a Gulbarga Saltanate of India


Hameed Akhtar Siddiqui


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The Bahmani dynasty

The Bahmani Deccan on the north was bounded by the Vindhyas included the whole of Berar and a part of the modern Madhya Pradesh; on south its frontier was shifting up to Krishna. The eastern kingdom was reached up to Rajah Mundary. On the western frontier occupation was up to Konkan till the end of the Kingdom.

The Delhi Saltanate King Muhammad bin Tughluq  had an effective control over his Empire in the first phase of  his reign which extended to as far south as Madura and even further. He after 727 AH/1327 AD divided his Capital in two for some time, one at Delhi and other at Deogir, later named as Quwwatul Islam and then  Daulatabad. He  constructed a highway to connect Delhi with Daulatabad which was first of its kind in the history of India. He done this for the better control over his huge Empire seeing rebellious activities from south Kings and Amirs. Earliest Deccan rebellion was Sultan's maternal cousin, Baha-ud-din Gurshasp in 727 AH/1327 AD.  He ordered leading Muslim families of Delhi to migrate to new capital Daulatabad. During the first period 1327-1341 AD there was perfect peace in the southern India. Decision of second capital was apparently a great success for the Tughlaq Empire. Very soon the nobles and amirs have broken the unity of the Empire and establish the independence of the Deccan which was to las for three centuries and a half.

In 737 AH Shihab-i-Sultani Nusrat Khan, Governor of Bidar claimed himself King. In 740 AH Ali Shah Nathu proclaimed himself king at Dharur with the title of Ala-ud-din Ali Shah and was joined by his three brothers Hasan Gangu, Ahmad and Muhammad. Syed Jalaluddin Ahsan Governor of  Kaithal was able to found Royal Dynasty in Madura in 734 AH. He defeated Narayana after breaking the wall of Mudgal Fort in 1342 AD. Mudgal Fort pre Bahmani and Post Bahmani New Amirs  appointed by Delhi Sutan carried out a successful revolution and created an independent Kingdom in Deccan in 746 AH. Amirs selected Abul Fatah Nasiruddin Ismail Shah as their King in 746 AH against Sultan. Zafar Khan defeated  Sultan's army. Zafar Khan was received by  Ismail Shah. Ismail Shah Asked Zafar Khan to become the King with the title of  Sikandar-uth-thani Ala-ud-din Hasan Bahman Shah al-wali. The new King was crowned on Friday Aug 3, 1347 (24.04.748 AH) in the mosque of Qtub-ud-din Mubarak Shah Khalji at Daulatabad. After a long reign Bahmani Saltanate broken into five offshoots, viz. Nizam Shahi at Ahmadnagar, Imad Shahi at Berar, Barid Shahi at Bidar, Adil Shahi at  Bijapur and Qutub Shahi at Golkunda.

During the 191 years of Bahmani reign following rulers ruled with Gulbarga and Bidar as their capital:

Gulbarga Period ( 75 years )

1. Ala-ud-din Hasan Bahman Shah  1347 - 1358 AD

2. Muhammad I  1358 - 1375 AD

3. Ala-ud-din Mujahid Shah  1375 - 1378 AD

4. Daud Shah I  1378 - 1378 AD

5. Muhammad II  1378 - 1397 AD

6. Ghiyas-ud-din Tahmatan Shah  1397 - 1397 AD

7. Shams-ud-din Daud Shah II  1397 - 1397 AD

8. Taj-ud-din Firoz Shah  1397 - 1422 AD


Bidar Period ( 116 years )

  9. Shihab-ud-din Ahmad Shah I  1422 - 1436 AD

10. Ala-ud-din Ahmad Shah II  1436 - 1458 AD

11. Ala-ud-din Humayun Shah  1458 - 1461 AD

12. Nizam-ud-din Ahmad Shah III  1461 - 1463 AD

13. Shams-ud-din Muhammad Shah III  1463 - 1482 AD

14. Shihab-ud-din Mahmud  1482 - 1518 AD

15. Ahmad Shah IV  1518 - 1520 AD

16. Ala-ud-din Shah  1520 - 1523 AD

17. Wai-ullah Shah  1523 - 1526 AD

18. Kalim-ullah Shah  1526 - 1538 AD


Family Tree of Bahmani Kings



( Aug 3, 1347 - Feb 11, 1358 AD / Rabi-us-sani 24, 748 - Rabi-ul-awwal 1,  759 AH)*1

Hasan Gangu s/o Kaikaus s/o Muhammad s/o Ali ( there are different opinions)

Capital: Gulbarga

Founder of Bahmani Dynasty of Deccan

Nasir-ud-din Ismail Shah  asked Zafar Khan to become the King with the title of  Sikandar- uth- thani Ala-ud-din Hasan Bahman Shah al-wali. The new King was crowned on Friday Aug 3, 1347 (24.04.748 AH) in the mosque of Qtub-ud-din Mubarak Shah Khalji at Daulatabad. According to one historian Hasan was the nephew of Malik Hizhbar-ud-din entitled Zafar Khan' Alai, who was killed in 697 AH/ 1298 AD when Hasan was only 6 years old.

The first act of the new king was to transfer his title of Zafar Khan to prince Muhammad. King adopted the title of Bahman. He sent Qutbul Mulk who conquered  Kotgir, Maram, Mahendri and Akkal Kot. Qir Khan was sent to conquer Kalyan. After the news of this great victory of Kalyan, King renamed Daulatabad to Fatahabad. 

Sikandar was send to Malkher which was held by the Hindu Zamindars who opposed first but subdued later. Krishna Nayak of Tilangana entered into treaty and became friend of Sikandar and loyal to the King. Quir Khan revolted and was beheaded by the king. King renamed Gulbarga as Ahsanabad and made it the capital of Deccan.

The King died  on Rabi-ul-awwal 1,  759 AH / Feb 11,  1358 at the age of 67. 


*1 Silver Coins struck in the name of Bahman Shah in 760 AH  indicates that he might have died some time in 760 AH and hence Muhammad Shah I ascended the throne in 760 AH.


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( Feb 11, 1358 - April 21, 1375 /  Rabi-ul-awwal 1, 759 - Zi-qada 19, 776 AH )*1,*2  

(Zafar Khan )

Son of Bahman Shah

Capital: Gulbarga 

Muhammad Shah  ascended the throne on  1-3-759 AH. He is better known as organizer of Bahmani Kingdom and founder of its institutions.  His Silver throne from his father was replaced by the magnificent Takht-e-Firoza (Turquoise Throne) on March 23, 1363 presented to him by Raya of Tilangana. He constructed Jama Masjid  in Gulbarga Fort and Shah Bazaar Masjid in Gulbarga town. In 764 AH Sultan invaded Tilangana, Kanya Nayak offered Huns, elephants and horses along with Golkunda Town. Sultan died on  Zi-qada 19, 776 AH / April 21, 1375 AD.


*2 Silver Coins struck in the name of Muhammad Shah I in 778 AH, Silver coin of  777 AH and a Gold coin of 778 AH  is also known.  No coin of his successor Mujahid Shah of dated 776 AH are known. Mujahid Shah's Gold coin of 777 AH are known. This indicates that Muhammad Shah I might have died in 777 AH. and 778 AH issue may be a posthumously in his Mujahid Shah's reign.

Ref.  An article by Rehan Ahmad in  IIRNS News letter Jul 1999. Silver coin - 11.01 gm , 2.54 x 2.48 cm.


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(April 21, 1375 - April 16, 1378 /  Zi-qada 19, 776 - Zil-hij 17, 779 AH)*2  

Son of Muhammad Shah

 Capital : Gulbarga  

Muhammad I was succeeded by his son Ala-ud-din Mujahid Shah on 17th of Shawwal 776 AH at the age of 19. Mujahid Shah was murdered on 17th of Zil-hij 779 AH by Masud Khan (son of Mubarak Khan) and Daud Khan. 

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(April 16, 1378 - May 21, 1378 /  Zil-hij 17, 779 - Muharram 22, 780 AH)  

Son of Mahmud Shah S/o Bahman Shah

Capital : Gulbarga  

Immediately on Mujahid's murder Daud Shah proclaimed king of Deccan and all those present paid homage to him. It is said that Ruh Parwar Agha (Mujahid's sister) got Daud murdered through a royal slave Bakah while he was attending Friday prayer on 22nd of Muharram, 780 AH in great mosque of Gulbarga Fort.  

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(May 21, 1378 - April 20, 1397 AD /  Muharram 22, 780 - Rajab 21, 799 AH)

Son of  Mahmud Shah S/o Bahman Shah

Capital : Gulbarga

Ruh Parwar after taking revenge of her brother's death, blinded Sanjar ( S/o Daud I ). She put Muhammad II brother of Daud I on throne. Muhammad Shah II's 19 year reign was one of the most peaceful period in the whole Bahmani history. Since he had no son so he adopted two sons Firoz Shah and Ahmad I of his uncle  Ahmad Khan s/o Bahman Shah. But after the birth of  Tahmatan Shah,  Muhammad on his death bed wished that Ghiyasuddin Tahmatan Shah should succeed him and Firoz and Ahmad should pay homage to him. 

Muhammad died of typhoid on 21th of Rajab, 799 AH. The next day died the grand old man of the Deccan Mallik Saif-ud-din Ghori who had lived through five reigns and who was the Prime Minister of Bahmani State in the time of storm and three of four rulers. 

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(April 20, 1397 - June 14, 1397 AD /  Rajab 21, 799 - Ramadan 17, 799 AH)

S/o Muhammad Shah II

Capital : Gulbarga

Muhammad's elder son  Ghiyas-ud-din Tahmatan Shah succeeded to the throne without any trouble. Taghalchin ( Turkish slave ) who wanted to be the Prime Minister arranged a big feast at which king was also invited. Taghalchin blinded the king on 17th Ramadan, 799 AH  and imprisoned him at Sagar and his step brother Shams-ud-din Daud II was put on the throne.  

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(June 14, 1397 AD - Nov 15, 1397 AD /  Ramadan 17, 799  - Safar 23, 800 AH)

S/o Muhammad II

Capital : Gulbarga

The first thing the boy king was made to do was to promote Taghalchin to be the Malik Naib and Mir Jumla of the kingdom. The manumitted slave girl who was Shamsuddin's mother was now raised to the rank and title of Makhduma-i-Jahan (Dowager Queen). Taghalchin tried to persuade Shamsuddin to imprison Firoz and Ahmad and asked king's mother to have them done to death. On hearing of the conspiracy the two brothers fled to Sagar. Firoz proclaimed himself king making his younger brother Ahmad Khan Amir-ul-umra, Mir Fazlil-lah Inju Wakil (Prime Minister). He had the blind boy Ghiyasuddin Tahmatan with him. He directly attacked into the Darbar Hall  Taghalchin and his son was killed Daud II was blinded and allowed to move Mecca with his mother on 23rd Safar, 800 AH. Shamsuddin Daud II died in 816 AH / 1414 AD at Mecca. 

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(Nov 16, 1397 - Sep 22, 1422 AD / Safar 23, 800 - Shawwal 5, 825 AH)

S/o Ahmad Khan s/o Bahman Shah

Capital: Gulbarga

Firoz Shah was one of the most learned of Indian sovereigns. He was a good calligrapher and poet (poetic name Uruji or Firozi). Among other public works he  under took the construction of  an Observatory on the chain of hills near Daulatabad called Balaghat in 810 which could not be completed due to his death.

Hazrat Khwaja Syed Muhammad Gesu Draz was a Sufi (saint) and was deeply related with the Bahmani  kings and the people of  Gulbarga. He was the s/o  Syed Yusuf who came to Daulatabad in the reign of Muhammad Tughlaq. Hazrat was born on 4th Rajab, 721 AH (Jan 30, 1331) and started living near Gulbarga Jama Masjid since 819 AH. He died on Nov 1, 1422 AD / 16th Zi Qada, 825 AH  at the age of 105 years.

Firoz Shah paid tribute to him. He gave him many villages for his maintenance.  

He knows and can carry translation in Persian, Arabic,  Turkish, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali and many other languages. He tamed prince Bukka and Harihara of Vijayanagar and Narasingha of Kherla in battle. 

Firoz's army tried to kill Ahmad Khan ( brother of Firoz ) but defeated in battle fought cleverly by Ahmad. Gates of the city was opened for Ahmad on 5th of  Shawwal, 825 AH and he was taken to dying king Firoz. Firoz died on 11th of  Shawwal, 825 AH /  Sep 28, 1422. 


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(Sep 22, 1422 - Apr 17, 1436 AD /  Shawwal 5, 825 - Ramadan 29, 839 AH)*3

S/o Ahmad Khan s/o Bahman Shah

Capital: Bidar  

At the begening of his reign he suffered the shock of the death of Hazrat Khwaja Syed Muhammad Gesu Draz. He decided and shifted his capital from Gulbarga to Bidar between 827-830 AH. He made Khalaf Hasan Basri as his Wakil-e-Saltanate (Prime Minister). 

He constructed the Tomb of Gesu Daraz at Gulbarga any buidings at Bidar. 

Ahmad Shah attacked Vijayanagar and over powered Vijayaraya I. In the last year of his reign he appointed his eldest son Ala-ud-din Zafar Khan to be his heir, giving him the full charge of kingdom. King died on 29th of  Ramadan, 839 AH  after a short ilness.

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(Apr 17, 1436 - May 6, 1458 AD /  Ramadan 29, 839 - Jamad-us-sani 21, 862 AH)*3

S/o Ahmad Shah I

Capital: Bidar

Ahmad I had been very successful as a king and when he died he was popular even to the extent of being regarded as a saint. His son Zafar Khan who asumed the title of  Ahmad on his accession. He gave preference to newcomers from outside over the old in his cabinet. This created a great cleavage between them and the Dakhnis (old comers). He married the daughter of Raja of Sangmeswar and gave her the title of Zeba Chehra apart from the daughter of Nasir Khan Faruqi of Khandesh Agha Zainab

There became two party, aparently the old-comers and the new-comers. King died early due to his wound in his shin (front of lower leg) 




Silver Coins struck in the name of Ahmad Shah II  in 838 AH  has been reported. No coin of Ahmad Shah I has been reported so for. This confirms that Ahmad Shah II ascended the throne in 838 AH when Ahmad I was alive.

Ref:  -  Catalogue of  Bahmani Coins in the Andhra Pradesh Government Museum by Md.     Abdul Wali Khan.

        -  Deccan Ke Bahmani Salatin by Haroon Khan Sherwani, 1978 (1899), page 171


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(May 7, 1458 - Sep 4, 1461 AD /  Jamad-us-sani 22, 862 - Zi-Qada 28, 865 AH)*4

S/o Ahmad Shah II

Capital: Bidar

Ahmad Shah II had nominated his eldest son Humayun heir to his throne. King made Khwaja Mahmud Gawan, Malik-ut-tujjar, trafdar of Bijapur and Wakil-e-Sultunate giving him full control of military matters. Humayun was a very short tempered and cruel man. He made his own cousin Sikandar Khan as Sipahsalar.  Sikandar became rebellion and was crushed to death with the help of  Mahmud Gawan.  Humayun died on 28th  Zi-Qada 865 AH. 



Coins struck in the name of  Humayun Shah  866 AH  indicates that he might have died some time in 866 AH and hence Ahmad Shah III  ascended the throne in 866 AH.


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(Sep 4, 1461 - Jul 30, 1463 AD /  Zi- Qada 28, 865 - Zi- Qada 13, 867 AH)*4

S/o Humayun Shah

Capital: Bidar

On Humayun's death his son Ahmad succeeded to the throne as Nizam-ud-din Ahmad III at the age of 8. He was escorted to the throne by Shah Muhib-ul-la and Syed-us-Sadat Syed Hanif. Late king had nominated a council of Regency constituting of Khwaja-e-Jahan Turk, Mahmud Gawan with the Dowager Queen Makhduma-e-Jahan Nargis Begum. Master mind which ruled the country during the short reign of Ahmad Shah III was that of the great queen. All the political prisoners of Humayun period were released. Ahmad III died on the very night of his marriage on 13th Zi-Qada and was succeeded by his younger brother Muhammad Khan as Shams-ud-din Muhammad Shah III.

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(Jul 30, 1463 - Mar 26, 1482 AD /  Zi- Qada 13, - Safar 5, 887 AH)

S/o Humayun Shah

Capital: Bidar


Shamsuddin Muhammad was between 9 and 10 years when he succeeded his elder brother. He was escorted to the Turquoise Throne by Shah Mohib-ul-lah (who was released by his captor Mahmud Khalji of Malwa) and Syed Hanif. Nizam-ul-mulk murdered Khwaja-e-Jahan Turk (one of the member of the three party committee of Regency after the death of Humayun ) ) at the instance of Queen in the presence of boy king in 870 AH.

Mohammad Shah III got married at the age of 14 years. Dowager Queen retired from active role. Malik-ut-tujjar  Mahmud Gawan was made Prime Minister. The Prime Minister ship  of Mahmud Gawan saw the Bahmani State attaining high unequalled in the whole of its history. During this period Parenda Fort, Great College of Bidar and Madarsa at Bidar. Kherla was besieged in 872 AH. Kapileswar of Orissa was defeated in 1470 AD. Goa was annexed on 20th of Shaban 876 AH. Queen Dowager died in 877 AH. 

Boundaries of Bahmani Kingdom now touching the Bay of Bengal in the east  and the Arabian Sea in the west. Mahmud Gawan was one of the first ministers in Medieval India to order a systematic measurement of land, fixing the boundaries of villages and towns and making a thorough enquiry into the assessment of revenue.

King annexed Kanchi on 1st Muharram, 886 AH. This was the southern most point ever reached by Bahmani. Nobles conspired against Khwaja Mahmud Gawan and prepared a false paper on behalf of Khwaja saying he wants Deccan to be partitioned between him and Purushottum of Orissa. King sentenced Khwaja to death on 5th Safar 886 AH at the age of 73. Later King came to know that Khwaja was innocent. He appointed his son Mahmud as his heir. He died on  on 5th Safar 887 AH.   

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(Mar 26, 1482 - Dec 27, 1518 AD /  Safar 5, 887 - Zil-hij 24, 924 AH)

S/o Ahmad Shah III

Capital: Bidar

The long reign of Mahmud Shah Bahmani, was a period of gradual weakening of the state. He ascended the throne at the age of 12 years, when new-comers had been over thrown. New Regency was formed with Queen as president. Qasim Barid was entitled with Barid-ul-mumalik. 

King began to indulge in wine women and song and spent so much money that he had to extract many jewels from the Turquoise throne at the instigation of Qasim Barid. Qasim Barid forced Mahmud to make Prime Minister of the kingdom in 897 AH. Malik Ahmad Nizamul-mulk   revolted and made a beautiful palace making it the center of his newly created capital, which he named after himself, Ahmadnagar in 900 AH.  Qutbul-Mulk was appointed as the Governor of Tilangana in 901 AH /1495-96 AD who controlled over Warrangal, Rajakonda, Dewarkonda and Kovilkonda. Qasim Barid died in 910 AH and was succeeded byhis son Amir Barid. Ahmad Nizam died in 914 AH and succeeded by his son Burhan. Sultan died on 24th Zil-hij  924 AH.

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(Dec 27, 1518 - Dec 15, 1520 AD /  Zil-hij 24, 924 - Muharram 4, 927 AH)

S/o Mahmud Shah

Capital: Bidar

Amir Barid was very clever, He put Mahmud's son  Ahmad on throne. Amir Barid was careful that king should not leave the palace but he actually set about to spoil his life and morals. New Sultan was forced to breakup the the ancient crown of the Bahmanis, worth 15 lakhs of Rupees (Rs. 1,500,000). and sell the jewels in order to provide himself with the means of ease and pleasure. Sultan died on 1st Muharram 927 AH.

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(Dec 28, 1520 - Mar 5, 1523 AD /  Muharram 17, 927 - Rabi-us-sani 17, 929 AH)*5

S/o Ahmad Shah IV

Capital: Bidar

Amir Barid's wish to become king was rekindled with Ahmad's death. He put the crown on Ahmad's son Ala-ud-din on 17th of Rabi-us-sani 929 AH after 15 day's of thinking.The new Sultan was wise and courageous. Amir Barid conspired against him and Sultan was dethroned on 17th Rabi-us-sani 929 AH.

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( Mar 5, 1523 - 1526 AD /  Rabi-us-sani 17, 929 - 932 AH )*5

S/o Mahmud Shah

Capital: Bidar

Amir Barid put Waliullah son of Mahmud on throne. He was imprisoned in his own zanana (ladies room) and lived on bread and clothes provided to him by his master. Amir Barid married the pretty Bibi Sitti, Ahmad's widow   who was just 22-23 yrs. Amir Barid was now a royal kinsman and was free to enter the zanana apartment of the palace. He began to make love with the queen. When Sultan resisted he was poisoned in the begining of 932 AH.


*5 Coin of Waliullah struck in 928 AH and no coin of Alauddin Shah of 928 AH indicates that Alauddin Shah was dethroned in 928 AH and Waliullah ascended the throne in 928 AH.
Coins struck in the name of Kalimullah in 930 AH indicates that he ascended the throne in 930 AH and Wali-ullah died in 930 AH.

Ref:  -  Deccan Ke Bahmani Salatin by Haroon Khan Sherwani, 1978 (1899), page 315

       -  Saltanate Coins by Dilip Rajgore, page 178 


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(1526 - 1527 AD /  932 - 934 AH)*6

S/o Mahmud Shah

Capital: Bidar

Kalimullah son of Mahmud Shah was the last king of the Bahmani Dynasty. He was closely guarded by Amir Barid. A new political force had now appeared on the Indian Horizon in the person of Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur. All the rulers of Deccan i.e. Bijapur, Ahmadnagar, Berar, and Burhanpur sent their congratulations to the Mughal conqueror. Kalimulla also wrote letter to Babur to relieve him from Amir Barid. This news was leaked and out of fear of his life Kalimullah Shah  fled to Bijapur in 934 AH / 1527 AD. He was not welcomed there. He left for Ahmadnagar. He was first received well by Burhan Nizamul Mulk, but never again called in open court. Kalimullah soon breathed his last in Ahmadnagar. His coffin was brought to Bidar. His date date of death could not be confirmed. After the death of Kalimullah his son Ilhamullah proceeded to Mecca and never returned. 


*6 Coins struck in his name in 951 and 952 AH says that the sultan must have stayed long at      Ahmadnagar.
Coins struck in his name in 930 AH indicates that he ascended the throne in 930 AH.

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Hijra era is the Muslim era dating from AD 622 when Prophet Muhammad was obliged to quit Mecca and flee for safety to Medina. Hijra means flight. It is a Lunar era of about 354 days, and so is 11 days shorter than the solar year.

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1.   The Bahmanis of the Deccan by Haroon Khan Sherwani

2    Bahmani Coins in the Andhra Pradesh Government Museum by Md. Abdul Wali Khan, 1964

3.   Standard Catalogue of Sultanate Coins of India by Dilip Rajgor  

4.   Deccan Ke Bahmani Salatin by Haroon Khan Sherwani, 1978 (1899)

H A Siddiqui