempt to kill Firozshah ended in failure, the Sultan continued to treat Khudavandzada with consideration and granted her a fixed allowance. Her enormous properties, owing to which she had hoped to put her son on the throne, were confiscated and she was directed to lead a secluded life.

Her scheming husband, Khusrau Malik was deported while Dawar Malik was ordered to visit the Sultan every month attired in a robe and slippers. His property and wealth was confiscated to the state treasury and he got only a fixed allowance.

The ambitious and conspiring Khudavandzada though met an unhappy end but in a way she was always given due regard by the Sultan Firozshah Tughluq.

Perhaps if she had not schemed against the Sultan, she would have a smooth and luxurious life. But her unwise act undid her better prospects.


Harem Dancers-Portrait by Η Marthe Soucaret


Tabaqat-i- Nasiri of Minhaj-us Siraj

Tarikh-i- Firozshahi of Ziauddin Barani

Rehla of Ibn Battuta

Tarikh-i- Ferishta of Abdul Qasim Ferishta

Tarikh-i- Firozshahi of Shams Siraj Afif

Posted in Historical Accounts | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Razia Sultan – A Royal Prisoner of Qila –i – Mubaraq aka Bathinda Fort

The Royal Prisoner


Razia Sultan, the first and only lady ruler of the Delhi Sultanates, was kept imprisoned in this fort after she was defeated and dethroned.

They say she was allowed out to pray only on Fridays, that too in a Palanquin by the Governor of Bhatinda-Altunia.

During the Razia’s reign, Malik lkhtiyaruddin Altunia the governor of Bathinda, rebelled against her authority. She marched on him to quell the rebellion, but her Turkish nobles mutinied against her and killed her so called paramour? Yaqut the Abyssinian. (It is being debated upon whether he was her paramour).

She was consigned to Altunia as a prisoner and was kept in the fort of Bathinda.

According to a local source Razia committed suicide by jumping from the wall of the fort. But some historical records of the period tell that after her marriage with Altunia, they were assassinated by a gang of plundering Jats, near Kaithal.

Altunia the Governor of Bathinda rebelled against Razia Sultan – the first woman to sit on the throne of Delhi. Later she was arrested and kept in this fort.

According to a legend a dejected Razia jumped from the parapets.

Of all these strongholds, the only one at Bathinda could endure the ravages of time. Set 300 kilometers northwest of Delhi, this fort has a long and important history unfolded.

Nasiruddin Qabbacha, the ruler of Sind is known to have captured the fort in 1210, after the death of Qutbuddin Aibak, the first Slave Sultan of India.

ln 1253, the fort was occupied by Razia’s brother, Sultan Nasiruddin Mahmud. Malik Sher Khan was appointed the commander of the fort who also renovated and repaired its structure at various places and points.

About the fort


Bathinda Fort

(Source: Internet)

Bathinda was situated along the ancient route which connected Delhi with Multan-the gateway of Hindustan from the northwest. To check the foreign invasions, a line of strongholds to the north of the Ghaggar River was erected during the early centuries of the Christian era.

The fort is situated in Bhatinda city.It is is a monument of great historical importance. The presence of the fort can be traced back to the 90-110 AD.

The bricks of the fort dates back to Kushana period when emperor Kanishka ruled over India. The fort was captured by Maharaj Ala Singh of Patiala in 1754. The fort houses a Gurdwara, built in memory of Guru Gobind Singh. Bathinda Fort which had withstood the period of Raja Deb (3rd century), one of the ancestors of Vinaipal,

Bathinda was known as Tabarhindh (Labb-ut-Twarikh). The earliest mention of Tabarhindh occurs in the Jami-Ul-Hakayatwritten about 607 Hijri or 1211 AD. The fort, also known as Vikram Garh and Qila I Mubaraq.   In 1754, the fort was rechristened Govindgarh.

Later Bhatinda was changed to Bathinda to conform to the phonetical expression as locally pronounced according to Henry George Raverty,

In 1004, Mahmud of Ghazni besieged the local fort, which was located on the route from the northwest into the rich Ganges valley. Mahmud of Ghazni also visited it and a mention of it is there in Al Biruni’s Kital-ul- Hind.

At the time of Mahummad Ghori’s invasion, it was held by Mangal Rao, a descendent of Rao Hem Hel Bhatti. Mangal Rao, leaving the fort in the command of his son Anand Rao, led a large force to Jaisalmer against Muhammad Ghori.

The father was slain in the battle and the son died during the siege of the fort. Muhammad Ghori left Malik Ziyauddin Taluki as commander of the fort. But soon after his return, Rai Pithaura, popularly known as Prithvi Raj Chauhan, laid a siege to the fort, which continued for more than one year.  Ultimately Malik was left with no option but to concede.

In 1189, Muhammad Ghori attacked and occupied the fort of Bathinda. Prithvi Raj Chauhan, the ruler of this region, managed to recover possession of the fort thirteen months later in 1191 after the first battle of Tarain.

In circa 1754, the town was conquered by Maharaja Ala Singh, the Maharaja of Patiala and since then it followed the history of erstwhile princely state of Patiala. With the dawn of independence and merger of Patiala and East Punjab States into a division called PEPSU, Bathinda become a full-fledged district with headquarters at Bathinda city.

The local legend credits the erection of this fort, to one Raja Dab, an ancestor of Raja Venpal. According to Ain-i Brar Bans (A History of the Faridkot State) the fort, also known as Vikram Garh was built by Bhatti Rao, son of Bala Nand, who became the ruler of Punjab in 279 A.D,

As is well-known, Akbar’s regent Bairam Khan when dismissed from wazarat in 1558, took recourse to rebellion against the Mughal Empire. lt was in the Bathinda fort that he lodged his family before marching towards  Jalandhar.  However, he was defeated by the royal army at Gunachaur, near Rahon.

From the eleventh to the fourteenth century, this fort occasionally attracted the attention of medieval historians who referred to it as Tabar-e-Hind, the strength and glory of India. But the story that emerges out of numerous scraps of information lacks continuity. Only certain episodes are known.

But the fort eventually shot into prominence for the first time when it was captured by Mahmud Ghazni in 1045. Bidjay Roy, the Raja of Bathinda, unable to resist the besiegers fled from the fort and committed suicide.

At the time of Mahummad Ghori’s invasion, it was held by Mangal Rao, a descendent of Rao Hem Hel Bhatti. Mangal Rao, leaving the fort in the command of his son Anand Rao, led a large force to Jaisalmer against Muhammad Ghori. The father was slain in the battle and the son died during ‘ the siege of the fort. Muhammad Ghori left Malik Ziyauddin Taluki as commander of the fort. But soon after his return, Rai Pithaura, popularly known as Prithvi Raj Chauhan, laid a siege to the fort, which continued for more than one year.  Ultimately Malik was left with no option but to concede.

After the middle of the fourteenth century, the fort gradually fades into oblivion. The reason being that the encroaching Thar Desert began to render the route to Multan on which Bathinda was situated, difficult to traverse. Timur completed the process of decline of this route by destroying the cities along this highway during his invasion. The future line to the northwest was to be via Sirhind and Lahore. Hereafter, only a few   references to the fort are known.

Hereafter, once again the fort fades out from the gaze of history until it is known to have been conquered by’ Ala Singh, the Patiala chieftain, in 1754. The fort was rechristened Govindgarh. And most of the structure of the fort as it survives now, date back from its occupation by the Patiala rulers. They held it till the merger of their territory with the Indian Union in 1956.

Thus, this ancient fort which is now among the great archeological attractions of Punjab would be protected and preserved for us and for the posterity to look and to admire at and to have glimpses of the great values of safety and security it stood for.

The Fort is now in a dilapidated state.



Posted in Historical Accounts | Tagged , | Leave a comment

One Mughal Emperor with Two Graves ?????

Chingus-Fort-Sarai-Where Mughal King Jahangir’s Intestines were Buried.

“Nigahen Neechay, Dil-e-ru-baru, Ba mulaiza hoshiyar, Zilay ilahi, Shehnahah-e-Hind diwan-e-khas mein tashreef la rahe hainn.”…………………………………………………………

The above was the valor in the life time of Jahangir……………….

Chingus Fort or Chingus Sarai, is one of the oldest fort that dates back to 16th century. The fort complex houses one of the two graves of Mughal Emperor Jahangir, who died en-route from Kashmir to Delhi. Other one is in Lahore, Pakistan. In order to avoid succession war, Noor Jahan buried the intestine and other abdominal parts of the emperor in the premises of the Sarai to protect the body from decay.

Built by Mughal Emperor Jahangir, this fort is also called “one night fort” as Mughals used it every year to stay for a single night while on their way to Kashmir.

This Fort is a reservoir of many great memories and a big lesson for the generation to learn that Death is ultimate and the mightiest reality in the world.


The Notice Board-Chingus Sarai




Gate Ways to Chingus Fort



Chingus Sarai


Chingus Mosque


Chingus Sarai-Grave


Chingus Sarai-Mosque and Grave

(All Internet Photos)

Chingus Sarai, near Rajouri, is built at the site where Empress Noor Jahan buried the intestines of her husband, Emperor Jahangir, to save the Mughal kingdom, writes Jupinderjit Singh.

It was built during Mughal Kingdom in India who used it during their annual entourage to Kashmir in summer season.
It is the tomb of a Mughal Emperor, built at a place where just one part of his body was buried. That too, an internal organ-Intestines.
Chingus Sarai, a unique relic of the Mughal era, lies 25 km short of Rajouri town and about 130 km from Jammu. It is situated on the Jammu-Rajouri highway, near the Tawi River.

The entrails of Emperor Jehangir are lying buried here in the very center of the Sarai

Jahangir is randomly reported to have visited Kashmir about 27 times and when he went to Kashmir for the last time, he fell ill. In view of the deterioration of his health, Empress Noor Jahan decided to carry him back to the capital Lahore. On the way back to Lahore, Emperor Jahangir breathed his last last in 1627 at Behramgala ( a village near Chandi Marh about 10 kilometers from Buffliaz, Tehsil Surankote Poonch).. Behramgala is an historical gorge with a lofty water-fall called Noori Chhamb named after Noor Jahan-the Empress. According to one view, Behram gala has been named after Baram Khan-the tutor of Akbar-the Great and Akbar is reported to have received his little education at this place.

Noori cham – named after Noor Jahan loving wife of   emperor Jahangir .Noori Cham  is about 1  mile  away   from Bufliaz area this area is blessed by a water fall. Jahangir had constructed a foot step  for   himself from where he used to enjoy the beauty and freshness of this waterfall for   hours together .Richard Temple a   famous   tourist who happened to travel over this track in 1859 he writes that at a distance of 1 mile from Behram gala    there   is small   but   attractive spot   where on   an  ancient   rock   some verses   in   an   unknown  language have been carved by  king Jahangir   after being  impressed by the   beauty  of Noori Cham. At the very left side of Noori Cham there is a place made for a big mirror where Noor Jahan  used   to  dress   herself.

In another version, Noori Cham is also   linked with a   very painful story of Behram   and Hassan Bano. Behram   was  one  of the ministers of  Jahangir and  Hassan Bano  was a  beautiful servant   of   queen  Noor Jahan.  They both fell in love. Once Behram showed his will to marry Hassan Bano  but Noor  Jahan opposed    it bitterly and thereafter, she further conspired   his  killing  and  threw his body inside the fall of Noori Cham. On  hearing this Hassan Bano   also embraced death and dead bodies of these two true lovers  disappeared   in the deep water of Noori Cham.

It is said  that during 1627 when   Jahangir    along with his wife Noor Jahan and his caravan  was   returning  from  Kashmir, he felt ill at Chandimarghand.  One  day during his illness  he ordered one of his  servants to bring a deer for him. Keeping Jahangir’s order servant bought  a deer and  while  bringing  the deer down to base camp the servant slipped to death. On watching his death  Jahangir suffered a  severe  heart attack and on  29 Oct. 1627,  this   painful   incident become cause of his death at Thanna Mandi area

The dead body of the Emperor now was to be carried to Lahore for the last rites to be performed but because it was a to take a long time to reach and in the meantime there was every chance for the cadaver to release stench and smell, so the innards were removed from his body and buried in this Sarai which used to be used as a Transit Camp by Mughals.

There was some apprehension of some revolt for succession in Lahore; hence Noor Jahan did not want to disclose the secret of Emperor’s demise.

She placed the body of Emperor on the elephant inside a type of Palanquin called ‘Kajawa’ in the then language and the caravan set for Lahore.

The dead-body was placed on the elephant as if the Emperor were alive so news of his death could not reach others. The embalmed body of the king, dressed in his usual attire, was made to sit on an elephant in such a way that he appeared hale and hearty.

When the ‘Qafila’ reached Nowshehra, it is said that a girl from Jamwal, who was grazing the cattle on the wayside, all of a sudden came on the way and cried, “Oh! The King has passed away.”

It was a surprise for the Empress, because even most of the ministers and officers did not know about the death despite being within the Emperor’s cabinet. Noor Jahan took the girl aside and enquired of her as to how she knew about this top secret. The girl said, “I have listened to someone saying that not even a bee can dare to sit on the ‘Kajawa’ (Palanquin) of the Mughal Emperor but today I see that a bee is sitting on his Palanquin. I understood his Majesty is no more.” Noor Jahan was surprisingly happy over the wit and wisdom of this young girl and announced the exemption of the entire Jamwal Community of Nowshehra from all kinds of taxes.

Nearly four centuries after this historical act, the site came to be known as Chingus, which means intestines in Persian, The Sarai was otherwise a locked and abandoned historical monument that was in ruins.

This Fort or the Sarai (constructed in random rubbles, large marbles and lakhauri bricks) is divided into two portions-front area also called Shahi Khana or the Royal residence more spacious in expansion which is surrounded by 68 arc-rooms of about 8sqft size. While entering from the main gate to the north 15 rooms are situated on the right side and 12 rooms are on the left side. After stepping into the forte from the first main entrance, we get into a kind ante-chamber to Diwan-e-Khas where the Mughal Emperor used to relax into indolence with his Empress.

After transcending another gate, having two sentry-cabins on either side, one gets exposed to special residential area of the Emperor, surrounded by 41 more guard rooms/ marhs. These marhs or the guard rooms were meant for the royal army to stay and provide protection to the Emperor.

Some of the opinions are there in the annals of the history that these rooms were the ‘Stable rooms’ but this opinion does not appeal to the common sense. Let’s suppose that these rooms were used for the horses then we don’t have as such any other space available in or around the Sarai to accommodate army of the Emperor.

Hence, the horses could have been kept in the open but the army used to stay in these small spaces.

On the right side of the Royal apartment to the south of the Forte lies a small lodge of Emperor with a Hujra or Veiled Rest Room for the Empress exactly at the back of it where no one was allowed to visit excepting the Emperor or the Lady attendants of the Empress.

In front of this residential complex, there is situated a detailed Diwan-e-Aam with an Arch in the east, now converted into the gate, where the Emperor would deliver directions to his army or address his subjects or people in a gathering. The Sarai is decorated with a number of top-holes to the tune of about four hundred and thirty two in total visible around the top of the entire Gothic type structure.

In the middle of the main area inside the Serai is located the tomb where the Royal Entrails have been buried. The tomb is made up of marble and grilled all around. It happens to have been constructed in the corridor of a small-sized mosque, most probably meant for the emperor and some of the very specials to him to perform prayer etc. Standing eastward, on the left there is a small swimming pool for the Emperor and the Empress for use during summer.

Standing in front of the Royal Chamber of Diwan-e-Khas with the face towards north, about 45 degree on the left above the Central gate of the Forte, there is a small round-raised podium which is speculated to have been used by the announcer to announce the arrival of the Emperor with words like, ” Nigahen Neechay, Dil-e-ru-baru, ba mulaiza hoshiyar, Zilay ilahi, Shehnahah-e-Hind diwan-e-khas mein tashreef la rahe hainn.’

However, currently, this fort is in an untidy condition with broken walls and heaps of garbage all around. Due to ill maintenance, a cell on its northern side has collapsed.

Whist visiting Chingus, one can also visit Bafleaz, where, it is said, Alexander’s horse died.



Posted in Historical Accounts | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Some Facts of History-8

1. Lal Kot

Walls of Lal Kot were about 15 feet thick. It seems that there were four gateways, out of which, the western one was called ‘Ranjit Gate’. Later some historians started calling it ‘Ghazni Gate’. The wall of this fort still exists, though not in the same majestic manner.

It is said that outside Ghazni Gate, was the largest slave market of Asia.

The open ground outside it had a huge slave market, which probably was India’s largest. In this market were sold the best of class slaves for all kind of work, concubines, dance girls, wines, opium and all other items that were considered a luxury for the richest during that period,” says Vikramjit Singh Rooprai.


Slave Trade

(Internet Image)

Another interesting fact about Ranjit aka Ghazni Gate is that the kings who ruled Delhi had a bell hung outside it. Anyone who needed justice from the emperor could ring this bell. He was then presented to the king and his wish granted. Several interesting stories from Tomar to Sultanate period float around this bell, showing how justice was dispensed during that period.

s-l300images (1)

Information about these walls and gates, and the stories associated with them is available in the accounts of Ziauddin Barni (Tarikh-i-Firozshahi), Amir Khusro (Nuh Sipir) and Abu Fazil (Ain-i-Akbari). Mentions in the inscriptions about this magnificent city were found in Rajasthan, Palam Baoli of Delhi, Sonepat, Raisina (Delhi) and Narayana (Delhi).

2. Genghis Khan reportedly decided not to conquer India after meeting a unicorn, which bowed down to him; he viewed it as a sign from his dead father and turned his army back.


Genghis Khan



(Internet Images)

3. Jauna Khan became the Wazir of Feroze Shah Tughlaq’s Government. Jauna Khan was as competent as his father but he was no military leader. He failed in the conflict for succession, which began even during the lifetime of Feroz Shah.

Jauna Khan was captured and executed.

Also known as Junan Shah, he built seven large mosques in and around Delhi of which Khirki Masjid is very well known.

The seven Mosques built by Jauna Khan are:

· Khirki Mosque.

· Begampur Mosque.

· Masjid Kalu Sarai.

· Kalan Masjid (Hazrat Nizamuddin).

· Masjid Firoz Shah Kotla.

· Masjid Wakya (Lahori gate).

· Kalan Masjid (Turkaman gate).

4. Why is the tomb of Darya Khan Lohani without inscriptions? And without any covering?


Tomb of Darya Khan Lohani

(Internet Image-Old Image)

5. Salima Sultan w/o Akbar

Salima Sultan is buried in Madarkar Garden Agra.

6. Akbar’s music-loving daughter Meherunnisa (begotten by Queen Daulatabad Begum) fell in love with the court-musician Tansen, and Akbar allowed her to marry him after Tansen underwent conversion from Hinduism to Islam.

(There are some accounts to the effect that Tannu Pandey aka Tansen was converted to Islam, when he was very young, by his Guru Pir Mohammad Ghous of Gwalior).


Tansen’s tomb in Gwalior, near the tomb of his Sufi master Muhammad Ghaus

Many admirers are convinced that his death was caused by a fire while he was singing the raga Deepaka.

7. During the rule of Jahangir, Mirzā Azīz Koka (Khan-i-Azam) lost much of positions, as he along with Raja Man Singh I supported the rebellion of Khusrau Mirza, the eldest son of Jahangir.

Mirza rebellion was crushed in 1606, he was first blinded and later executed.

Mirzā Azīz Koka (Khan-i-Azam) was the son of Shams ud-Din Ataga Khan, the Prime Minister of Akbar and Akbar‘s wet-nurse Jiji Anga. His Turkish sobriquet was “Koka” or “foster-brother,” of Akbar.


The cenotaph of Mirza Aziz Kokaltash, at Chaunsath Khamba Delhi

8. Rauza-i-Munavvara aka Taj Mahal

Shah Jahan had named Mumtaj Mahal’s tomb as Rauza-i-munavvara (The Illumined Tomb)

It got to be known later as Taj Mahal-a corruption of Mumtaj Mahal



9. Qila i Mualla or Qila-i-Mubaraq aka Lal Qila


Qila i Mualla

10. Shah Jahan

Abraham Eraly writes that According to Bernier, Shah Jahan had had constructed under his palace in Dely two deep caves, supported by vast marble pillars.

Piles of Gold were stored in one and those of Silver in the other.

(For safety the precious metals were saved in prodigious sizes, to render them useless for purposes of commerce.)

11. Shah Jahan

On Mumtaj Mahal’s death, Shah Jahan, “gave up the practice of plucking out grey hair” from his beard, says Qazvini.

Mumtaj Mahal’s body was initially kept in a building in the deer park [Ahukhana] while Taj Mahal was being constructed at Agra.

It is said that the casket of Mumtaj Mahal was kept amidst thousands of roses and was made of a special material and design to preserve her body/remains.

download (1)

The actual tombs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan in the Crypt-Taj Mahal-Agra

12. ‘Gauharara Begum’ aka ‘Dahar Ara Begum’ daughter of “Mumtaz Mahal”

According to legend, when Mumtaz was in labour with her last child, the baby cried in the womb, portending the death of the mother on childbirth.

A woman who died on childbirth was considered a ‘shaheed’ (matyr), and her tomb urs was held. Since Mumtaz Mahal died in childbirth hence her Urs was held.

Mumtaz died in Burhanpur (in present day Madhya Pradesh), on June 17th 1631 while giving birth to their fourteenth child, a daughter, Gauhara Begum.

Gauharara Begum (June 17, 1631 – 1706) aka Gauhar Ara Begum or Dahar Ara Begum, was an Imperial Princess of the Mughal Empire as the fourteenth and last child of the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan (builder of the Taj Mahal), and his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.

Mumtaz Mahal died giving birth to her. Gauharara, however, survived the birth and lived for another 75 years. Little is known about her and whether she was involved in the war of succession for her father’s throne.

Gauharara died in 1706, at the age of 75, from natural causes or disease.

Mumtaz Mahal bore Shah Jahan fourteen children, including popular (and, at times, controversial) historical figures such as Dara Shikoh, Shah Shuja, Roshnara Begum, Jahanara Begum and Aurangzeb, among others.

i) Shahzadi Hluralnissa Begum (1613 – 1616).

ii) Shahzadi (Imperial Princess) Jahanara Begum) (1614 – 1681).

iii) Shahzada (Imperial Prince) Dara Shikoh (1615 – 1659).

iv) Shahzada Mohammed Sultan Shah Shuja Bahadur (1616 – 1660).

v) Shahzadi Roshanara Begum (1617 – 1671).

vi) Badshah Mohinnudin Mohammed Aurangzeb (1618 – 1707).

vii) Shahzada Sultan Ummid Baksh (1619 -1622).

viii) Shahzadi Surayya Banu Begum (1621 – 1628).

ix) Shahzada Sultan Murad Baksh (1624 – 1661).

x) Shahzada Sultan Luftallah (1626 – 1628).

xi) Shahzada Sultan Daulat Afza (1628 – ?).

xii) Shahzadi Husnara Begum (1630 – ?).

xiii) Shahzadi Gauhara Begum (1631 – 1707).

13. Bhaluhipur-Bihar

1748-Muhammad Shah, his son Anwer Ali escaped to his grand Aunt Princess Jahanarra & hid in a place in Arrah, Bihar which was infested with bears which was later named as Bhaluhipur.Bihar which was infested with bears which was later named as Bhaluhipur.

14. Barahkhambaknown for fox hunting by the Englishmen

There was a time when this entire area was known for jackal hunting as in those days the Barahkhamba monument was known for fox hunting by the Englishmen.

The premises also has a small cottage made by a British officer known as Smith.




Posted in Historical Accounts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Assassination of a Mughal Emperor…………..

Tragically ill Fate of  Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar………………….

Does the Naubat Khana in Red Fort resonate with the cries agony of Farrukhsiyar after imprisonment, starvation, poisoning and blinding………………………………………..?


Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar (r. 1713-1719) after whom the Farrukhnagar was named

by his governor Faujdar Khan, who founded the city in 1732

(Source: Internet)

Abu’l Muzaffar Muin ud-din Muhammad Shah Farrukh-siyar Alim Akbar Sani Wala Shan Padshah-i-bahr-u-bar [Shahid-i-Mazlum] (or Farrukhsiyar, 20 August 1685 – 19 April 1719) was the Mughal Emperor between 1713 and 1719.

He was the son of Azim-ush-Shan—the second son of emperor Bahadur Shah I—and Sahiba Nizwan.

He acquired the throne after murdering Jahandar Shah. He was as a handsome ruler and was given to believing heresay. He was naïve enough and was easily swayed by his advisers. Farrukhsiyar lacked the ability, knowledge and character to rule independently.

His reign witnessed the primacy of the Sayyid Brothers who became the effective powers of the land, behind the façade of Mughal rule. His constant plotting eventually led the Sayyid Brothers to officially depose him.

Farrukhsiyar’s Humiliating and Bloody end

Farrukhsiyar met a humiliating and bloody end, as his constant plotting eventually led the Sayyid Brothers to officially depose him as the Emperor. Farrukhsiyar was imprisoned and starved; later, on 28 February 1719, he was blinded with needles at the orders of the Sayyid Brothers. Farrukhsiyar was strangled to death on the night of 27/28 April 1719.

After accomplishing his assassination, the Sayyid Brothers placed his first-cousin, Rafi-Ul-Darjat on the throne. Rafi-ud-durjat’s father and Farukhsiyar’s father had been brothers.

Farrukhsiyar is believed to be assassinated at Naubat Khana in Red Fort.

Sayyid Brothers

The term ‘Sayyid Brothers’ refers to Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha (1666 – 12 October 1722 CE) and Syed Hussain Ali Khan Barha (1668 – 9 October 1720 CE), who were powerful Mughal Army generals of the Mughal Empire during the early 18th century.

Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha and his court

(Source: Internet)


Syed Hussain Ali Khan and Emperor Farrukhsiyar

(Source: Internet)

The Sayyid Brothers became highly influential in the Mughal Court after Aurangzeb’s death and became kingmakers during the anarchy following the death of Emperor Aurangzeb in 1707

Aurangzeb’s son Bahadur Shah I defeated his brothers to capture the throne with the help of Sayyid Brothers and Nizam-ul-Mulk, another influential administrator in the Mughal court.

Bahadur Shah I died in 1712, and his successor Jahandar Shah was assassinated on the orders of the Sayyid Brothers.

In 1713, Jahandar’s nephew Farrukhsiyar (r. 1713–1719) became the emperor with the brothers’ help.

Cries for Succession of 1712


Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar

(Source: Internet)

When Prince Farrukhsiyar first arrived at Azimabad, Syed Hussain Ali Khan was away on an expedition, apparently the recapture of Rohtas fort of Bihar, which about this time had been seized by one Muhammad Raza “Ravat Khan”. The Sayyids had felt annoyed on hearing that Farrukhsiyar had issued coin and caused the khutba to be read in his father, Prince Azim-ush-shan’s, name, without waiting to learn the result of the impending struggle at Lahore. Thus on his return to his headquarters his first impulse was to decline altogether that Prince’s overtures. In truth, no attempt could well look more hopeless than that upon which Prince Farrukhsiyar wished to enter.

In aid of Farrukhsiyar:

The Prince’s mother now hazarded a private visit to the Sayyids mother, taking with her little granddaughter. Her arguments rested on the fact that the Sayyids position was due to the kindness of the Prince’s father.

Here the Prince’s mother and daughter bared their heads and wept aloud. Overcome by their tears, the Sayyida called her son within the harem. The little girl fell bareheaded at his feet and implored his aid for positive action.

Prince Farrukhsiyar, meanwhile, had marched out with an army along with Syed Hussain Ali Khan Barha from Patna to Allahabad to join Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha as soon as possible.

At the Battle of Agra 1713 fought on 10 January 1713, Prince Farrukhsiyar won decisively and became the Emperor of the Mughal Empire succeeding his uncle Jahandar Shah.

Characteristics of Farrukhsiyar:


Gold Mohur minted by Farrukhsiyar in the Khujista-Bunyad mint

near the end of his reign, 1131 AH (1719)

(Source: Internet)

It is recorded that Farrukhsiyar was given to atrocities, which led to his downfall and ultimately death.

Farukhsiyar had blinded some of the prominent members of the imperial family who had been held in captivity.

Zulfiqar Khan was treacherously murdered on Farrukhsiyar’s order and his property was confiscated.

Asad Khan lingered in misery till his death in 1716 so much so that the elimination of Asad Khan – “the last prominence survived of great age of Aurangzeb” was a political mistake.

All this was done to make it impossible for the Sayyid Brothers to displace him and set up on the throne some other Prince of the house of Babar.

Farukhsiyar also quarreled bitterly with Sayyid Brothers in March 1713 but did not have the courage to strike and he patched up a truce. He continued however to indulge in foolish and perfidious plans to weaken the Sayyid Brothers.

The estrangement reached a climax in 1719 and assisted by Ajit Singh of Marwar who had married his daughter to Farrukhshiyar, the Syed Brothers deposed and murdered the Emperor (the Sayyid were forced into action for their own lives and honour).

Tragic End of Farrukhsiyar


Sheesh Mahal-Farrukhnagar

(Source: Internet)

These differences hence, led to the tragic end of Farrukhsiyar, who was dragged down from his throne, bare headed and bare footed and subjected every moment to blows and vilest abuses.

Thereafter, he was imprisoned, starved, blinded, poisoned and finally strangulated to death.

Farukhshiyar was blinded with needles at the orders of Syed Brothers on 28th February 1719.

It is said he was assassinated in the Naubatkhana of Qila-i-Mulla Aka Qila-i-Mubarak Aka Lal Qila.

Syed Brothers – The King Makers

After deposing Farrukhsiyar (April 1719) the Syed Brothers placed on the throne: i) Rafi-ud-Darajat, a son of Rafi-ush-Shan (the second son of Bahadur Shah I). Then the Syed Brothers enthroned ii) Rafi-ud-Daula with the title of Shah Jahan II, and thereafter, the Syed Brothers put on throne iii) Roshan Akhtar, a son of Shah Jahan (fourth son of Bahadur Shah I). He was placed on the throne under the title of Mohammad Shah [Rangila] in September 1719, who plotted and had the Syed brothers killed.

Muhammad Shah Rangila wanted to take back control of his rule. Hence he arranged for the brothers to be killed with the help of Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah. Syed Hussain Ali Khan was murdered at Fatehpur Sikri in 1720, and Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha was fatally poisoned in 1722.

Evil Begets Evil – End of the Sayyid Brothers



Nizam-ul-Mulk was instated as the Grand Vizier of the Mughal Empire, by Muhammad Shah on 21 February 1722, to overthrow the Sayyid Brothers.

Mir Qamar-ud-din Khan Siddiqi Bayafandi (20 August 1671 – 1 June 1748) was awarded the title Chin Qilich Khan by Aurangzeb in 1690–91. The title Nizam-ul-Mulk was awarded by Farrukhsiyar in 1713 and Asaf Jah (awarded by Muhammad Shah in 1725].

The Sayyid brothers becoming the sole authority of Mughal politics reduced the status of the Turkic and the Irani noblemen in the Mughal court. This excited the jealousy of these nobles, who used to enjoy high status under Emperor Farukhshiyar. As a result, they formed a force of counter-revolution against the Sayyid brothers.

The leader of the Counter Revolution was Nizam-ul-Mulk. To subdue the counter-revolution, the Sayyid brothers shifted Nizam-ul-mulk from Delhi. Nizam was appointed as the Subahdar of Malwa. In due course Nizam captured the forts of Asirgarh and Burhanpur in Deccan. Moreover, Nizam also killed Mir Alam Ali Khan, the adopted son of Syed Hussain Ali Khan, who was the Deputy Subahdar of the Deccan.

Meanwhile, in Delhi a plot was devised against the Sayyid brothers. Nizam-ul-mulk ultimately killed Syed Hussain Ali Khan on 9 October 1720. Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha with a big army set out to avenge his brother`s murder. But Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha was defeated at Hasanpur near Palwal (Haryana) in 15–16 November in the same year and later he was poisoned to death on 12 October 1722. Thus the protracted career of the Sayyid brothers came to an end.


The Cambridge Shorter History of India


Textbook of Indian History and Culture

By Sailendra Nath Sen

Posted in Historical Accounts | Tagged | Leave a comment

Daughter of Bahlul Lodi: Taj Murassa Begum aka Taj Bibi aka Subhan Begum

Taj Murassa Begum aka Taj Bibi aka Subhan Begum was the daughter of Bahlul Lodi and sister of mighty Sikandar Lodi

DayghterofBahlulLodhi (1)

Tomb of Mir-i-Miran, Sayyed Amir Ali, Sirhind Also known as Tomb of Bibi Subhan (Internet Photo)

The Tomb of Bibi Subhan aka Taj Murassa Begum aka Taj Bibi, is situated in Sirhind. It is said to be constructed most likely in the year 1497-98 A.D.
It is recorded that it was the tomb of Subhan Bibi. [Death on Friday, 11 of Safar 901 Hijri = 30 Oct. 1495 (at the time of Sikandar Lodi)].
Subhan Bibi was the Begum (wife) of Mir-i-Miran and daughter of Sultan Bahlol Lodi.
The stones with carved pillars and sculptures depicting animate motifs have been built in the dome, suggesting that the stones were appropriated from some ancient building.

There are two graves under the dome of the tomb. One is of Subhan Bibi (as recorded) and the second grave may be of her husband Mir-i-Miran.

Bahlul Lodi was crowned as Sultan at Sirhind. As a gesture of goodwill and obligation, he gifted a jagir to Mir-i-Miran and also gave his daughter in matrimony, as it was customary in those days for the Sultans and Kings to donate their daughters to the holy.

Sirhind Tomb is special in that it was built in the memory of a Muslim woman.

Tomb of Mir-i-Mran Sirhind: is located 5 kilometers away from Aam Khas Bagh and is connected by a link road. At the tomb, there are two sand stone inscriptions, out of which only one is legible. It reads: “Subhan daughter of Bahlol Lodi, who died on Friday, 11 of Safar 901 Hijri.” The other grave, there, it is conjectured, should be of Mir-i-Miran, Amir Sayyid, the son-in-law of the Sultan Bahlul Lodhi.
The tomb is built on a square platform. Its semicircular dome is supported by a eight sided neck. That has fluted pillars in the four cardinal directions.

DaughterofBahlulLodhi (2)

Tomb of Bahlul Lodi-Delhi (Internet Photo)


Coins (Internet Photo)

Bahlul Lodi

In 1451, one night, Sultan Bahlol Lod camped at Maler on his way to conquer Delhi. It was a stormy night and the only lamp aflame was in the hut on the mound. Bahlol went to meet the man whose lamp the harsh winds could not extinguish. Sheikh Sardarud-din welcomed Bahlol into his hut and prophesied that Delhi would indeed be his. When Bahlol accomplished his mission (after conquering Delhi) the Sultan returned and in 1454 married his daughter Taj Murassa Begum to Sheikh Sardarud-din, and gave her a number of villages in the region as a marriage portion. The Sheikh and his Afghan wife had two children–a daughter, Bibi Mangi, and a son, Hassan. In 1458, Sheikh Sardarud-din also married the daughter of Rai Bahram Bhatti, the Rajput ruler of Kapurthala, a nearby principality, and had two more sons, ‘Isa and Musa’.

Bahlol Lodi (died 12 July 1489) was chief of the Pashtun Lodi tribe   and founder of Lodi dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate upon the abdication of the last claimant from the previous Sayyid rule.

Bahlul became sultan of the dynasty on 19 April 1451 (855 AH).

Early life

Bahlul’s grandfather, Malik Bahram, settled in Multan during the reign of Firuz Shah Tughluq and took service under the governor of Multan, Malik Mardan Daulat.

Malik Bahram had a total of about five sons. His eldest son, Malik Sultan Shah Lodi, later served under the Sayyid dynasty ruler Khizr Khan

In his youth, Bahlul was involved in the trading of horses and once sold his finely bred horses to the Sayyid dynasty Sultan Mohammad Shah. As a payment he was granted a pargana and raised to the status of amir.

After the death of Malik Sultan, he became the governor of Sirhind. He was allowed to add Lahore to his charge. Once, Sultan Muhammad Shah asked for his help when the Malwa Sultan Mahmud Shah I invaded his territory.

Bahlul joined the imperial army with 20,000 mounted soldiers. By his cleverness, he was able to project himself as a victor over the army of the Malwa Sultan and Sultan Muhammad Shah conferred on him the title of Khan-i-Khanan. He also accepted Bahlul’s occupation over a large part of Punjab.

In 1443, Bahlul attacked Delhi but he did not succeed.

During the reign of last Sayyid ruler Sultan Alam Shah, Bahlul again made another unsuccessful attempt to capture Delhi in 1447. Finally, when Alam Shah retired to Badaun in 1448, a minister of Alam Shah, Hamid Khan invited him to occupy the throne of Delhi.

After the voluntary abdication of the throne by Alam Shah, Bahlul Shah ascended the throne of Delhi on 19 April 1451 and adopted the title of Bahlul Shah Ghazi. Alam Shah continued to live in Badaun till his death in July 1478.

The tomb of the founder of the Lodi dynasty lies close to the shrine of the noted Sufi saint, Nasiruddin Chirag-e-Delhi, in a locality that goes by his name, ‘Chirag Delhi’.


Tomb of Bahlul Lodi at Chirag Delhi (Internet Photo)

After ascending to the throne, Bahlul decided to dispose of Hamid Khan.

His cousin and brother-in-law Malik Mahmud Khan alias Qutb-ud-din Khan (Governor of Samana) imprisoned Hamid Khan.

In 1486, he appointed his son, Babrak Shah as viceroy of Jaunpur. In time, this proved to be problematic, as his second son, Nizam Khan (Sikandar Lodi) was named successor, and a power struggle ensued upon his death in 1489.

The Reign

After ascending to the throne, Bahlul decided to dispose of Hamid Khan. His cousin and brother-in-law Malik Mahmud Khan alias Qutb-ud-din Khan (Governor of Samana) imprisoned Hamid Khan.

In 1479, Sultan Bahlul Lodi defeated and annexed  Sharqi dynasty based at Jaunpur. Bahlul did much to stop rebellions and uprisings in his territories, and extended his holdings over  Gwalior Jaunpur  and upper Uttar Pradesh

Just like the previous Delhi Sultans, he kept Delhi the capital of his kingdom. In 1486, he appointed his son, Babrak Shah as viceroy of Jaunpur. In time, this proved to be problematic, as his second son, Nizam Khan (Sikandar Lodi) was named successor, and a power struggle ensued upon his death in 1489.


Buhlul Lodi died in l489, near the town of Jalali, 1489 after a long reign.His tomb is located adjacent to the shrine of the famous Sufi saint, Nasiruddin Chirag-e-Delhi, in Chirag Delhi area of South Delhi.

His tomb is a drab place compared to other mausoleums. It is a square chamber with three arched openings on all sides, surmounted by five domes, the central one being the biggest. Quranic verses are inscribed on the arches but there is hardly any other ornamentation.

Bahlul married three times [and had 9 Sons (Known)]
  • · Shams Khatun, daughter of Malik Shah Sultan Lodhi, his first cousin.
  • · Bibi Ambha, daughter of a hindu goldsmith.
  • · Bibi Sitti Maghula, daughter of Malik Majhi Fath-mulk.

Founder of the Lodi dynasty,

Bahlul (also written as Buhlol, Bahlol and Buhlul) Khan Lodi was the founder of the Lodi dynasty, the last of the five dynasties, the combination of which is known as Delhi sultanate. The Lodis , who were Afghan by race, ruled for seventy five years from 1451-1526 till their last ruler Ibrahim Lodi was defeated and killed by Babur in the First battle of Panipat in 1526 resulting in the establishment of Mughal empire in India.

Buhlul Lodi ruled for long thirty-nine years (1451-89). He was the governor of Lahore and Sirhind during the rule of Muhammad Shah of Sayyid dynasty. In 1451, Buhlul was given the throne of Delhi on a platter by Muhammad’s son Ala-ud-din Alam Shah, the last of the Sayyids.

Characteristics of Bahlul Lodhi

i) Bahlol Lodi was one of the Afghan sardars who established himself in Punjab after invasion of Timur.

ii) He founded the Lodi dynasty. He founded the rule of the Lodhi dynasty by usurping the throne from the last of the Sayyid rulers.

iii) He was a strong and brave ruler. He tried to restore the glory of Delhi by conquering territories around Delhi and after continuous war for 26 years, he succeeded in extending his authority over Jaunpur, Rewail, Itawah, Mewar, Sambhal, and Gwalior etc.

iv) He was a kind and generous ruler. He was always prepared to help his subjects. Though he was himself illiterate, he extended his patronage to art and learning.

v) He died in 1488.

The Tomb of Subhan

The Tomb of Subhan, located near Dera Mir Miran in the Punjab state of India. Subhan was the daughter of Sultan Bahlul Lodi, who lived from 1451-89. Her tomb is a square building with a domed roof made of a type of blue sandstone not native to the Punjab region. The walls are decorated with glazed tiles and flower medallions.

Inscriptions on the building state the year of the death of Subhan, the dates of the monuments construction, and verses from the Quran. Stylistic differences between the Tomb of Subhan and contemporaneous tombs in Dehli are noted.

Tomb of Haj-o-Taj:

Close to Roza Taj Bibi tomb where the remains of Subhan, daughter of Behlol Lodhi lie are two mausoleums of two queens of some king whose names were Haj-Un-Nisa and Taj-Un-Nisa and hence the name of the mausoleums Haj-o-Taj.

About: Shaikh Sadr ud-din [Hazrat Shaikh] (1454 – 1508)

Shaikh Sardar ud-din [Haidar Shaikh], Rais of Maler. Born at Daraban, Afghanistan, 1437, elder son of Shaikh Ahmad Zinda Pir, eleventh in descent from Shah ‘Izz ud-din Husain I Ghori, Shahanshah of Persia.

Shaikh Sadr ud-din received the villages of Maler, Hadiya, Barnala, Phul, Mahraj, Longawal, Sankhera, Pail, Chumkaur, Amrgarh, Balian and Amloh in dowry, from the Sultan of Delhi, (Bahlul Lodhi) in 1454.

He founded the town of Maler, in 1461. He is also known as Sardar-i-Jahan (chief judicial officer) at the court of Delhi. Married (first) at Delhi, 1454, Taj Murassa Begum, daughter of Sultan Bahlol Lodhi, Sultan of Delhi. Thatn hr married (second) in 1458, Bhatianiji Begum, a Rajput lady from the family of Rai Bahram Bhatti [Kapura], of Kapurthala.

He died at Maler, 1508, having had issue, three sons and one daughter:
1) Shaikh ‘Isa, Rais of Maler (s/o Taj Murassa Begum).
2) Shaikh Hassan-born at Maler, 1475 (s/o Taj Murassa Begum). Disinherited by his father in 1508. He died before 1538.
3) Shaikh Musa. Born at Maler, 1483 (s/o Taj Murassa Begum). He d.s.p.v.p.
4) Hajjiah Bibi Mango. Born at Maler, 1471 (d/o Taj Murassa Begum). Married into an Afghan or Muslim Rajput family in Tohana, near Jakhal, in the Hissar district. She became a widow, five years after her marriage (burial Tohana).

Sikandar Lodi


Sikander Lodi’s Mausoleum-Lodi Garden-Delhi (Internet Photo)

Sikander Lodi (died 21 November 1517), born Nizam Khan, was the Sultan of Delhi from 1489 to 1517. He became the next ruler of the Lodi dynasty after the death of his father Bahlul Lodi in July 1489.

The second and most successful ruler of the Lodi dynasty of the Delhi sultanate, he was also a poet of the Persian language and prepared a diwan of 9000 verses. Of the three Lodi Sultans namely Bahlul Lodi (1451 to 1489), Sikandar Lodi (1489 to 1517) and Ibrahim Lodi (1517 to 1526), Sikandar Lodi is regarded as the ablest, the greatest and the most successful Sultan.

Most of the time of Bahlul Lodi was spent in checking revolts and consolidating his position. There was very little left at his disposal for bringing about administrative reforms. Ibrahim Lodi led to the downfall of the Lodi dynasty.

As compared with these two Sultans, Sikandar Lodi gave ample evidence of his qualities as a general, as an administrator, a consolidator of the empire and a man of letters.

He wrote poetry in Persian using the pen name Gulrukhi.

Occasional tours in disguise

Very often the Sultan toured in disguise to have the first hand information about the condition of the people and the activities of the Amirs and the Ulemas.

He died in 1517 and has an elaborate burial tomb that resides in Lodi Gardens, Delhi.

Charcteristics of Sikandar Lodi

  • Sikandar Lodi was the son of Bahlol Lodi who conquered Bihar and Western Bengal.
  • He shifted his capital from Delhi to Agra, a city founded by him.
  • Sikandar was a fanatical Muslim and he broke the sacred images of the Jwalamukhi Temple at Naga Kot and ordered the temples of Mathura to be destroyed.
  • He took a keen interest in the development of agriculture. He introduced the Gaz-i-Sikandari (Sikandar’s yard) of 32 digits for measuring cultivated fields.
  • He was a staunch Sunni and a Muslim fanatic. He lacked religious tolerance. In the name of religion, he perpetuated untold cruelties on the Hindus.


Maqbara Taj Bibi (Internet Photo)



e Books

Bahlol Lodi
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Posted in Historical Accounts | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Concubine of Aurangzeb-Udaipuri Mahal


Udaipuri Mahal Sahiba (died soon after 8 June 1707 date of death of Aurangzeb), was a concubine to Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.

When Aurangzeb died she grieved so deeply and died within just four months at Gwalior.

Udaipuri Mahal Sahiba died at Gwalior, shortly after 8th June 1707. She was buried in an alcove at the Shrine of Qutb al-Aqtab, Delhi.

So many old graves are there, I have to go there again to establish her grave (if I can).

In July 1707 Bahadur Shah I carried out her dying wishes with regard to her household and had forwarded her remains for burial in a grove close to the shrine of Qutb-al Aqtab Delhi.

Udaipuri Mahal Sahiba was a slave girl, and not a wedded wife of Aurangzeb. This is complimented by Aurangzeb’s own words. When her son Muhammad Kam Bakhsh intrigued with the enemy at the siege of Jinji, Aurangzeb angrily remarked, — ‘A slave-girl’s son comes to no good.’…..

Her probable origins


The contemporary Venetian traveler Manucci speaks of her as a Georgian slave-girl of Dara Shikoh’s harem, who, on the downfall of her first master, became the concubine of his victorious rival.
She seems to have been a very young woman at the time, as she first became a mother in 1667, when Aurangzeb was verging on fifty.
Another version is there that Udaipuri Bai, was probably the daughter of a Sisodia Thakur from Jodhpur, or a Kashmiri girl originally from the harem of Prince Dara Shikoh. (Killed at the orders of Aurangzeb).
In a letter written by Aurangzeb on his death-bed to Kam Bakhsh, he says “Udaipuri, your mother, who has been with me during my illness, wishes to accompany [me in death].

“From this expression Tod, infers, “Her desire to burn shews her to have been a Rajput.”.
But others opine that such an inference is wrong, because a Hindu princess on marrying a Muslim king lost her caste and religion, and received Islamic burial.
No Rajputni of the harem of any of the Mughal emperor has ever burnt herself with her deceased husband, for the very good reason that a Muslim’s corpse is buried and not burnt.

Evidently Udaipuri meant that she would kill herself in passionate grief on the death of Aurangzeb.

Udaipuri Mahal – Mother of Muhammad Kam Bakhsh

Udaipuri Mahal had mothered Muhammad Kam Bakhsh and Hijat Un-Nisa Begum.
She retained her youth and influence over the Emperor till his death, and was the darling of his old age.

Under the spell of her beauty he pardoned the many faults of Kam Bakhsh.
Aurangzeb also overlooked Udaipuri Mahal’s freaks of drunkenness, which must have shocked so pious a Muslim.



An Anecdote

“During the campaign of Marwar over Ajit Singh, s/o Late Jaswant Singh, Aurangzeb himself was encircled in a precipice by the Rajputs. The Rajput closed the back movement of the Mughal army by felling the overhanging trees.”

“Aurangzeb’s favorite, Udaipuri Begum, who was also accompanying him in the war was also encircled in another part of mountain. She however surrendered and was taken to
Rana, who treated her with utmost respect.”

“Meanwhile, Aurangzeb and his garrison were without food and water for two days. The Emperor would have died of hunger if the siege had continued. The Mughals however cried for Rana’s clemency.”

“A treaty was signed between Rana and Aurangzeb. It was promised on Aurangzeb’s behalf that in future sacred animals would not be slaughtered. The magnanimous Rana ordered his forces to withdraw from their stations so that way could be cleared for Mughal army to withdraw along with their emperor.”

“The Begum, Udaipuri Mahal, with her retinue was also sent to the Emperor, who had withdrawn to Chittor.”

Colonel Tod comments on the incident: “But for repeated instances of ill-judged humanity, the throne of Mughals might have been completely overturned”. (Annals & Antiquities of Rajasthan, Vol. I p. 379).

Aurangzeb learnt nothing from the defeat. Once out of danger, Aurangzeb forgot the promise of not slaughtering the cows and the clemency of Rana. Aurangzeb continued the war claiming that Rana’s generosity was the result of fear of future vengeance by the Mughals.

Her son-Muhammad Kam Bakhsh

Kam Baksh is also called ‘a dancing-girl’s son’ Orme speaks of her as a Circassian, evidently on the authority of Manucci. Aurangzeb had a special liking for Udaipuri Mahal, so her co-wives were very jealous of her.
He bestowed upon her all the accouterments of a Queen. In 1678 in a battle against the Rana of Chittor and the Raja of Marwar, Udaipuri accompanied Aurangzeb. In the 28th year of Aurangzeb’s reign, Udaipuri Mahal was in Aurangabad or Ahmadnagar with Aurangzeb.


A portrait
The son of Udaipuri Mahal, Muhammad Kam Bakhsh
Shahzada of the Mughal Empire
King of Bijapur
Kam Baksh aka Muhammad Kam Bakhsh (Full name)

His Spouse/s (Known)

Fakhr Jahan Khanam
Azarm Banu Begum
Kalyan Kaur

His Issue/s (Known)

Umed Bakhsh
azarm banu begum

Kam Bakhsh Born on 7 March 1677 at Delhi, was the fifth son of sixth Mughal emperor Aurangzeb through a Georgian/Hindu concubine Udaipuri Mahal.

Kam Bakhsh was married to Fakhr Jahan Khanam, the daughter of Barkhurdar Beg. Later that year, he married Kaliyan Kaur (rechristened as Jamilat-un-Nisa), the daughter Amar Chand Singh and sister of Jagjit Singh of Manoharpur. His third wife was Azarm Banu Begum, daughter of Muazzam Khan.

His sons were Umaid Bakhsh, Muhammad Muhi-us-Sunnat Mirza (married to Fatima Begum, daughter of Prince Sulaiman Shikoh and grand daugther of Dara Shikoh), Muhammad Firuzmand Mirza, Bariqu’llah Mirza and Muhi ul-Millat Mirza. He had also a daughter, Hayat-un-Nisa Begum who was married to Muhammad Karim who was the son of Azim-us-Shan.

Death of Kam Baksh whilst fighting with Bahadur Shah I

On 20 December 1708, Kam Bakhsh marched towards Talab-i-Mir Jumla, on the outskirts Hyderabad with “three hundred camels, twenty thousand rockets” for the war against Bahadur Shah I.
Shah made his son Jahandar Shah the commander of the vanguard, but was replaced by Khan Zaman. On 12 January 1709, Shah finally reached Hyderabad and set up his tent training his troops. With little money and soldiers left, Kam Bakhsh was sure of his victory due to the foretelling of the royal astrologer who predicted that he would “miraculously” win the battle.
On 13 January, Shah’s army charged towards him. The troops were divided in two bodies – one was under the commandant of Mumin Khan and was assisted by Rafi-ush-Shanand Jahan Shah and the second under Zulfikar Khan. There was an estimation of fifteen thousand soldiers in Shah’s army. After two hours from sunrise, the emperor’s troops surrounded Kam Bakhsh’s camp. Being impatient, Khan attacked him with his “small force”.

With his soldiers being outnumbered and unable to resist the attack, Kam Bakhsh himself started shooting arrows at the enemy, finishing two quiver-full of arrows. Irvine writes that when he was “weakened by loss of blood” the opposition surrounded him and took him and his son Bariqullah as prisoners. However a dispute rose among Mumin Khan and Zulfikar Khan about who had actually captured him. Rafi-us-Shan solved the matter by attributing it to the latter.

He was taken by a palanquin to Shah’s camp where he was made to rest on a bed. Shah went to his bedside and said “I had no desire to see you reduced to this state”. Shah himself also washed the wounds from his body and replaced his blood stained clothes, besides forcing him to take “few spoonful’s of food”.

The next morning on 14 January 1708, Kam Bakhsh died.

After ten days, his body was sent to Delhi for burial, and was hence buried in Humayun’s Tomb on 23 January 1709, Delhi.




Posted in Historical Accounts | Leave a comment

Some Facts of History-7

1. Sabz Burj (Green tower).
One of the most interesting facts about the little known history  of Sabz Burj (Green tower) is that for several years during British rule, the Sabz Burj (Green tower) was used as a police station. It is located close to the Humayun’s Tomb Complex.

Sabz Burj literally means the ‘Green Dome’ but its nowhere close to green in color. In fact, now the tower is referred to as “Neeli Chattri” (Blue umbrella) because of its shiny blue colored dome.

The tower was supposedly built in between 1530-50 A.D though it is not known who commissioned it. The medium height, octagonal tower is influenced by Central Asian architecture. It consists of alternating wide & narrow sides. One can still see green, yellow and blue tiles in varied patterns on its drum


Sabz Burj: the green dome. Photo courtesy: Aga Khan Trust.

This is a monument in the Nizamuddin area of south-east Delhi.


2. Colonel James Skinner (1778 – 4 December 1841) (East India Company officer)

He was an Anglo-Indian military adventurer in India, who became known as Sikandar Sahib later in life, His father was Lieutenant-Colonel Hercules Skinner, an officer in the East India Company Army of Scottish origin, while his mother was a Rajput princess, daughter of a zamindar, she was taken prisoner at the age of fourteen. When he was 12 years old his mother committed suicide.


Colonel James Skinner


3. Mother of Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana. Khanzada Jamal Khan Mewatti was the nephew of Hasan Khan, opponent of Babar. He had 2 beautiful daughters, the elder was married by Humayun and he asked Bairam Khan to marry the younger daughter, who became the m/o Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana. Humayun did this for establishing a political alliance with Khanzadas of Mewattii.

Rahim’s mother ———-??? was the daughter of Jamal Khan of Mewat ?????


Khan-i-Khana’s Tomb

Internet photo

Alwar has been a part of Matsya region of olden times whose capital was Viratnagar. “Alwar” was formerly known as “Ulwar”. Alwar is named after a Khanzada ruler, Alawar Khan, who established his kingdom in this region in 1412. Alawar is descendent of Chandrawanshi rajput Nahar Khan who converted to Islam in thirteenth century during Firuz Shah Tughlak’s regime. Hasan Khan Mewati is descendent of Khanzada (Raj put) Nahar Khan. Khanzada Hasan Khan fought against invader Babar and later on Hasan Khan’s nephew Jamal Khan gave his two daughters to Humanyun and Bairam khan in marriage. Bairam khan’s son from this marriage was later known as famous Raheem Khan-e- Khana, he was Akbar’s navratna. In the 1550s, Khanzada Rajput king of Ulwar was overthrown by Akbar’s military campaign to encircle Mewar Kingdom. Akbar said to have arranged to killed his former Regent, Bairam Khan while the latter was on his way to Hajj; after he had been court martialled by the Emperor for his blood thirst.

4. Chor Minar – A tower with a gory past history

Chor Minar or ‘Tower of Thieves’ is a 13th-century minaret with 225 holes, situated just off Aurobindo Marg in the Hauz Khas area, in New Delhi.
It was built under the rule of Alauddin Khilji, of the Khilji dynasty (1290–1320) in the thirteenth century.
According to local legends, it was a ‘tower of beheading’, where the severed heads of thieves were displayed on spear through its 225 holes, to act as a deterrent to thieves, though some historian suggest that the Khilji king slaughtered a settlement of Mongol people, nearby, to stop them from joining with their brethren in another Mongol settlement in Delhi, the present day locality of ‘Mongolpuri’.
During wars, only the heads of chiefs were displayed; those of common soldiers were simply piled into pyramids.”


Chor Minar

5. Maham Anga also built a mosque, ‘Khairul Manazil’ ca 1561 CE in Mughal architecture. It later served as a madarsa, and now stands opposite, Purana Qila, Delhi on Mathura Road, south east to Sher Shah Gate. It was here that a slave tried to kill Akbar, after his return from hunting and moving towards Nizamuddin Dargah, but the arrow hit a soldier in his entourage instead, who was hurt, albeit not gravely.


Khairul-Manazil Mosque

Internet photo

This rubble built masjid called Khair-ul- Manazil, , the most auspicious of edifices’ with five arched openings in its prayer hall, double-storeyed cloisters and an imposing gateway of red sandstone on the east, was built in A.D. 1561 by Maham Anga, wet nurse of Akbar, with the assistance of Shihabuddin Ahmed Khan, a powerful courtier and relation of Maham Anga, during the reign of Akbar.


An Attempt to Assassinate Akbar at Delhi, 1564-from the Akbarnama
This illustration depicts an attempt on the life of the Mughal emperor Akbar (r.1556–1605) at Delhi in 1564.

Akbar is shown in white on horseback clutching an arrow. His retainers pursue the would-be assassins and kill one of them.

By Jagan with Bhawani the Elder and faces by Madhav, c. 1590-95, (watercolor on paper, 33.8 x 19.4 cm.), Victoria and Albert Museum, London

6. Ashiqa-Deval Rani-Khizr Khani

“King Karan fled with his daughter Devala devi but his wife Kamala Devi was seized by Alauddin Khalji’s general but on the way back to Delhi on reaching Jhalore the queen was released by Devda Rajput of Jhalore and King Karan’s general”.
“They fled from there in jungle to reach Baglan but on the way, the queen died due to serious wound caused while escaping”.
“Another version says that Kamala Devi, ex-wife of King Karan Dev was now Alauddin Khiljis Mallika-i-Jahan. She wished to secure Deval Devi who was about six months old when Gujarat was invaded in 1297. She was saved and carried by her father to the South”
“Karan Dev was defeated and turned out of Ellichpur. His daughter Deval Rani fell into the hands of Alp Khans soldiers near Ellora Caves. She was taken to Delhi and married to Khijr Khan-Crown Prince (Alluddin Khilji’s Son), after a few years”.

Deval Rani’s mother-Kamala Devi and Khijr Khan’s mother- Mahru were Alauddin Khilji’s wives. Hence Khijr Khan and Deval Devis fondness was disliked, so they had absconded to Delhi. Finally they were married after many objections.


Khizr Khan Deval Devi

Source Internet 

7. Another opinion on Lal Gumbad- Malviya Nagar Delhi

Sufi saint Shaikh Kabiruddin Auliya lived here and after he died, he was buried here. (During later part of Tughlaq rule) – Kabiruddin Auliya was disciple/ student of Shaikh Roshan Chirag-e Dilli who was disciple/ student of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya.

Feroze Shah Tughlaq had designated Lal Gumbad as his tomb but later he gave it to Kabiruddin Auliya.

There is some debate among historians, on who made this tomb. – Agha Menhdi Hussain says, “this tomb was made by Sultan Mohammad Tughlaq for himself”.

But, Persi Bown opines that the tomb was built during Gyasuddin Tughlaq period. This tomb is very similar to Sultan Gyasuddin Tughlaq’s tomb in Tughlaqabad.

But it is also believed that it was Muhammad Tughlaq who built it as his rest house/ vacation place (aaramgaah). It’s also possible that he made it as his own tomb

Western wall has iron “Raqaabs”. It’s believed to be thieves’ work to climb the wall and steal gold “Kalash”.-Hence it is also called Raqabwala Gumbad.

392101_prw Lal Gumbad

Raqabwala Gumbad

Source Internet


Raqabwala Gumbad aka Lal Gumbad

8. Rauza-i-Munavvara aka later Taj Mahal

335079-shah-jahans-357th-urs-celebrated-at-taj-mahal (1)

Source Internet

Shah Jahan had named Mumtaj Mahal’s tomb as Rauza-i-Munavvara
(The Illumined Tomb)
It got to be known later as Taj Mahal-a corruption of Mumtaj Mahal

9. Salima Sultan w/o Akbar and Step M/o Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana


Source Internet

Salima Sultan is buried in Madarkar Garden Agra.

10.  Shah Jahan


Source Internet

Abraham Eraly writes that According to Bernier, Shah Jahan had had constructed under his palace in Dely two deep caves, supported by vast marble pillars.

Piles of Gold were stored in one and those of Silver in the other.
(For safety the precious metals were saved in prodigious sizes, to render them useless for purposes of commerce.)

11. Akbar’s music-loving daughter – Meherunnisa (begotten by Queen Daulatabad Begum) fell in love with the court-musician Tansen, and Akbar allowed her to marry him after Tansen underwent conversion from Hinduism to Islam.


Source Internet

(There are some accounts to the effect that Tannu Pandey aka Tansen was converted to Islam, when he was very young, by his Guru Pir Mohammad Ghous of Gwalior).

12.  Genghis Khan reportedly decided not to conquer India after meeting a unicorn, which bowed down to him; he viewed it as a sign from his dead father and turned his army back.

Genghis Khan Monument, Sukhbaatar Square, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Genghis Khan Monument, Sukhbaatar Square, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia


Source: Internet.

Posted in Historical Accounts | Leave a comment

Sultan Feroze Shah Tughlaq – Kotla Feroze Shah-Kushki Feroze……………………

Kotla Feroze Shah-Kushki Feroze – Woh khat, woh khutoot aur woh illtaja…….”Minar-e-Zareen…….” “Lat wale Baba…..”, “Djinnat……….”


Dama Dam Mast Qualandar- Kotla Feroze Shah

Internet Photo of Painting

“……………When the Moghuls took over, Kotla was a forsaken building and the haunt of sufis and mast kalandars. The latter were a sect of derveshes who wore camel skin shirts or just wrapped themselves up in blankets. They were generally big, sturdy men, neglectful of their hygiene, who went about beating themselves with iron chains or brandishing huge steel fire-tongs……”

“Now, you don’t find mast kalandars in the Kotla, but the sufis are still there. Go on a Thursday and you will find them in full sway”

“People do not flock to see them but seek the intervention of jinns in their daily lives”

(RV Smith)


Baba Mast Qualandar and the Kotla-Feroze Shah

Internet Photo


Entrance of the Cave at Feroze Shah Kotla


Delhi Caravan

“DJinn” Ke Paas Hoti Hain Umer Bhar Ki Yadain,

“Who” Log Tanhai Mein Bhi Tanha Nahi Hotay…..


                                                                                            January 2014

Feroze Shah Tughluq


Old Image of Tomb Feroze Shah Tughlaq at “Tararabad” – ‘the city of joy’

Internet Photo

“Tughlaq” is a name which originated from “Qutluq”.

Feroze Shah was the son of Malik Rajab and a Hindu princess. Name of Mother of Feroz Shah Tughluq was Bibi Nala, Hindu princess of Dipalpur Bhatti Rajput girl.

I read in an old book the following account: “On entering the house of Sipahsalar Rajjab (Feroze Shah Tughlaq’s father), she was styled Sultan Bibi Kadbanu. After the lapse of a few years she gave birth to Firoz shah.

As Muhammad bin Tughlaq left no son, his cousin Feroze Shah Tughlaq ascended the throne as Sultan. Rajab was the younger brother of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq.

Feroze Shah Tughlaq (r. 1351–88), the Sultan of Delhi, established the fortified city of Ferozabad in 1354, as the new capital of the Delhi Sultanate, and included in it the site of the present Feroze Shah Kotla. Kotla literally means fortress or citadel.



Internet Photo

Feroze Shah Kotla was popularly known as Kushk-i-Feroz, meaning Feroze’s palace in earlier times.

Feroze Shah’s lath [Delhi]. (British Library Archives)
Part of a portfolio of photographs taken in 1858

by Major Robert Christopher Tytler and his wife, Harriet.


These images have been reproduced with the permission of ASI.

It appears at Plate II & III in their publication:  MASI No. 52, A Memoir on Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi,

published by Archaeological Survey of India, 1937, Reprint 1999. )


“Delhi-Its Monuments and History”

Map by Percival Spear

Internet Photo


Jami Masjid of Feroze Shah Kotla

Internet Photo

Jami Masjid of Feroze Shah Kotla

The Jami Masjid had four cloisters arranged in a rectangle, its small domed roofs supported on 260 stone columns of 16 feet high each; and having a 25 feet high central octagonal dome – that contained the Emperor’s ordinances – in the middle of the courtyard supported on a circular shaft. It must have been felt necessary to build a northern entrance gateway, rather than from the customary eastern side, because the river ran along its eastern edge. Narrow staircases for the zenana were present in the thickness of the western wall.

Timur was so impressed with the Masjid that he carried with him the sculptors, stone-masons and stucco-workers to build a similar mosque back home in Samarkand in December 1398. The layout of the Kotla Masjid was adapted to build his colossal Bibi Khanum Mosque at Samarkand – ‘whose dome would have been unique had it not been for the heavens, and unique would have been its portal had it not been for the Milky Way ’ –  by the same Indian workmen from 1399-1404, using 95 elephant loads of exquisite precious gems and marbles and construction materials ferried from India, Samarkand Jami mosque’s vaulted roofs were supported on 480 marble pillars, with slender minarets at each corner, its walls and brass doors inscribed with Koranic verses.

Death of a Mughal Emperor at Feroze Shah Kotla

Feroze Shah Kotla has seen it all. Murder, intrigue, jealousy and one just has to name it.

Talking of murder most foul, a Mughal Badshah On ascending the throne, Aziz-ud-din Alamgir II, took the title of Alamgir and tried to follow the approach of Aurangzeb Alamgir.

At the time of his accession to throne he was an old man of 55 years. He had no experience of administration and warfare as he had spent most of his life in jail. He was a weak ruler, with all powers vested in the hand of his Wazir, Ghazi-ud-Din Imad-ul-Mulk.

In November 1759, the Mughal Emperor Alamgir II was told that a pious man had come to meet him, Alamgir II, ever so eager to meet holy men, set out immediately to meet him at Kotla Fateh Shah, he was stabbed repeatedly by Imad-ul-Mulk’s assassins.

It is said that Alamgir II was stabbed just as he emerged from the tunnel at the foot of Jami Masjid of Feroze Shah Kotla. This Tunnel most probably connected Red Fort aka Qila-i-Mualla to Feroze Shah Kotla. It is even said that his body lay rotting in the sun for four days before it was picked up by some heretics.

Eventually Alamgir II was buried in Humayun’s tomb complex.


Alamgir II was, by birth, a pious man. He never missed any prayer in the imperial Pearl Mosque and occasionally delivered the sermons as well, he was a friend and patron of Sufi mystics, he is also known to have walked through the streets of Delhi to attend prayers at different Mosques without adequate security.


Tunnel at the foot of Jami Masjid of Feroze Shah Kotla


Tunnel at the foot of of stairs leading to Jami Masjid of Feroze Shah Kotla

(Internet Photo)

The Ashokan Pillar


Water-colour painting of the Pillar of Firoz Shah at Delhi by an anonymous artist, 1808-1820. Inscribed on the front in pencil is: ‘The Lat of Firoz Shah at Delhi.’-British Library


Top of the Ashokan Pillar

Internet Photo

The Ashokan pillar is installed on top of a three-storied lofty rubble-built pyramidal structure with progressively diminishing size in each successive terrace, having cells with arched entrances, and referred to as the Hawa Mahal. The pillar is a 27-tonne sandstone monolith 42’ 7” in height – pale orange with flecks of black – out of which 35’ is polished. The unpolished portion is believed to be the buried part at its original place of installation at Tobra.

The pillar, also called obelisk or Lat is an Ashoka Column, attributed to Mauryan ruler Ashoka. The 13.1 metres high column, made of polished sandstone and dating from the 3rd Century BC, was brought from Ambala in 14th century AD under orders of Feroze Shah.

It was installed on a three-tiered arcaded pavilion near the congregational mosque, inside the Sultanate’s fort. In centuries that followed, much of the structure and buildings near it were destroyed as subsequent rulers dismantled them and reused the spolia as building materials.

The Sultanate had wanted to break and reuse the Ashoka pillar for a minaret. Feroze Shah Tuhglaq decided to erect it near a mosque instead. At the time of re-installation of the obelisk in Delhi, in 1356, no one knew the meaning of the script engraved in the stone.

About five hundred years later, the script was deciphered by James Prinsep in 1837 with help from scripts discovered on other pillars and tablets in South Asia.

The inscription on the 3rd century pillar describe King Devanampiya Piyadasi’s policies and appeal to the people and future generations of the kingdom in matters of dharma (just, virtuous life), moral precepts and freedoms.


The Ashokan edicts on the Feroz Shah Kotla pillar were the first to be decoded by James Prinsep in 1837, thus finding the key to Brahmi script.

Internet Photo

Sirat-i-FirozShahi narrates:

……..No bird can fly as high as its top and arrows cannot reach to its middle…O God! How could they paint it all over gold, (so beautifully) that it appears to the people like the golden morning……!

Accession of Feroze Shah Tughlaq

The body of Muhammad bin Tughlaq was put into a coffin and placed on an elephant and sent to Delhi.

Information reached the Sultan Feroz Shah that Khwaja-i-Jahan, the deputy of the late Sultan -Muhammad bin Tughlaq, at Delhi had proclaimed a boy as Sultan and gave out him as the son of the late Sultan.

Historians also differ as to the claim of Firuz to the throne of Delhi. Some historians are of the opinion that the boy proclaimed as the sultan by Khwaja-i-Jahan was ‘not a supposititious son’ but an issue of Muhammad bin Tughlaq’s body. Therefore according to him Firuz was a usurper.

Other historian, however, maintain that there is no record or proof that Muhammad bin Tughlaq had a son.

Firuz Shah Tughlaq’s coronation took place in Royal Camp of Thatta in 1351. He got investiture from Caliph of Egypt.

One dies but once-One Sultan, one death – but so many speculations of resting places.

Feroze Shah Tughlaq-had chosen as his place of final rest.

i) Lal Gumbad-but gave it to Kabirudin Auliya as his tomb


Lal Gumbad-Mehrauli-Delhi

ii) Quadam Shareef-but it was destined to be the tomb of his son-Fateh Khan

Originally, Feroze Shah Tughluq (1309 – 1388) constructed the large rectangular tomb at its core for himself, and surrounded it with massive walls and impressive gates in typical Tughlaq style. However, when his son Fateh Khan died in 1376, he repurposed the tomb to be used for his son. Also added was a stone with a foot print of Muhammad (the founder of Islam), which Feroze Shah had brought in from Mecca.


Quadam Shareef-Delhi

Internet photo

iii) Hauz Khas

Finally, he rests in peace in Hauz Khas.


Feroze Shah Tughlaq’s Tomb in Hauz Khas-Delhi

Internet photo


Firoz Shah Tughlaq (1351-1388 AD) is attributed with:

  • a. Establishment of Diwan-i-Khairat (department for poor and needy people) and Diwan-i-Bundagan (department of slaves).
  • b. Establishment in Delhi a hospital described variously as Darul-Shifa, Bimaristan or Shifa Khana
  • c. Establishment of four new towns, Firuzabad, Fatebabad, Jaunpur and Hissar.

Bright and Dark Years of Firoz Tughlaq’s reign:

Bright Years

Assessment of the revenue:

Firoz Tughlaq appointed a special officer namely Khawja Hisan-ud-Din to prepare an estimate of the public revenue of the kingdom. It took 6 years to complete this work.


Firuz Shah Tughluq (1351-88) Silver tanka, Hadrat Dehli
Weight: 8.88 gm., Diameter: 17 mm. Die axis: 10 o’clock

New system of taxation:

In accordance with the Islamic law, he imposed the following four taxes:

  • ‘Kharaj’:

It was the land tax which was equal to one-tenth of the produce of the land.

  • ‘Zakat’:

It was two-and-half per cent tax on property realized from the Muslims and utilized for specific religious purposes only.

  • ‘Kham’:

It was one-fifth of the booty captured and the four-fifth was left for the soldiers.

  • ‘Jijya’:

It was levied on the Non-Muslim subjects, particularly the Hindus. Women and children were, however exempted from the taxes.

Irrigation works:

With a view to encourage irrigation, the Sultan paid a lot of attention to irrigation works.

He is often termed by the British, as ‘The Father of the Irrigation Department’ for his pioneering attempt in building canals and water supply routes in various cities that he built,  apart from, of course, his restoration projects that may entitle him as the founding president of the Conservation Society of Delhi.

Following four canals were constructed:

  1. The first and the most important and the longest canal were one which carried the waters of the river Jamuna to the city of Hissar. It was 150 miles long.
  2. The second canal was drawn from river Sutlej to Ghaghra. It was about 100 miles long.
  3. The third canal was from Mandvi and Sirmur hills to Hansi.
  4. The fourth canal ran from Ghaghra to the newly established town of Firozabad.

Irrigation tax was charged at the rate of one-tenth of the produce of the irrigated land.

Laying out gardens:

The Sultan laid out about 1200 gardens in and around Delhi. These gardens produced so much fruit that they brought to the treasury an annual income of one lakh and eighty thousand tankas’.

Welfare of the peasants:

The Sultan waived off the loans that were given to them by Muhammad Tughlaq at the time of drought. He issued strict instructions to the officers not to harass the peasants.

Benevolent works:

These included the following:

  • ‘Diwan-i-Kherat’:

It performed two main functions. The marriage bureau gave grants to the poor parents for the marriage of their daughters. It also provided financial help to the destitute.

  • ‘Dar-ul-Shafa’:

Hospitals were set up in important towns where medicines were given free of charge. Poor people were also supplied food.

  • ‘Sarais’:

About 200 ‘sarais’ (rest houses) were built by the Sultan for the benefits of merchants and other travellers.

  • Grants to sufferers:

The Sultan gave liberal grants to all those persons or their heirs who had suffered bodily or executed during the reign of Muhammad Tughlaq.

Public works department:

  • The Sultan got constructed four canals, ten public baths, four mosques, thirty palaces, two hundred, Sarais’, one hundred tombs, 30 towns and one hundred bridges. Firoz Shah had a passion for public works. About his building activities, Sultan himself observed, “Among the gifts which God has bestowed upon me, His humble servant, had a desire to erect public buildings. So 1 built many mosques and monasteries that the learned and the devout and the holy, might worship God in these edifices and aid the kind builder with their prayers.”
  • Four important towns founded by him were of Firozabad, Fatehabad, Jaunpur and Hissar Firoza. Two pillars of Ashoka were brought to Delhi—one from Meerut and the other from Topra, Arnbala district—and erected in Delhi. In this regard Dr. V.A. Smith has observed, “Asiatic kings as a rule show no interest in buildings erected by their predecessors, which usually are allowed to decay uncared for. Firoz Shah was particular in devoting much attention to the repair and rebuilding of the structures of former kings and ancient nobles.”

Promotion of education and literature:

Firoz Tughlaq was a great patron of historians, poets and scholars. He himself was a man of learning and wrote his biography entitled ‘Fatuhat-i-Firozshah’. He established thirty educational institutions including three colleges. Teachers were liberally paid and stipends were granted to the students.

Zia-ud-Din Barani wrote ‘Fatwah-i-Jahandari’ and Afif wrote his ‘Tarikh-i-Firuzshah’.

Maulana Jalal-ud-Din Rumi, the famous theologian also flourished in his court.

Judicial reforms:

Firoz Tughlaq was opposed to severe punishments. He ended punishments like cutting of the limbs, extracting the eyes, putting melted glass in the throat, burning alive etc. He established courts at all important places of his empire and appointed Qazis etc. to administer justice.

Reforms in the currency system:

The Sultan introduced several types of new coins and small coins and ensured that no false coins came into circulation.

Dark Side of Firoz Tughlaq‘s Reign:

Number of slaves increased to 1, 80,000 in Firoz Shah Tughlaq’s time, which was a burden on the treasury.

Failure as a conqueror:

Firoz Tughlaq was not an able general. No significant conquests were made by him.

Main military events are given below:

  • Bengal:

Firoz Tughlaq made two attempts to conquer Bengal but failed.

  • Orissa:

While returning from Bengal, he attacked Orissa. The ruler agreed to pay tribute to the Sultan.

  • Nagarkot (Kangra):

It took about six months to subjugate the Raja who acknowledged the Sultan’s suzerainty.

  • Sindh:

In the initial attacks by the Sultan himself, about three- fourth of his army was destroyed. Later the Sindh ruler accepted the suzerainty of the Sultan.

Army organization:

The Sultan introduced several reforms in the army which produced negative results.

  • He did not maintain a standing army,
  • Military service was made hereditary,
  • The principle of merit was ignored,
  • The Sultan introduced the system of paying salary by grant of land.
  • This meant that a soldier had to go to his village for collecting his land revenue in lieu of salary.

Evils of Jagirdari system:

Firoz Tughlaq introduced the system of granting jagirs (lands) to his officials in place of cash payment. In due course, jagirdars became very powerful and created difficulties for the rulers

Nereauary nobles:

Firoz Tughlaq decreed that whenever a noble died, his son should be allowed to succeed to his position. This reduced the chances of competent persons being appointed at responsible posts.

Slave system:

It is said that Firoz Tughlaq had maintained about one lakh, eighty thousand slaves. It put great economic burden on the state. This slave system proved very harmful and became one of the contributory factors of the downfall of the Tughlaq Empire.

Fanatically intolerant religious policy towards the Hindus:

Firoz encouraged the Hindus for conversion to Islam. In his autobiography, he wrote, “I encouraged my infidel subjects (Hindus) to embrace the religion of the Prophet (Islam religion), and I proclaimed that everyone who left his creed and became a Mussalman should be exempted from ‘jizya’. He further wrote, “I also ordered that the infidel books, the idols and the vessels used in their worship (Hindus) should all be publicly burnt.”

Habit of drinking:

Firoz was so addicted to drinking that whenever he set out on a military expedition, he would remain in a state of drunkenness for several days. This was followed by his nobles and forces as well.

An estimate of Firoz Tughlaq:

Appreciation by historians:

  • “The welfare of the people”, says Dr. Ishwari Prasad, “was the watchword of his administration. Therefore, Firoz is considered by Barani as an ideal Muslim King.”
  • In the words of Havell Firozj’s reign “is a welcome breath in the long chain of tyranny, cruelty and debauchery which make up the gloomy annals of the Turkish dynasties.”
  • Afif, a contemporary of Firoz writes, “Their (peasants) homes were replete with grain, everyone had plenty of gold and silver. “No women was without ornaments”
  • About the previous penal code and the changes brought about by Firoz, S.R. Sharma states, “it was left to his less appreciated successor (Firoz) to mitigate its ferocity.”
  • About the judicial system, V.A. Smith has said, “One reform the abolition of mutilation and torture, deserves unqualified commendation.”

About his love for buildings, Sir Woolseley Haigh has remarked, “He indulged in a passion for building which equalled if it did not surpass that of Roman emperor Augutus.”

Criticism by historians:

About his lack of military skill, V.A. Smith states, “The campaign (Bengal) had no result except the wanton slaughter thus evidenced. No territory was annexed and the practical independence of the eastern empire continued unimpaired.” He further observes, “It seems to be plain that Firoz Shah possessed no military capacity. His early campaigns in the east and the west were absolutely futile, and during the greater part of his long reign he abstained from war.”

Likewise regarding Firoz’s expedition to Sindh, Dr. Ishwari Prasad wrote, “The expedition was a singular instance of the Sultan’s felinity and lack of strategic skill.”

Regarding his religious intolerance, S.R. Sharma states, “It is a pity that such a Sultan should have besmirched his fair name by acts of religious intolerance.”

In the same manner Dr. R.C. Majumdar writes, “Firoz was the greatest bigot of his age.”

Professor B.P. Saxena also states, “…But in the last fifteen years of his reign Firoz was an incurable and degenerate fanatic.”

Concluding Statement:

We may conclude the discussion with the views of Dr. V.A. Smith, “Firoz Shah, whatever may have been his defects or weaknesses deserves much credit for having mitigated in some respects the horrible practices of his predecessors, and for having introduced some tincture of humane feelings into the administration.”

Towards the end……….

The last years of Firuz Shah Tughlaq’s rule and life were not happy. He lost his eldest son Fateh Khan, whom he had nominated as the heir apparent, in 1374. He now nominated his second son Zafar Khan as his heir, but he also died. The third son Muhammad Khan was the next choice but no formal nomination was made in his case.

In the meantime the prime minister Khan-i-Jahan Maqbul had died and his son had become prime minister. The new prime minister persuaded the Sultan to believe that the prince was conspiring with the nobles to seize power and got the Sultan’s permission to punish the Prince’s partisans.

But the prince Muhammad Khan met the Sultan Firuz and convinced him that the Khan-i-Jahan, i.e. the prime minister was trying to destroy the royal family to clear his way to the throne. Firuz Shah permitted Muhammad Khan to punish Khan-i-Jahan who sensed the situation and fled to Mewat.

Mahammad now began to assist his father Firuz Shah in the administration and was allowed to share the royal title. He was now formally declared heir-apparent (1387).

Soon after the prince got Khan-i-Jahan killed and assumed all power of the state in his own hands. But instead of looking into the administration he gave himself up to pleasure. The administration naturally becomes lax and everything was in confusion. Some of the nobles who were loyal to the crown tried to rouse Muhammad Khan to his responsibilities, but to no purpose.

They therefore organized a rebellion Muhammad was now obliged to throw off his lethargy and fight the nobles. But the nobles brought the old Sultan Firuz Tughlaq to the battle field and brought a sense of nervousness on the side of Muhammad Khan who fled for life.

His eldest son, Fath Khan, died in 1376. The Sultan then abdicated in August 1387 and made his other son, Prince Muhammad, king. A slave rebellion forced the Sultan to confer the royal title to his grandson, Tughluq Khan.[6]

Firuz Shah Tughlaq died on Sept. 20, 1388.

Death and Legends of Feroz Shah Tughlaq:

Death: September 20, 1388, Delhi

Final Resting place:

Feroz Shah died in 1388 at the age of 90, and was buried in the exquisite square-shaped tomb with an unusual open courtyard overlooking the beautiful Hauz Khas, hoping for a peaceful fterlife in the academic air of the young students and the maulvis of the finest Muslim seminary and college that he had built in Tararabad, ‘the city of joy’.

A King who sought immortality through his buildings, he seemed to get the eloquent concurrence from religious quarters :

“He is not dead who leaves behind him on earth, Bridge and mosque, well and serai.”

“Who so buildeth for God a place of worship, Be it like the nest of Qata-bird; God buildeth for him a house in paradise.”

After Feroz Shah died in 1388, subsequent kings re-used the building materials from the Kushk-i-Feroz,  the ‘Citadel of Firoz’ – built from rough masonry of local quartzite stone blocks, to raise Newer Delhis – projects like Sher Shah Suri’s ‘Shergarh’ and Shahjahan’s ‘Shahjahanabad’  completely cannibalized the older city of Firozabad.

Tughlaq’s death led to a war of succession coupled with nobles rebelling to set up independent states. His lenient attitude had strengthened the nobles, thus weakening the Sultan’s position. His successor Ghiyas-ud-Din Tughlaq II could not control the slaves or the nobles. The army had become weak and the empire had shrunk in size. Ten years after his death, Timur‘s invasion devastated Delhi.

Ruined Citadel and Commencement of Game of Death:


It is the Firoz Shah Kotla ruins where the Mughal Emperor Alamgir II (1754-59) was lured to death by his commander-in-chief by telling him that a noted Fakir has come there, and as the pious Emperor entered the place, hired assassins attacked and cut off his head, and threw the headless body from the mosque onto the river banks where it rotted for days.

Documented Heritage

i) Tarikh i Firoze Shahi – Ziauddin barani: This work preserves the history of the Delhi Sultanat for the period 1259 to 1352; it gives the histoy of nine rulers from Balban to Firoze Shah Tughluq. Barani’s write up including the narrative of Firoze Tughluq, constitutes a standard a standard work of history, which establishes his reputation as premier historain of his age.

ii) Fatawa I Jahandari-Barani: It is a complementary volume to the Tarikh i Firoze Shahi. In this book, the author recapitulates and futher elaborates the political philosophy of the sultnate on the basis of his earlier narrative.

iii) Firoze Tughluq’s Autobiography : Sultan Firoze Shan Tughluq has left a brochure of thirty two pages in autobiographical writing, called Futuhat i Firoze Shahi: it give a brief summary of his military compaigns, some of which failed to produce the desired results.

iv) Tarikh i Firoze Shahi – Shams i Siraj Afif: The book is devoted exclusively to the reign of Firoze Tughluq and constitutes the most accurate and authentic contemporary account of his times. The book is unique in sense that it also describes the life and conditions of the people at large.

  • “Delhi that no one knows” by author R.V. Smith.
  • A Memoir on Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi; by J.A. Page & Mohammad Hamid Kuraishi, (1937, Reprint 1999), Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi.
  • Delhi : Its Monuments and History, by Percival Spear.
  • City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi by William Dalrymple, Olivia Fraser (Illustrator)
Posted in Historical Accounts | Tagged , | Comments Off on Sultan Feroze Shah Tughlaq – Kotla Feroze Shah-Kushki Feroze……………………