Provincial Kingdoms of India

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1 Deccan and Southern India
1.1 The Vijayanagar Empire (1336-1672 AD)

Deccan and Southern India

The Vijayanagar Empire (1336-1672 AD)

Vijayanagar Empire was ruled by four important dynasties and they are:

  • Sangama (1336-1485 AD)
  • Saluva (1485-1503 AD)
  • Tuluva (1503-1570 AD)
  • Aravidu (1570-1672 AD)

Sangama Dynasty (1336-1485 AD)


1336-1356 Harihara Raya I
1356-1377 Bukka Raya I
1377-1404 Harihara Raya II
1404-1405 Virupaksha Raya
1406-1422 Deva Raya I
1422 Ramachandra Raya
1422-1424 Vira Vijaya Bukka Raya
1424-1446 Deva Raya II
1446-1465 Mallikarjuna Raya
1465-1485 Virupaksha Raya II
1485 Praudha Raya

It was known as Sangama because it was named after Sangama, the father of Harihar and Bukka.

Harihara and Bukka (1336-1377 AD)
  • The Vijaynagar Empire was founded by Harihara and Bukka in 1336 AD on the southern banks of Tungabhadra.
  • Harihara and Bukka were serving the Kakatiya ruler of Warangal, Prataparudra II. In 1323, the Muslim conquest of Kakatiya kingdom led the brothers go to kingdom of Kampili (in modern Karnataka) and they became the ministers there. However, Kampili was overrun by Muhammad Tughluq for giving refuge to a Muslim rebel. The two brothers were imprisoned, converted to Islam and were appointed to deal the rebellions in Kampili.
  • However, they returned to the Hindu fold by inspiration of a saint Vidyaranya. They made Hampi their capital city.
  • Harihar and Bukka were able to expand their kingdom by capturing the whole Hoysala territories after the downfall of Hoysala Kingdom.


Harihara II
  • He became ruler when Bukka Raya I died in 1377 and ruled till his death in 1404. He was succeeded by Virupaksha Raya.
  • During his reign, he continued to extend the kingdom’s territory through fighting against the Reddis of Kondavidu for control of the Andhra between Nellore and Kalinga. From the Reddis of Kondavidu, Harihara II conquered the Addanki and Srisailam areas as well as most of the territory between the peninsulas to the south of the river Krishna, which would eventually lead to fights in Telangana with the Velamas of Rachakonda. Harihara II took advantage of the death of Mujahid Bahmani in 1378 and extended his control into the northwest, controlling such ports as Goa, Chaul, and Dabhol.
Virupaksha Raya
  • He succeeded Harihara II after his death in 1404 AD
  • Virupaksha Raya would only rule for a few months before being murdered by his sons and then succeeded by Bukka Raya II who would rule for two years before he himself would be succeeded by Deva Raya I.
Bukka Raya II
  • After Virupaksha’s death, Bukka Raya II succeeded him as emperor of the Vijayanagara Empire.
Deva Raya I
  • After Harihara II died there was a dispute between his sons over the throne in which Deva Raya I eventually emerged victor.
  • He was a very capable ruler noted for his military exploits and his support to irrigation works in his kingdom. He modernized the Vijayanagara army by improving the cavalry, employing Turkic archers, procuring horses from Arabia and Persia.
  • He developed Vijaynagar city by executing various kinds of infrastructural changes.
  • He commissioned barrage in 1410 AD on Tungabhadra River.
  • Deva Raya was continually at war with the Velamas of Telangana, the Bahmani Sultan of Gulbarga, the Reddis of Kondavidu, and the traditional rivals of Vijayanagara, the Gajaptis of Kalinga.
  • Deva Raya I was capable of managing the vast territory that he controlled. Following confusion in the Reddi kingdom, Deva Raya I entered into an alliance with Warangal for partitioning the Reddi kingdom between them.The split of Warangal changed the balance of power in the Deccan. In c.1420, Firoz Shah invaded Pangal but the two-year siege at Pangal ended in decease and disaster for Firoz Shah’s armies. Deva Raya inflicted a shattering defeat on Firoz Shah. The Sultan had to hand over the southern and eastern districts of his kingdom to Deva Raya I.
  • Hazare Rama temple, an excellent example of Deccan architecture was constructed during his rule.
  • Italian traveler, Nicolo Conti, and Russian merchant Nikitin, visted during his regin. Niclo Conti commented on Vijayanagar and Deva Raya I that “In this city, there are 90,000men fit to bear arms.. their king is more powerful than all the kings of India”.
Vira Vijaya Bukka Raya
  • Deva Raya was succeeded by Ramchandra Raya in 1422 AD who could rule only for a brief time. He was succeeded by Vira Vijaya Bukka Raya who in turn was succeeded by Deva Raya II.
Deva Raya II
  • He was a successful and greatest king.
  • He thwarted the attacks of Ahmad Shah I of the Bahamanis, conquered Kondavidu in 1432 and also defeated the Gajapati of Orissa.
  • He acquired the title of Gajabetegara (Hunter of Elephants), which shows his addiction to hunting elephants or could be referred to hi victories against enemies.
  • He also invaded Lanka and collected rich tributes from the region.  He managed to collect tributes from the ruler of Calicut.
  • He authored well-known works in the Kannada and Sanskrit language.
Praudha Raya
  • Deva Raya II was succeeded by Mallikarjuna Raya, Virupaksha Raya II and Praudha Raya who were weak kings. The last king of Sangama dynasty was Praudha Raya who was driven out of the capital by his able commander Saluva Narasimha Deva Raya in 1485 AD.

Saluva Dynasty (1486-1505 AD)


1485-1491 Saluva Narasimha Deva Raya
1491 Thimma Bhupala
1491-1505  Narasimha Raya II


Saluva Narsimhan was the founder of Saluva dynasty. He silenced the rebellions of feaudatories and kept the kingdom intact. Immadi Narsimha succeeded him. He was a weak ruler and hence the control of state fell into the hands of Narsa Nayaka. Vasco da Gama landed in Calicut during his time in 1498.

Tuluva Dynasty


1491-1503 Tuluva Narasa Nayaka
1503-1509  Viranarasimha Raya
1509-1529 Krishna Deva Raya
1529-1542 Achyuta Deva Raya
1542-1570Sadashiva Raya


In the late 15th century, after nearly two decades of conflict with rebellious chieftains, the empire had declined slightly. Saluva Narasimha Deva Raya in 1485 and General Tuluva Narasa Nayaka in 1491 managed to reconsolidate it somewhat, and started the second rise to power of the empire. The coming to power of Tuluva Narasa Nayaka in 1491 marked the start of the Tuluva Dynasty. In the following decades the Vijayanagar Empire dominated all of Southern India and fought off invasions from the five Deccan Sultanates in the north. The empire reached its peak during the rule of Krishna Deva Raya when the armies of the empire were nigh unstoppable. Krishna Deva Raya annexed areas formerly under the control of the Sultanates in the northern Deccan and the territories in the eastern Deccan. He also built and commisioned many of the architecture that Vijayanagara is remembered for, and was one of the empire’s greatest leaders, governing his subjects well, albeit harshly if they broke his laws. He was followed by Achyuta Raya in 1530 and then the final Tuluva, Sadasiva Raya, in 1541. Both of these were considered fairly weak rulers, and their reigns were the start of the final period of decline that eventually led led to the downfall of the empire.


Tuluva Narasa Nayaka (1491-1503 AD)
  • He was the commander of the Vijayanagar army under the rule of Saluva Narasimha Deva Raya and became the de-factor ruler of the kingdom after the death of Saluva Narasimha Deva Raya.
  • He successfully defended the kingdom against the Bahamani sultans, Gajapatis and the disloyal chieftains.
Viranarasimha Raya (1503-1509 AD)
  • He became the king of Vijayanagar Empire following the death of Tuluva Narasa Nayaka.
  • His rule was mostly occupied with fighting against rebel warlords.
Krishna Deva Raya (1509-1529 AD)
  • He was the most famous king of Vijayanagra Empire. According to Domingo Paes a Portuguese traveller “Krishnadeva Raya was the most feared and perfect king there could possibly be”.
  • He earned the titles of Mooru Rayara Ganda, Kannada Rajya Rama Ramana and Andhra Bhoja.
  • His father was Tuluva Narasa Nayaka and mother was Nagala Devi. It was during his period the Vijayanagar Empire reached its zenith of glory.
  • He conquered Sivasamudram in 1510 AD and Raichur in 1512A.D.
  • In 1523 A.D, he captured Orissa and Warangal.
  • He defeated Muslims armies of Deccan Sultanate in the Battle of Diwani. He invaded Raichur Doab and completely shattered Adil Shahi forces of Bijapur. He was also able to capture the city of Raichur.
  • He defeated the Gajpathi ruler Prataparuda and conquered the whole of Telangana.
  • Krishna Deva Raya assumed the title of Yavanrayjaya Sthapancharya also called Abhinav Bhoja.
  • His empire extended from the river Krishna in the north to River Cauvery in the south; Arabian Sea in the west to Bay of Bengal in the East.
  • He built large tanks and canals for irrigation. He increased the revenue of his government.
  • He developed the naval power understanding the vital role of overseas trade. He maintained friendly relationship with the Portuguese and Arab traders.
  • He patronized art and architecture. He himself authored Amukthamalyadha (Telegu) and Jambavati (Sanskrit)
  • Ashtadiggajas: A group of eight scholars adorned his court and they were:
  • Allasani Peddanna –Author of Manucharitram, he was also known as Andhra Kavitapitamaha
  • Pingali Surana– Author of Garuda Puranam, Prabhavatee etc.
  • Tenali Ramakrishna – Author of Panduranga Mahamatyam
  • Nandi Thimmana –Author of Parijathapaharanam
  • Madayagari Mallana
  • Dhurjati
  • Ayyalaraju Ramabhadra Kavi
  • Ramaraja Bhushana
  • He also founded a township near Vijayanagar called Nagalapuram.
Achyuta Raya (1529-1542 AD)
  • He succeeded Krishna Deva Raya in 1529. He was the younger brother of Krishna Deva Raya.
  • A Portuguese traveler, Fernoa Nuniz, came to India during his reign.
  • The Tiruvengalanatha temple, which is now popularly known by his name as Achyutara temple, was built in Vijayanagar during his reign.
  • When he died, his nephew Sadashiva was made the king who was still a child. Aliya Rama Raya, son-in-law of Krishna Deva Raya became the regent of the king.
Sadashiva Raya (1542-1570)
  • He was a mere puppet in the hands of his minister Aliya Rama Raya.
  • During his time, the real power was exercised by Rama Raya.

Aravidu Dynasty

1542-1565 Aliya Rama Raya
1565-1572 Tirumala Deva Raya
1572-1586 Sriranga I
1586-1614 Venkata II
1614-1614 Sriranga II
1617-1632 Ramadeva
1632-1642 Venkata III
1642-1646 Sriranga III
Aliya Rama Raya

·              He was the proginetor of Aravidu Dynasty.

Battle of Talikota (1565 A.D.)

The Battle of Talikota was fought between the Vijayanagara Empire and the Deccan sultanates, resulted in a defeat of Vijayanagara, and ended in greatly weakening one of the greatest Indian Empires originating from the South before the Marathas. Talikota is situated in northern Karnataka, about 80 km to the southeast from the city of Bijapur.

Battle of Talikota was a confrontation between the forces of the Hindu raja of Vijayanagar and the four Muslim sultans of Bijapur, Bidar, Ahmadnagar, and Golconda in the Indian Deccan. The armies numbered several hundred thousand, with large contingents of elephants. The battle seems to have been decided by the Muslim artillery and the capture and execution of the ruling Hindu minister Rama Raya. The capital city of Vijayanagar was captured, destroyed over a period of five months, and never reoccupied. The raja and Rama Raya’s brother Tirumala retired to Penukonda, where the latter usurped the throne in 1570. The battle was decisive in breaking up the Vijayanagar Empire, a Telugu domination over the Tamil and Kannada south. It also began a final Muslim penetration lasting until the end of the 18th century.

Causes of Defeat of Vijayanagar Rulers

Historians have enthusiastically debated the cause of the defeat.They are essentially the following:

  • The betrayal by two Muslim commanders (Gilani Brothers) of Vijayanagara Army at a key point in the battle was the chief cause of the defeat.
  • The Vijayanagara armies had fewer cavalry on horseback and depended on commanders riding war elephants, making them slower on the battlefield. The Sultanate armies had many more swift Persian horses used by key sections of the army and commanders. This gave them an edge.
  • The three main commanders of the Vijayanagara army, including Aliya Rama Raya, were aging compared to the younger commanders of the Sultanate armies.
  • While the Vijayanagara infantry depended on bows made of bamboo, the Sultanate armies used crossbows made of metal which were much more effective in accuracy and distance. Also, the Vijayanagara army used 7 feet (2.1 m) long spears and javelins while the Sultanate armies used 15 feet (4.6 m) long spears while riding horse back. This gave them a clear advantage.
  • Aliya Rama Raya’s policy, of placing his family members at key public posts, led to civil unrest.
  • The Vijayanagara armies had pillaged their neighboring empires and had formed alliances with imperial forces, also sowed dissention.
  • The Sultanates’ armies had a much better prepared artillery division manned by mercenary gunners from Turkestan. At that time they were considered the best at artillery warfare, while the Vijayanagara forces depended on European mercenaries who were not as well trained.

It is true that the battle of Talikota did a great damage to the Vijayanagar Empire but it is not correct to say that the Hindu empire disappeared completely after 1565.

The empire continued to exist till it got weakened and dismembered-weakened by the constant invasions from the north and dismembered by the dissatisfaction and rebellions of the viceroys within. It is to be observed that the Muslim confederacy which had won the battle of Talikota did not last long. The old imperial jealousies reappeared among the Muslim Sultans. The result was that the Vijayanagar Empire was able to recover once again under the guidance of Tirumala, brother of Rama Raya.

After the departure of the Muslims, he went back to Vijayanagar. After some time, he went to Penukonda and restored to prestige of Vijayanagar Empire to such an extent that he was able to interfere once again in the affairs of the Muslim States in the Deccan. Up to 1570, Sadasiva was the nominal ruler but in that year he was set a side by Tirumala who captured the throne for himself. Tirumala started the rule of the Aravidu Dynasty in Vijayanagar.


Tirumala Deva Raya
  • Tirumala Deva Raya was also the son-in-law of Krishna Deva Raya. He re-founded the Vijaynagar kingdom in Penukonda, Andhra Pradesh. The kingdom was destroyed by the Muslim rulers following the battle of Talikonda.
  • During his reign, Tirumala Deva Raya faced rebellion from Southern Nayakas of Madurai and Ginjee. He retired to a religious life in 1572 AD.
Sriranga Deva Raya (Sriranga I)
  • He ruled Vijayanagara kingdom from 1572 AD to 1586 AD.
  • He faced repeated attacks from Muslim rulers of Deccan. Nonetheless, he did his best to defend the territories of the kingdom and died in 1586 without an heir.
Venkata II
  • He succeeded his elder brother Sriranga I in 1586 as the new king of Vijayanagara Empire.
  • He revived the strength of the kingdom by dealing successfully with the sultans of Bijapur and Golkonda. He suppressed the rebelling Nayakas of Tamil Nadu.
Sriranga II
  • He ruled for a brief period of time. During his time, internal feud between the rival factions started.
Ramadeva (1617-1632 AD)
  • He ruled from 1617 AD to 1632 AD.
Venkata III
  • He became the king of Vijayanagara in 1632 AD and ruled till 1642 AD.
Sriranga III
  • He was the last ruler of the Vijayanagar Empire. He ruled from 1642 to 1646 AD

Administration under Vijayanagar Empire

The kingdom was divided into provinces known as Mandalam, headed by ‘Mandaleshwar’. It was further divided into nadu, sthala and grams. Land revenue was fixed at 1/6th of the produce. Land revenue varied according to nature of cultivated land. There were taxes on various professions.

The Ayagar system:

  • It was an important feature of the village organization in vijayanagar.
  • According to this, every village was a separate unit and its affairs were conducted by a team of 12 functionaries who were collectively known as the ‘ayagars’.
  • They were granted tax-free lands (manyams) which they were to enjoy in perpectuity for their services. Once granted, these ayagars had a hereditary right over their offieces.
  • The ayagars could also sell or mortgage their offices.
  • For justice, very harsh punishments like mutilation of body, throwing to elephants were delivered.
  • The army under Vijayanagar Kingdom was well organised and efficient. It consisted of cavalry, infantry, artillary and elephants. The highest grade officers in army were known as ‘Nayaks or Poligars‘. They were awarded land in lieu of their services.

The Nayakara system:

  • Under this system, the king was considered to be the owner of the soil and he distributed the lands to his nayakas.
  • Nayakas had to pay a fixed annual financial contribution to the imperial exchequer which, according to the chronicle of Nuniz, was generally half their revenue.
  • They were required to maintain a sufficient number of troops for the king and serve them in his war.
  • The nayaka enjoyed greater freedom in his province. There was no system of transfer from one district to another.

Administration of Justice

The king was the highest authority or the supreme court of justice. His word was final. Petitions were presented to the king or the Prime Minister by all those who had a grievance and these were disposed of according to the principles of Hindu Law. Punishments were very severe. Torture was used to find out the truth from the alleged culprit. Death sentence, mutilation of the limbs of the body and confiscation of property were the deterrent punishments for the criminals. In the villages, panchayats dispensed justice for ordinary crimes.

Military Organization

The army consisted of infantry, cavalry, artillery and camels. The rulers of the Vijayanagar a empire neglected naval power. The rulers recruited Turkish archers in the army. The military organisation was rather weak and its primary weakness was artillery.

According to Domingos Paes, a foreign traveller, Krishna Deva Raya’s army included 703,000 infantry, 32600 cavalry and 551 elephants, besides an unaccounted host of camp followers. Chariots had gone out of use. The efficiency of the huge army was not proportionate to the number of force.

Society under Vijayanagar Empire

The city of Vijayanagar was a luxurious society with splendid buildings. Slavery was prevalent, as mentioned by Nicolo Conti. Silk and cotton clothes were mainly used for dresses. Vijayanagar markets were noted for dealing in spices, textiles and precious stones. Religious tolerance was shown towards everyone. Muslims were also employed in the administration. A large number of temples were built during this time. Epics and Puranas were popular among masses.

Position of Women: – Women were employed in royal palaces. Some women scholars like Hannamma, Thirumalamma and Gangadevi, who wrote Madhuravijayam.

Subordinate condition of women: Devadasi system was flourishing under Vijayanagar Kingdom; dancing girls were attached to the temples. Polygamy was prevalent among royal families. Sati practice was also recounted by traveller accounts.

Economic Conditions

The Vijayanagar Empire was one of the richest state then known to the world. Several foreign travellers, who visited the empire during the 15th and 16th Centuries, have left glowing accounts of its splendour and wealth.

  • Agriculture: It was in a flourishing condition. It was the policy of rulers to encourage agriculture in the different parts of the empire and to increase agricultural production by a wise irrigation policy. Nuniz, the Portuguese traveller, speaks of the construction of a dam and excavation of canals.
  • Industries: The agricultural wealth was supplemented. by numerous industries, the most important of which were textiles, mining and metallurgy. Another important industry was perfumery.
  • Industries and crafts were regulated by guilds.
  • It was common practice for people of the same trade to live in one and the same quarter of the city.
  • Abdur Razzak, the Persian diplomat and traveller, remarks: ‘The tradesmen of each separate guild or craft have their shops close to another’. Trade There was flourishing inland, coastal and overseas trade which was an important source of general prosperity. The kingdom, according to Abdur Razzak, had 300 sea ports.
  • The most important commercial area on the West coast was Malabar, with its important port of Cannanore. It had commercial relations with the islands of the Indian Ocean, Burma, the Malay Archipelago and China in the East, and Arabia, Persia, South Africa, Abyssinia and Portugal on the West.
  • Among the exports, the main items were cloth, spices, rice, iron, saltpeter, sugar, etc. The main imports consisted of horses, elephants, pearls, copper, coral, mercury, China silks and velvets.
  • Ships were used for coastal and overseas trade. Vijayanagar had its own ships; the art of ship-building was known, but we do not know if ocean-going ships were built.
  • Barbosa, another Portuguese traveller, says that South India got its ships built in the Maldive Islands.


The Vijayanagar emperors issued a large number of gold coins, called Varahas or Pagodas (Varahas because the most common symbol was Varaha-the Boar incarnation of Vishnu).

  • Harihara I and Bukka I used the Hanuman symbol in their coins.
  • Krishna Deva Raya’s coins had the figures of Venkatesh and Balkrishna.
  • Achyuta Raya used Garuda while Tirumala maintained the original Varaha.

Standard of Living

  • The accounts of foreign travellers speak of the high standards of living of the upper and middle classes.
  • The splendour of the capital city bears testimony to the wealth which was, however, the monopoly of only a section of the population.
  • But the prices of articles were low and the minimum necessities were probably not beyond the means of the common people.
  • However, producers, mainly agricultural producers, apparently got inadequate prices for their produce.
  • Another main defect of the economic system was that the common people had to bear the burnt of taxation, which was quite heavy and the local authorities sometimes adopted oppressive methods of collection.

Architecture under Vijayanagar Empire

Vijayanagara was inspired by the existence of the shrines of Virupaksha and Pampadevi. This is supported by the fact that, the Vijayanagara kings claimed to rule on behalf of the god Virupaksha. The Vijaynagar rulers produced a new style of architecture called as Provida style. The large number and prominence of pillars and piers are some of the distinct features. Horse was the most common animal on the pillars. Another important feature was the Mandapa or open pavilion with a raised platform, meant for seating deities.

Virupaksha temple, Hampi, Karnataka

Vijayanagar rulers began the practice of wall inscriptions containing stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata on temples. Vithalswamy and Hazara Rama temple has such inscriptions. Vijayanagar Empire

The chief characteristic feature of Vijayanagar Architecture was the construction of tall Raya Gopurams (gateways) and kalyan mandapas (open pavilion) with carved pillars. These mandapas were meant for seating deities on festival occasions. Amman shrines were added to existing temples.

The Varadhraja and Ekamparanatha temple at Kanchipuram are also examples of Vijayanagar style of Architecture.

Foreign Visitors of Vijayanagara Kingdom

Ibn Bututa (1333-1347 AD):  Moroccan traveller, who visited India during the reign of Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq, also visited Vijayanagar during the reign of Harihar I.

Nicolo Conti (1420-1421 AD): He was an Italian merchant & traveller, who gave a comprehensive detail of his visit to Hindu kingdom Vijayanagar.

Abdur Razzaq (1443-1444 AD): He was a Persian traveler who provided a vivid account of the Vijayanagar city, while describing the wealth and luxurious life of the king and the nobles.

Duarte Barbosa (1500-1516 AD): Portuguese traveller, who has given a valuable narrative of the government and the people of the Vijayanagar Empire.

Fernao Nuniz (1534-1537 AD): Portuguese merchant, who wrote the history of the Empire from its earliest days to the closing years of Acchyutdeva Raya’s reign.

Domingos Paes (1520-1522 A.D): Portuguese traveller, who visited the court of Krishnadeva Raya.

The Bahmani Kingdom (1347-1527 AD)

The first Independent Islamic Kingdom in South India was the Bahmani Sultanate or the Bahmani Kingdom.  One of the great medieval Indian kingdoms, the Bahmani Sultanate was founded as a revolt against Muhammad bin Tughlaq of the Delhi Sultanate by Zafar Khan, who took the title of Ala-ud-din Hassan Bahman Shah and founded Bahmani Kingdom in the 1347 AD. With its capital at Gulbarga and later Bidar a total of eighteen Sultans ruled over this kingdom. Often at war with the neighboring Hindu Kingdom of Vijayanagara, the Bahamanis disintegrated into independent sultanates called Deccan sultanates after the attack of Krishnadeva Raya and the death of the great Wazir of Bahmani Sultanate Mahmud Gawan. Independent Sulanates after disintegration: Nizamshahi of Ahmadnagar, Qutubshahi of Golconda (Hyderabad), Baridshahis of Bidar, Imadshahi of Berar, Adilshahi of Bijapur.

Historical Background

In august 1347 AD, the Bahmani Kingdom rose to power under the Turkish Governor Ala-ud-din Hassan Bahman Shah, who revolted against the Sultan of Delhi Sultanate, Muhammad Bin Tughlaq and was favored by Nazir uddin Ismail Shah (who had revolted against the Delhi Sultanate). The success of the revolt led to the establishment of an independent Deccan state with parts of the current day’s Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh which were within the territory of Delhi Sultanate. Setting up the capital between 1347 AD and 1425 AD, in Ahsanabad (gulbara), it was later moved to Muhammadabad (Bidar).

Constantly contesting the Vijyanagar Empire of Hindus, in the south, the power of sultanate reached its peak under Mahmud Gawan (serving as a prime minister and General to several sultans) during 1466-1481. He extended the empire by reconquering Goa which was under the Vijyanagar Empire. He also introduced administrative reforms and controlled many districts directly. His execution was ordered by a sultan and the Empire began collapsing after the sultan drank himself to death. The rampant Bahmani power was disintegrated by Krishna Dev Raya of Vijyanagar Empire and the Governors of important provinces like Bijapur, Ahmadnagar, Berar, Bidar and Golconda, started declaring their Independence from Bahmani rule

Bijapur as an expansive successor states captured Bidar and was joined by Ahmadnagar and Golconda in struggle against Vijayanagar. All the Deccan sultanates together pooled their resources against the might of Vijyanagar and it suffered a crucial defeat in 1565 AD. At the same time the Deccan sultanates had to succumb to the Great Mughals, and were totally vanquished by Aurangzeb in 1686–7 AD.

Break-up of Bahmani Kingdom

The 16th century saw the Bahmani Kingdom fragment into smaller sultanates each governed by independent dynasty.

The Nizam Shahis of Admed Nagar (1490-1633 AD): the Nizam Shahi kingdom was founded by Malik Ahmed Bahri and was later conquered by Shah Jahan (A.D. 1633).

The Adilshahis of Bijapur (A.D. 1490-1686 AD): The kingdom of Bijapur was founded by Yusuf Adil Shah. The Gol Gumbaj, the tomb with world’s second largest dome was built by Adil Shahi ruler Muhammad Adil Shah. It is also famous for its whispering gallery. This kingdom was later annexed by Aurangzeb. Ibrahim Adil shah II wrote a book of songs called Kitab-i-Niwas in Dakhani Urdu; this contains a number of songs with different ragas.

The Imadshahis’ of Berar (1490-1574 AD): the Imadshahi kingdom was founded by Fatullah Khan Imad-ul-mulk and it was conquered by one of the Nizam-Shahi rulers of Ahmadnagar.

The Qutubshahis of Golconda (1518-1687 AD): Quli Qutub Shah founded the Qutubshahi dynasty and made Golconda his capital after building the famous Golconda fort. Another Qutubshahi ruler, Muhammad Quli Qutubshah, was the greatest of all and he founded the city of Hyderabad and built the Charminar in it. This kingdom was also later annexed by Aurangzeb. Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah wrote the Kulliyat-i-Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah in Dakhani Urdu.

The Baridshahis of Bidar (1528-1619 AD): Ali Barid founded the kingdom and it was later annexed by Adilshahis of Bijapur.

Central and Provincial Administration

The Bahmanis seem to have copied the administrative structure of the Delhi Sultans. The king was at the helm of affairs, followed by wakil, wazir, bakhshi and qazi. Besides, there were dabir (secretary), mufti (interpreter of law), kotwal, muhtasib (censor of public morals). Munihians (spy) were appointed not only in every corner of their kingdom, but we are told that during Muhammad’s reign, munihians were posted at Delhi.

During Muhammad I’s reign, the Bahmani kingdom was divided into four atraf or provinces, i.e. Dauladabad, Berar, Bidar and Gulbarga each ruled by a tarafdar. Since Gulbarga was the most important province, only the most trusted nobles were appointed who were called mir naib (viceroy)-distinct from the governors (tarafdars) of other provinces. Later on, as the boundaries of the kingdom expanded, Mahmud Gawan divided the empire into eight provinces. Certain parts of the empire were put under the direct control of the Sultan (khassrr-i Sultani).

Army Organization

The amir-ul umara was the commander of the army. The army mainly consisted of soldiers and cavalry. Elephants were also employed. The rulers maintained a large number of bodyguards known as khassakhel. Muhammad I is stated to have had four thousand bodyguards. Besides, there were silahdars who were incharge of the personal armoury of the king. In times of need, barbardan were asked to mobilize troops. Another characteristic feature of the Bahmani army was the use of gunpowder that gave them military advantage.

Niccolo Conti, an ltdian traveller, who visited lndia in the 15th century, writes that their army used javelins, swords, arm-pieces, round-shields, bows and arrows. He adds that they used ‘ballistae and bombarding machines as well as siege-pieces’. Duarte Barbosa who visited lndia during 1500-17 also made similar remarks that they used maces, battle-axes, bows and arrows. Gawan placed one fort under one tarafdar’s jurisdiction, the rest f the forts within a province were placed under the central command. To check corruption, he made a rule that every officer should be paid at, a fixed rate for ever41500 troopers maintained by him. When he was given revenue assignments in lieu of cash, the amount incurred by the officer in the collection of revenue was to be paid to him separately. If he failed to maintain the stipulated soldiers, he had to reund the proportionate amount to the exchequer.


Mahmud Gawan ordered for systematic measurement of land fixing the boundaries of the villages and towns. Thus, in this regard he was the forerunner of Raja Todar Mal. All this greatly helped the exchequer. First, the income of the empire was ensured and became known in advance; secondly, it also curbed the corruption of the nobles to the minimum, thereby increasing the states income. In the Bahmani kingdom, trade and commerce was in a flourishing state. Nikitin, a Russian traveller, who was in the Deccan during 1469-74, provides ample information regarding the commercial activities of Bidar. He says that horses, cloth, silk, and pepper were the chief merchandise. He adds that at Shikhbaludin Peratyr and at Aladinand bazaar people assembled in large numbers where trade continued for ten days and also intentions the Bahmani seaport Mustafabad-Dabul as a centre of commercial activity. Dabul was well connected not only with the Indian but also with the African ports. Horses were imported from Arabia, Khurasan and Turkestan. Trade and commerce was mostly in the hands of the Hindu merchants. Musk and fur were imported from China.


The social structure of the Bahmanis was cosmopolitan in character. There were Muslims, Hindus, Iranians, Transoxonians, Irraqis and Abyssinians (Habshis). The Portuguese came during the early 16th century. This heterogeneous character becomes more prominent if we look at its linguistic pattern: Persian, Marathi, Dakhni (proto-Urdu), Kannada and Telugu languages were widely spoken in various parts of the kingdom.

Broadly, two classes existed in the society. According to Nikitin, there were poor, and the nobles who were “extremely opulent”. He says that “the nobles were carried on their Silver beds, preceded by twenty horses caparisoned in gold and followed by three hundred men on horseback and five hundred on foot along with ten torchbearers.” Nikitin also gives a graphic account of the grandeur of the Bahmani wazir, Mahmud Gawan. He mentions that every day along with him 500 men used to dine. For the safety of his house alone, everyday 100 armed personnel kept vigilance. In contrast, the general population was poor. Though Nikitin mentions only two classes, there was yet another class-the merchants (the so-called middle class).

The sufis were great& venerated by the Bahmani rulers. Initially, they migrated to the Deccan as religious auxiliaries of the Khiljis and the Tughluqs. The infant Bahmani kingdom required the support of Sufi for popular legitimization of their authority. The sufis who migrated to the Bahmani kingdom were chiefly of the Chishti, Qadiri and Shattari orders. Bidar emerged as one of the most important centres of the Qadiri order. Shaikh Sirajuddin Junaidi was the first Sufi to receive the royal favour. The Chishti saints enjoyed the greatest honour. Syed Muhammad Gesu Daraz, the famous Chishti saint of Delhi, migrated to Gulbarga in 1402-3. Sultan Feroz granted a number of villages as inn for the upkeep of his khanqab. But during the later period of his reign dissensions between the two developed on account of the Sufi’s support for the Sultan’s brother Ahmad as his successor. It finally led to the expulsion of Gesu Daraz from Gulbarga.

With the large influxable the Afaqis in the Bahmani kingdom, the Shias also found their place under Fadullah’s influence. Ahmad 1’s act of sending 30,000 silver tankas for distribution among the Saiyyids of Karbala in Iraq shows his inclination for the Shia doctrine. The mbst influential wazir of Ahmad 111 was also a Shia.

Hindu traditions and culture also influenced the Bahmani court. Sultan Feroz’s (1397-1422) marriage with a daughter of the royal family of Vijaynagar helped greatly in the Hindu-Muslims cultural harmony. There is a. legend that Feroz even once went to Vijaynagar in the guise of a Hindu faqir. Even in the most important ceremony like the celebration of urs, Hindu influences are to be seen. During the urs celebrations, the Jangam (the head of the Lingayats of Madhyal in Gulbarga district) would perform the ceremony in typical Hindu fashion-conch-blowing, flower offerings, etc. What is interesting is that the Jangam wore Muslim apparel with the usual cap that the Muslim darwesh (hermit) used.

Art and Culture under Bahmani Kingdom

The Bahmanis were enthusiasts of architecture and art and encouraged distinct styles with architects from different parts of the Muslim world and blended these with the local styles.

Ala-ud-din Bahman built a large number of buildings including the Jama masjid and the Bala Hisar. The monuments of Gulbarga were also built and when the capital was shifted to Bidar a d a large number of buildings  were constructed which include the forts, palaces, mosques and tombs prominent among which are the Rangin Mahal, Gagan Mahal, Chini Mahal and Nagin Mahal.

The Persian scholar Mahmud Gawan (minister of Muhammad Shah III), built the well-known Madrasa in 1472 AD (building with three stories and has lecture halls, a library, a mosque and residential houses) which stands as a specimen of Bahmani architecture.

The Bahmanis got many forts rebuilt and modified for their suitability in case of military requirements.  These included the covered passages and bastions as an addition. Few forts were built at strategic places, keeping this structure in mind; some among these are the Gulbarga, Daulatabad, Gawilgarh, Narnala, Parenda, Raichur, etc

The architectural works also include idgahs (prayer houses) built at Daulatabad, Gulbarga, Bidar and Kovilkonda.  Their special feature is the parapet cresting and a dome in the middle above the central prayer-niche. Prayer niches were also provided in the walls. However some exquisite tombs were also built that had features like a square configuration on a raised area with sloping walls which gives an impression of single mass, low flat domes, high and slender arched doorways, with the use of enameled tile work.  Few of the significant tombs include the Ala-ud-din Hasan, Muhammad I and Muhammad II at Gulbarga and the tomb of Hazrat Zain-ud-din at Khuldabad.

Another significant contribution to the architecture is the Ibrahim Rouza. ‘Rouza’ meaning garden was built by the ruler Ibrahim. The tomb is known for its minarets, stonework, calligraphic inscriptions, parapets, etc. and a blend of both northern and southern styles with distinct elements can be seen. Gumbaz (the largest dome in the world) and Charminar in Hyderabad are also world-famous examples of Bahamani architecture.

An important heritage in the Indo-Islamic art was left by the Deccans, which included the language and Islamic tradition that spread in South India. Bahmani Kings patronized Hazrat Banda Nawaz (1321-1422 AD) the great Sufi saint (his dargah of Gulbarga is a pilgrimage to the Hindus and Muslims alike). He founded the Madrassa (institution) being a great scholar of Islamic wisdom, from his own funds on the line of universities of Samarkand and Khorasan.

Northern India


Rana Ratan Singh, a member of the elder branch of the Guhilot family ruled at Mewar when Ala-ud-din attacked and captured it in 1303 A.D.  Lakshman Singh, member of the junior branch of the Guhilots was placed on throne.

Rana Hammir Deva (1318-1364)
  • Lakshman Singh died fighting with his seven sons in the defence of the fort of Chittor. Only one of his sons, Ajay Singh was allowed to escape. Ajay Singh passed his life in hiding. When he died in 1314 A.D. his title passed over to the son of his elder brother, Hammir who proved himself the real founder of the state of Mewar under the Sisodiyas.
  • Mewar regained its lost power & under leader Rana Hammir Deva, the process of rise of Mewar as major power commenced.
  • He was the first ruler who started the use of title ‘Rana’.
  • Hammir tried to recover Chittor from the hands of Ala-ud-din Khalji but failed. However, Prince Khizr Khan was forced to leave Chittor and a Rajput noble, Maldeo was appointed governor in his place. But Hammir persisted in his efforts and, probably, during the later period of Muhammad Tughluq, succeeded in recovering Chittor from the Delhi Sultanate.
  • Hammir ruled for sixty-four years and his creditable achievement was the independence of Mewar.
  • He also built the Annapoorna Mata temple in Chittorgarh Fort.
Kshetra Singh (1378-1405 AD)
  • Hammir was succeeded by his son Kshetra Singh (1378-1405 A.D.) who proved capable and extended his kingdom.
  • Kshetra Singh was succeeded by his eldest son Laksha Singh or Lakha at a fairly advanced age.
  • He enhanced further the power of Mewar by marrying himself with the Rathor princess of Marwar.
Lakha Singh and Maharana Mokal
  • Lakha died in 1420 A.D. and was succeeded by his son, Mokal. Mokal captured Marwar with the help of his maternal uncle Ranamalla and also the Muslim principality of Nagour.
  • Mokal was murdered in 1433 A.D. by his two relatives while he had gone on an expedition to fight against the ruler of Gujarat.
  • The murder of Mokal divided the Rajput chiefs among themselves. At that very time, the rulers of Malwa and Gujarat attacked Mewar. At that difficult time, Ranamalla came to the rescue of Mewar.
Maharana Kumbha
  • Rana Kumbha was a great warrior and successful ruler of Mewar. Rana Kumbha is also known as Kumbharan and Kahuna Rana Kumbha. After Lakkasingh’s death in 1418 AD, his son Mokal became the king of Mewar, but died in 1431 AD.
  • Ranamalla placed his grand- nephew, Kumbha on the throne, suppressed the internal revolts and forced the invading armies of Gujarat and Malwa to withdraw.
  • Ranamalla, however, provoked the jealousy and suspicion of certain Sisodiya chiefs who murdered him in 1438 A.D. This created enmity between Mewar and Marwar. Thus, the early years of the reign of Rana Kumbha were full of troubles. But Rana Kumbha proved a great ruler. He succeeded in defeating the Rathors and captured large territory of Marwar.
  • He also defeated the army of Malwa several times. As a memory to his success against Malwa, he constructed the famous Kirti stambha at Chittor.
  • The Rathor-Rajputs fought against him constantly and the rulers of Malwa and Gujarat made joint efforts to defeat him. Kumbha succeeded against them all and extended the territory of his kingdom.
  • He constructed many palaces, forts and temples in Mewar. He built the city of Kumbhalgarh, strengthened the fortification of Chittor. Out of the 84 fields built in Mewad, 32 quarries were constructed. Apart from this, many more buildings and temples were built. Sultan beat Mahmud Khaliji badly. To make his victory memorable, he built a kirtist in Chittaur, which is very well known
  • Besides, Kumbha was a patron of literature and fine arts. He was a scholar as well. He was proficient in the Vedas, Smritis, Mimansa, Upanishads, grammar and politics. He wrote a commentary on Jayadeva’s Gitagovinda and four dramas in four local languages. Thus, Rana Kumbha was a great king of Mewar
Battle of Nagaur
  • The Battle of Nagar of 1455 is considered to be the most important of Rana. In this battle, he defeated King Mujahid Khan there and made Shams Khan a king. But when he sat on the throne, he rebelled with Rana. Rana again climbed to Nagaur again.
  • As a result, Shams went to Gujarat’s emperor Qutubuddin by saving his life. He thought that he would win the war with Rana, but Rana defeated him too.
The Death

In 1473 AD, he was murdered by his son Uday Singh. Because of opposition from Rajput warlords, Uday Singh could not enjoy power for more days. After that his younger brother Rajmal reign from 1473 to 1509 AD sits on the throne. After his death in 1509 AD, after the successful reign of 36 years, his son Rana Sangram Singh or ‘Rana Sanga’ reign 1509 to 1528 CE sat on Mewar’s throne. During his reign, he campaigned against Delhi, Malwa, and Gujarat. He was defeated by Mughal emperor Babur in the battle of Khanva in 1527 AD. After this, due to the absence of powerful rule, Jahangir took it under the Mughal Empire

Rayamalla (1473-1509 AD)
  • Udaya, who captured the throne of his father, was not allowed to rule for long because of the resistance of the nobles. The throne was soon occupied by his younger brother, Rayamalla. Rayamalla ruled for thirty-six years (1473-1509 A.D.). He fought against his own rebellious chiefs, hill-tribes and rulers of Malwa.
  • During later years of his reign, his sons contested against each other to capture the throne which made him insane and he died in that state of mind. His eldest son, Prithviraja was poisoned; the second son Jaymal had died fighting in a duel while the third son Jaya Singh was not accepted as ruler by the nobles.
Rana Sanga (1509-1528 AD)
  • The nobles called Sangram Singh who had gone to Malwa after quarrelling with his brother to become Rana. Sangram Singh alias Rana Sanga (1509-1528 A.D.) proved himself an ambitious and war-like ruler. He either conquered all the states of Rajasthan or befriended them. He fought successfully against the neighbouring rulers of Gujarat, Malwa and Delhi.
  • He desired to capture Delhi itself which resulted in the battle of Khanua against Babur in 1527 A.D. He was defeated in that battle and died shortly afterwards. The power of Mewar went on decreasing afterwards and, ultimately, it accepted the suzerainty of the Mughal ruler, Jahangir.


  • Suhadeva succeeded in establishing a united state of Kashmir in 1301 A.D. yet, he was threatened by foreign enemies both on his eastern and western boundary. In 1320 A.D., Suhadeva was forced to leave Kashmir which was occupied by Rinchana, the son of a western Tibetan chief. Rinchana employed one Muslim person, Shah Mir to educate his wife and children.
  • Rinchana was succeeded by Udayana Deva who died in 1338 A.D. As his sons were minor, his wife, Kotta took up the administration in her own hands. But, by then, Shah Mir had become quite powerful. He imprisoned queen Kotta and her sons in 1339 A.D. and himself sat on the throne of Kashmir. He assumed the title of Shams- ud-din Shah and became the first Muslim ruler of Kashmir.
  • Shams-ud-din died after three years and was succeeded by his eldest son Jamshed. However, Jamshed was dethroned within some months by his brother Ala-ud-din who ruled for nearly twelve years. After him, his brother Shihab-ud-din ascended the throne and ruled for nineteen years. Shihab-ud-din pursued a policy of plundering the neighbouring states. In the west, he attacked up to Peshawar and, in the south, up to the river Satluj.
  • However, he maintained friendly relations with the ruler of Tibet. He was a tolerant ruler and Kashmir prospered during his reign. When he died, his brother Qutb-ud-din ascended the throne. Qutb-ud-din died in 1389 A.D., and was succeeded by his infant son, Sikandar. Sikandar’s reign marked a turning point in the history of Kashmir from social and religious point of view.
  • So far, the Muslim rulers of Kashmir had been tolerant towards their Hindu subjects who constituted the majority of the populace. But Sikandar proved a bigot. He attempted mass conversion of the Hindus to Islam. He, particularly, was oppressive to Brahmanas.
  • The majority of the Hindus accepted the Islam. Amongst the rest, many committed suicide and some fled away from Kashmir. Sikandar destroyed the Hindu temples and their images in such a large number that his co-religionists gave him the title of Butshikan (destroyer of idols).
  • Sikandar died in 1413 A.D. His son, Ali Shah, succeeded him. His chief minister, Suhal Bhatta, continued the policy of persecuting the Hindus and completed the work which was started by Sikandar. Ali Shah was captured by the Khokkaras while he was leading an expedition to fight against his brother and died at Chadura.
  • In 1420 A.D., brother of Ali Shah, Shahi Khan ascended the throne and assumed the title of Zain-ul-Abidin. Zain-ul-Abidin was the greatest ruler of Kashmir and some historians have compared him with Mughal ruler, Akbar because of his liberal religious policy towards the Hindus. He extended his empire. He conquered Gandhara, Sindhu, Madra, Rajapuri, Ladakh, Leh, etc. and defeated the ruler of Jammu also while assisting the Khokkar chief, Jasrath.
  • However, his fame rests primarily on his peaceful activities. Kashmir achieved both material and cultural progress during his reign. He himself was well- cultured and learned. He was well-versed in Persian, Sanskrit, Tibetan and other languages. Many Arabic and Persian works were translated into the local language and the Mahabharata and the Rajatarangini were translated into Persian during his reign.
  • He provided religious freedom to the Hindus, encouraged those who had fled away from Kashmir to return, allowed the Hindus to build up their temples and images and rewarded the Brahamanas for their meritorious works.
  • He abolished many taxes including much-hated Jizya from the Hindus, forced traders to sell their goods on reasonable prices, established peace and order, provided indiscriminating justice to his subjects and patronized literature and fine arts like music and painting. Zain-ul-Abidin enjoyed fame even in foreign countries. He maintained cordial relations with the rulers of Delhi, Gujarat, Gwalior, Mecca, Egypt, Khorasan etc. He died in 1470 A.D.
  • Haji Khan succeeded his father and assumed the title of Haidar Shah. He was an intolerant and incompetent ruler. However, he died within one year. He was succeeded by his son Hasan Shah. He pursued a tolerant religious policy but could not keep control over his nobles and the kingdom began to disintegrate during his reign.
  • Yet, Kashmir remained an independent kingdom during the period of the Delhi Sultanate. Afterwards, it was conquered by the Mughal ruler, Akbar.


  • The city of Jaunpur is situated on the river Gaumti and is thirty-four miles away from Banaras towards the north-west. It was founded by Firuz Shah Tughluq. Malik Sarvar, the founder of the independent kingdom of Jaunpur was a slave of Sultan Muhammad, son of Firuz Tughluq. He had a humble origin but rose to the position of vazir by his own merit.
  • In 1394 A.D., he was sent to suppress the revolt in Doab. He not only suppressed that revolt but, taking advantage of the invasion of Timur, occupied the entire territory extending from Aligarh in the east to Tirhut in the west and acted as an independent ruler though, of course, he assumed no royal title. He was assigned the title of Malik-ush-Sharq by Sultan Mahmud. Therefore, his dynasty was called the Sharqi dynasty.
  • Malik Sarvar was succeeded by his adopted son who assumed the title of Sultan Mubarak Shah. Mubarak issued his own coins and had the khutba read in his name. The vazir of Sultan Mahmud Tughluq, Mallu Iqbal Khan, tried to conquer Jaunpur but failed. Mubarak Shah died in 1402 A.D.
  • Mubarak was succeeded by his brother who assumed the title of Shams-ud- din Ibrahim Shah. The kingdom of Jaunpur and Delhi constantly fought against each other during his reign as both desired to expand itself at the cost of other. Ibrahim fought not only against Mahmud Tughluq but also against the Sayyid rulers Khizr Khan and Mubarak Shah. But no result came out of their conflict. Ibrahim tried to capture Bengal but failed.
  • His reign, however, was remarkable from the point of view of progress in cultural field. His reign was a period of prosperity as well. Jaunpur became a notable centre of learning and culture in northern India during his reign.
  • He patronized scholars and books like the Hashiah-i-Hindi, the Bahr-ul-Mawwaj, the Fatwa-i-Ibrahim Shahi and the Irshad were written during his reign. He beautified Jaunpur and built many beautiful buildings there. A new school of architecture, Janupuri or Sharqi School of Architecture, came into existence during his reign. He died in 1440 A.D.
  • Ibrahim Shah was succeeded by his son, Mahmud Shah. Mahmud Shah captured the fort of Chunar but his efforts to capture Kalpi failed. He once attacked Delhi also but the then ruler of Delhi, Bahlul Lodi defeated him.
  • The conflict between the kingdoms of Delhi and Jaunpur became bitter during his reign. After him, his son Muhammad Shah also fought against Bahlul but with no useful result. Muhammad Shah was killed by his brother, Husain Shah.
  • Husain Shah entered into a life and death struggle against Bahlul Lodi and was eventually defeated. He fled away to Bihar in 1479 A.D. and the state of Jaunpur was annexed to the Delhi Sultanate by Bahlul Lodi. During the rule of Sikandar Lodi, Husain Shah was forced to find shelter in Bengal and there he finished his life under the protection of the king of Bengal.
  • Thus, the kingdom of Jaunpur which had become an independent state out of the ruins of the Delhi Sultanate once more became its integral part after seventy-five years.


  • Ikhtiyar-ud-din Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji was the first Muslim invader who annexed Bengal and Bihar to the Delhi Sultanate. But Bengal, being a distant province, had always been a problem-province for the rulers of the Delhi Sultanate and could remain independent from time to time.
  • The last serious rebellion by Tughril Khan was sternly suppressed by Sultan Balban who appointed his son Bughra Khan as governor there. After the death of Balban, his successor Kaiqubad accepted his father Bughra Khan as independent ruler of Bengal who assumed the title of Sultan Nasir-ud-din.
  • Nasir-ud-din abdicated his throne in favour of his son Rukn-ud-din Kaikaus in 1291 A.D. when the throne of Delhi was captured by the Khaljis. Kaikaus ruled till 1301 A.D. when Shams-ud-din Firuz Shah, governor of Bihar dethroned him. Shams-ud-din extended the boundary of his kingdom and captured Assam and Silhat. He died in 1322 A.D.
  • His sons fought against him even when he was alive and when he died his son Ghiyas-ud-din, probably, murdered all his brothers save Nasir- ud-din Bahadur and Shihab-ud-din. Nasir-ud-din Bahadur and Shihab-ud-din sought support of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq. Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq attacked Bengal and imprisoned Ghiyas-ud-din Bahadur.
  • He annexed southern and eastern Bengal to the Delhi Sultanate but gave northern Bengal to Nasir-ud-din. Sultan Muhammad Tughluq freed Ghiyas-ud-din Bahadur from the prison and appointed him governor of eastern Bengal along with one of his nobles. But Ghiyas-ud-din Bahadur revolted after some years.
  • Then the whole of Bengal was annexed to the Delhi Sultanate by Sultan Muhammad Tughluq. But in 1337- 38 A.D., revolt occurred again in Bengal. Muhammad Tughluq sent Fakhr- ud-din to suppress that revolt.
  • He suppressed it but when he received no help or communication from Delhi, he declared himself ruler of Bengal and assumed the title of Fakhr-ud-din Mubarak Shah. Thus, Bengal again became independent during the reign of Muhammad Tughluq.
  • In 1345-46, Shams-ud-din Ilyas Shah occupied the whole of Bengal and ruled as an independent ruler. Firuz Tughluq tried twice to capture Bengal but failed both the times. Bengal, afterwards, was occupied by Sher Shah Suri and, then after him, it was finally annexed to the Mughal empire by Akbar.


  • Raja Karan (Rai Karan) was defeated by the forces of Ala-ud-din Khalji and Gujarat was annexed to the Delhi Sultanate in 1297 A.D. Gujarat then remained a province of the Delhi Sultanate till 1401 A.D. when Zafar Khan, the governor of Gujarat, declared himself as an independent Sultan.
  • He assumed the title of Muzaffar Shah in 1407 A.D. Muzaffar defeated Sultan Hushang of Malwa and occupied his capital, Dhar, though restored his kingdom to him afterwards. Muzaffar died in 1411 A.D.
  • Muzaffar was succeeded by his grandson Ahmad Shah. Ahmad Shah ruled for thirty-two years. He fought against the neighbouring rulers of Rajasthan, Malwa and south India. He was a successful ruler. He built up a new city.
  • Ahmadabad and made it his capital. He died in 1433 A.D. He was succeeded by his eldest son Muhammad Shah II who died in 1451 A.D. Muhammad Shah II was succeeded, in turn, by Qutb-ud-din Ahmad Shah and Daud Khan.
  • The last two rulers proved themselves incompetent. While Qutb-ud-din ruled between 1451-1458 A.D. the reign of Daud Khan was limited only to some days. In 1458 A.D., the nobles dethroned Daud Khan and chose Fath Khan, son of Muhammad II, to be the ruler. Fath Khan assumed the title of Abu-i-Fath Mahmud and is famous in history as Mahmud Begarha.
  • Mahmud Begarha (1458-1511 AD) has been regarded as the greatest Sultan of his dynasty. He fought many battles. He suppressed those nobles who desired to place his brother, Hasan Khan on the throne and defeated those Hindu Chiefs who challenged his authority. He supported the Bahmani kingdom against Malwa and his maternal grandfather Jam Nanda against his rebellious Hindu subjects.
  • However, his best success was capture of the forts of Girnar and Champaner. This success brought him the nickname Begarha. Mahmud fought against the Portuguese and was supported by the Egyptian fleet but he could not check their influence on the sea, and finally, compromised with them. Mahmud raised Gujarat to the status of one of the powerful states of northern India.
  • Besides, Gujarat prospered during his reign and progress was achieved in the field of literature and fine arts. Mahmud, however, was a bigoted Sunni and pursued an intolerant religious policy towards his Hindu subjects.
  • Mahmud Begarha was succeeded by his son Khalil Khan who assumed the title of Muzaffar Shah II. Muzaffar Shah supported Mahmud Khalji, the ruler of Malwa against his vazir Medini Rai and succeeded in restoring his authority in Mandu though Chanderi remained with Medini Rai.
  • He fought hard against the ruler of Mewar, Rana Sanga who was supporting Medini Rai and other Rajput rulers against Muslim rulers. But he did not succeed against the Rana. He died in 1526 A.D. Muzaffar was succeeded by Sikandar and Mahmud II respectively. Both of them proved incompetent and could rule only for some months.
  • Then, in July 1526 A.D., Bahadur Shah ascended the throne and his period of reign marked the zenith of the power of the state of Gujarat. He conquered Malwa in 1531 A.D. and plundered Chittor, the capital of Mewar.
  • However, the Mughal ruler Humayun proved his greatest enemy. Humayun once succeeded in capturing the entire Gujarat. Bahadur Shah was murdered by the Portuguese in 1537 A.D. After him, no capable man ruled over Gujarat and it was finally conquered by the Mughal ruler Akbar in 1572 A.D.



  • Malwa was annexed to the Delhi Sultanate first by Ala-ud-din Khalji. It remained a part of it till the reign of later Tughluqs. Dilawar Khan who was appointed governor of Malwa by Firuz Tughluq in 1390 A.D. made himself an independent ruler in 1401 A.D. though he did not assume the title of Sultan. He died in 1405 A.D. His son and successor Alp Khan assumed the title of Husang Shah.
  • Husang Shah was once defeated and captured by Muzaffar Shah, ruler of Gujarat, but was left free and sent to suppress the revolt of Malwa. Husang Shah utilised that opportunity and once again made himself independent ruler of Malwa.
  • He built up Mandu and made it his capital. Husang Shah fought many battles against Ahmad Shah, the ruler of Gujarat who had succeeded Muzaffar Shah. But no concrete result came out of those battles. He also failed to capture Gwalior.
  • However, he captured Kalpi and successfully plundered the Hindu states of Orissa. Husang Shah was an ambitious ruler and engaged himself constantly in wars of conquest. But he failed to extend the territory of his kingdom because there existed equally powerful states in his neighbourhood. He died in 1435 A.D. He was succeeded by his son Ghazni Khan under the title of Muhammad Shah. He, however, proved himself incompetent and his vazir, Mahmud Khan, succeeded in dethroning him after a year.
  • Mahmud Khan assumed the title of Mahmud Shah and laid down the rule of Khalji dynasty in Malwa. He ruled between 1436-1469 A.D. and proved himself the ablest ruler of Malwa. He fought against the rulers of Gujarat, Delhi, Bahmani and Mewar. He extended the territory of his kingdom and got approval of his title of Sultan from the Khalifa of Egypt. He was a just and successful ruler though he was a bigot and pursued an intolerant religious policy towards the Hindus. He died in 1469 A.D.
  • Mahmud Shah was succeeded by his son Ghiyas-ud-din who mostly pursued a policy of peace with his neighbours and enjoyed the pleasures of life. However, he invaded Mewar twice but failed. He allowed the ruler of Gujarat to capture Champaner. He was a bigot and even surpassed his father in certain respects.
  • Probably, his son Nasir-ud-din got him poisoned and sat on the throne in 1500 A.D. Nasir-ud-din Shah was a tyrant. He died in 1511 A.D. and was succeeded by his younger son, Azam Humayun who assumed the title of Mahmud Shah II. During the reign of Mahmud Shah II, his Hindu and Muslim nobles contested for power against each other which helped Medini Rai to build his power even against the Sultan.
  • The Sultan sought the help of Muzaffar II, the ruler of Gujarat against Medini Rai but was foiled in his attempt because, Medini Rai, in turn, got the support of Rana Sanga, the ruler of Mewar. Mahmud developed enmity with Bahadur Shah, the ruler of Gujarat and was defeated by him in 1531 A.D. He was, afterwards, killed and Malwa was occupied by the state of Gujarat. The Mughal emperor Akbar annexed both Malwa and Gujarat to his empire afterwards.


  • It is largely believed that the Rathors of Marwar and Bikaner were the descendants of the Rashtrakutas. Chunda (1394-1421 A.D.) founded the state of Marwar and made Jodhpur its capital. Chunda fought hard against the neighbouring Muslim and Rajput states to maintain the existence of his state.
  • He extended his influence by marrying his daughter with Lakha, who was advanced in age but one of the prominent rulers of Mewar. The eldest son of Chunda was Ranamalla who left the state in deference to the wish of his father. Therefore, Chunda was succeeded by Kanha and he, in turn, was succeeded by his younger brother Sata. Sata was practically blind.
  • Therefore, Ranamalla, who had been at Mewar so far, attacked Marwar and occupied the throne for himself, Ranamalla helped Rana Kumbha of Mewar in early years of his reign, grew very influential but was, then, murdered by the nobles of Mewar. It resulted in constant fighting between the state of Mewar and Marwar. The son of Ranamalla, Jodha was able to escape from Mewar but Marwar was occupied by the Sisodiyas.
  • Jodha continued to resist the Sisodiyas and, finally, Rana Kumbha agreed for peace with him as he was fighting against the Muslim rulers of Gujarat and Malwa. Therefore, Jodha captured Marwar. Jodha had seventeen sons. His sons established semi-independent kingdoms at Satal, Merta, and Bikaner during his life-time and when he died in 1488 A.D., they fought amongst themselves for the throne.
  • One of his sons, Satal occupied the throne with the consent of the nobles. Satal died shortly and was succeeded by Suja. However, his brother Bika refused to submit to him and founded the independent state of Bikaner. Merta also became independent nearly the same time.

Thus, Marwar got the opportunity to rise as an important state of Rajasthan after the decline of the state of Mewar. It was the first-rate power in Rajasthan under its ruler Maldeo when Sher Shah Suri ruled at Delhi. However, during the reign of Mughal emperor Akbar at Delhi, Marwar accepted his suzerainty.