Bahmani Sultanate
سلطان‌نشین بهمنی
بہمنی سلطنت
बहामनी सल्तनत
ಬಹಮನಿ ಸುಲ್ತಾನರು
బహమనీ సామ్రాజ్యం
Coinage of Bahmani ruler Ala al-Din Ahmad Shah II (1435-1457) of Bahmani Sultanate
Coinage of Bahmani ruler Ala al-Din Ahmad Shah II (1435-1457)
Bahmani Sultanate, 1470 CE.[1]
Bahmani Sultanate, 1470 CE.[1]
Common languages
Sunni Islam[3][4][5][6]
• 1347–1358
Ala-ud-Din Bahman Shah
• 1525–1527
Kalim-Allah Shah
Historical eraLate Medieval
• Established
3 August 1347
• Disestablished
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Delhi Sultanate
Musunuri Nayaks
Vijayanagara Empire
Bijapur Sultanate
Golconda Sultanate
Ahmadnagar Sultanate
Bidar Sultanate
Berar Sultanate
Mughal Empire
Today part ofIndia

The Bahmani Sultanate (Persian: سلطان‌نشین بهمنی; Urdu: بہمنی سلطنت; Marathi: बहामनी सल्तनत; Kannada: ಬಹಮನಿ ಸುಲ್ತಾನರು; Telugu: బహమనీ సామ్రాజ్యం; also called the Bahmanid Empire or Bahmani Kingdom) was a Persianate[8][2] Sunni Muslim empire of the Deccan in South India.[9] It was the first independent Muslim kingdom of the Deccan,[10] and was known for its perpetual wars with its Hindu rivals of Vijayanagara, which would outlast the Sultanate.[11]

The sultanate was founded in 1347 by Ala-ud-Din Bahman Shah. The Kingdom later split into five successor states that were collectively known as the Deccan sultanates, that would eventually sack the Vijayanagar capital after the Battle of Talikota.


Further information: History of the Bahmani Sultanate

Mahmud Gawan Madrasa was built by Mahmud Gawan, the Wazir of the Bahmani Sultanate as the centre of religious as well as secular education.[12]
Mahmud Gawan Madrasa was built by Mahmud Gawan, the Wazir of the Bahmani Sultanate as the centre of religious as well as secular education.[12]

According to an unverified founding myth, Zafar Khan the founder had earlier been a servant or slave of a Brahmin ruler named Gangu (hence the name Hasan Gangu)[13][14][15] Before the establishment of his kingdom, he was Governor of Deccan and a commander on behalf of Tughlaq's. On 3 August 1347 Nazir Uddin Ismail Shah who had revolted against the Delhi Sultanate stepped down on that day in favour of Bahman Shah, a native of Delhi.[16] His revolt was successful, and he established an independent state on the Deccan within the Delhi Sultanate's southern provinces with its headquarters at Hasanabad (Gulbarga) and all his coins were minted at Hasanabad.[17][18] With the support of the influential Chishti Sufi sheikhs, he crowned himself "Alauddin Bahman Shah Sultan – Founder of the Bahmani Dynasty".[19]

Alauddin was succeeded by his son Mohammed Shah I.[20]

Ghiyasuddin succeeded his father Muhammad II, but was blinded and imprisoned by a Turkish nobleman called Taghalchin.[21] He was succeeded by Shamsuddin, who was a puppet king under Taghalchin. Firuz and Ahmed, the sons of the fourth sultan Daud, marched to Gulbarga to avenge Ghiyasuddin. Firuz declared himself the sultan, and defeated Taghalchin's forces. Taghalchin was killed and Shamsuddin was blinded.[22]

Taj ud-Din Firuz Shah became the sultan in 1397.[23] Firuz Shah fought against the Vijayanagara Empire on many occasions and the rivalry between the two dynasties continued unabated throughout his reign, with victories in 1398 and 1406, but a defeat in 1419. One of his victories resulted in his marriage to Deva Raya's daughter. He was succeeded by his younger brother Ahmad Shah I Wali.

Bidar was made capital of the sultanate in 1429.[24]

The eldest sons of Humayun Shah, Nizam-Ud-Din Ahmad III and Muhammad Shah III Lashkari ascended the throne successively, while they were young boys. The vizier Mahmud Gawan ruled as regent during this period, until Muhammad Shah reached age. Mahmud Gawan is known for setting up the Mahmud Gawan Madrasa, a center of religious as well as secular education.[12] Gawan was considered a great statesman, and a poet of repute. Mahmud Gawan was caught in a struggle between the ruling indigenous Muslim elite of the Bahmanids, called the Deccanis, and the foreign newcomers from the west such as Gawan.[25] He was executed by Muhammad Shah III, an act that the latter regretted until he died in 1482.[26]

Later rulers and decline

Muhammad Shah II was succeeded by his son Mahmood Shah Bahmani II, the last Bahmani ruler to have real power.[27]

The last Bahmani Sultans were puppet monarchs under their Barid Shahi Prime Ministers, who were de facto rulers. After 1518 the sultanate broke up into five states: Nizamshahi of Ahmednagar, Qutb Shahi of Golconda (Hyderabad), Barid Shahi of Bidar, Imad Shahi of Berar, Adil Shahi of Bijapur. They are collectively known as the "Deccan Sultanates".[28]

The south Indian Emperor Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagara Empire defeated the last remnant of Bahmani Sultanate power after which the Bahmani Sultanate collapsed.[29]


Modern scholars like Sherwani, Eaton have based their accounts of the Bahmani dynasty mainly upon the medieval chronicles of Firishta, and Syed Ali Tabatabai. Other contemporary works were Sivatatva Chintamani and Guru Charitra. Athanasius Nikitin traveled this kingdom. He contrasts the huge "wealth of the nobility with the wretchedness of the peasantry and the frugality of the Hindus".[30]


Rulers of the dynasty believed that they descended from Bahman, the mythological figure of Greater Iranian legend and lore.[31] The Bahamani Sultans were patrons of the Persian language, culture and literature, and some members of the dynasty became well-versed in that language and composed its literature in that language.[10]

Bahmani Tombs in Bidar district
Bahmani Tombs in Bidar district

The first sultan, Alauddin Bahman Shah is noted to have captured 1,000 singing and dancing girls from Hindu temples after he battled the northern Carnatic chieftains. The later Bahmanis also enslaved civilian women and children in wars; many of them were converted to Islam in captivity.[32][33] The craftspersons of Bidar were so famed for their inlay work on copper and silver that it came to be known as Bidri.[34]


Haft Gumbaz

The Persianate Indo-Islamic style of architecture developed during this period was later adopted by the Deccan Sultanates as well.

The Gulbarga Fort, Haft Gumbaz, and Jama Masjid in Gulbarga, Bidar Fort and Madrasa Mahmud Gawan[12] in Bidar, are the major architectural contributions.

The later rulers are buried in an elaborate tomb complex, known as the Bahmani Tombs.[35] The exterior of one of the tombs is decorated with coloured tiles. Arabic, Persian and Urdu inscriptions are inscribed inside the tombs.[36][35]

The Bahmani rulers made some beautiful tombs and mosques in Bidar and Gulbarga. They also built many forts at Daulatabad[disambiguation needed], Golconda and Raichur. The architecture was highly influenced by Persian architecture. They invited architects from Persia, Turkey and Arabia. Some of the magnificent structures built by the Bahmanis were the Jami Masjid at Gulbarga, Chandand Minar and the Mahmud Gawan Madrasa at Bidar.

List of Bahmani Shahs

Titular Name Personal Name Reign
Independence from Sultan of Delhi, Muhammad bin Tughlaq.
Ala-ud-Din Bahman Shah
علاء الدین حسن بہمن شاہ
Ala-ud-Din Bahman Shah I
حسن گنگو
3 August 1347 – 11 February 1358
Mohammad Shah I
محمد شاہ بہمنی
11 February 1358 – 21 April 1375
Ala-ud-Din Mujahid Shah
علاء الدین مجاہد شاہ
Mujahid Shah 21 April 1375 – 16 April 1378
Dawood Shah
داود شاہ بہمنی
16 April 1378 – 22 May 1378
Mohammad Shah II
محمود شاہ بہمنی
21 May 1378 – 20 April 1397
Ghiyath-ad-din Shah
عیاث الدین شاہ بہمنی
20 April 1397 – 14 June 1397
Shams-ad-din Shah
شمس الدین شاہ بہمنی
Puppet King Under Lachin Khan Turk
14 June 1397 – 15 November 1397
Taj-ud-Din Feroze Shah
تاج الدین فیروز شاہ
Feroze Shah
فیروز خان
24 November 1397 – 1 October 1422
Ahmed Shah Wali Bahmani
احمد شاہ ولی بہمنی
1 October 1422 – 17 April 1436
Ala-ud-Din Ahmed Shah
علاء الدین احمد شاہ
Ala-ud-Din Ahmed Shah Bahmani
علاء الدین احمد شاہ بہمنی
17 April 1436 – 6 May 1458
Ala-ud-Din Humayun Shah
علاء الدین ھمایوں شاہ
Humayun Shah Zalim Bahmani
ھمایوں شاہ ظالم بہمنی
7 May 1458 – 4 September 1461
Nizam Shah Bahmani
نظام شاہ بہمنی
4 September 1461 – 30 July 1463
Muhammad Shah Lashkari
محمد شاہ لشکری
Muhammad Shah Bahmani III
محمد شاہ بہمنی دوئم
30 July 1463 – 26 March 1482
Vira Shah
ویرا شاہ
Mahmood Shah Bahmani II
محمود شاہ بہمنی دوئم
26 March 1482 – 27 December 1518
Ahmed Shah Bahmani II
احمد شاہ بہمنی دوئم
Puppet King Under Amir Barid I
27 December 1518 – 15 December 1520
Ala-ud-Din Shah
علاء الدین شاہ
Ala-ud-Din Shah Bahmani II
علاء الدین شاہ بہمنی دوئم
Puppet King Under Amir Barid I
28 December 1520 – 5 March 1523
Waliullah Shah Bahmani
ولی اللہ شاہ بہمنی
Puppet King Under Amir Barid I
5 March 1522 – 1526
Kaleemullah Shah Bahmani
کلیم اللہ شاہ بہمنی
Puppet King Under Amir Barid I
Dissolution of the Sultanate into 5 Kingdoms namely; Bidar Sultanate; Ahmednagar Sultanate; Bijapur Sultanate; Golconda Sultanate and Berar Sultanate.
Great Mosque in Gulbarga Fort
Great Mosque in Gulbarga Fort

See also


  1. ^ Schwartzberg, Joseph E. (1978). A Historical atlas of South Asia. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 147, map XIV.3 (k). ISBN 0226742210.
  2. ^ a b Ansari 1988, pp. 494–499.
  3. ^ Leonard, Karen. "Hindu temples in Hyderabad: state patronage and politics in South Asia." South Asian History and Culture 2, no. 3 (2011): 352-373. "Hyderabad's cultural history stems from the Bahmani sultanate from the mid-fourteenth century and several of that sultanate's five successors..."
  4. ^ Leonard, Karen. "Reassessing indirect rule in hyderabad: Rule, ruler, or sons-in-law of the state?." Modern Asian Studies 37, no. 2 (2003): 363-379. "he Hindu Kakatiya rulers were followed by Irani Bahmani rulers in the fourteenth century..."
  5. ^ Farooqui Salma Ahmed (2011). A Comprehensive History of Medieval India: From Twelfth to the Mid-Eighteenth Century. Dorling Kindersley Pvt. Ltd. ISBN 9788131732021.
  6. ^ Rā Kulakarṇī, A.; Nayeem, M. A.; De Souza, Teotonio R. (1996). Medieval Deccan History: Mediaeval Deccan History: Commemoration Volume in Honour of Purshottam Mahadeo Joshi. p. 40. ISBN 9788171545797.
  7. ^ Schwartzberg, Joseph E. (1978). A Historical atlas of South Asia. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 39, 147. ISBN 0226742210.
  8. ^ Meri 2005, p. 108.
  9. ^ "The Five Kingdoms of the Bahmani Sultanate". Archived from the original on 23 February 2007. Retrieved 5 January 2007.
  10. ^ a b Ansari, N.H. "Bahmanid Dynasty" Archived 19 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine Encyclopaedia Iranica
  11. ^ George C. Kohn (2006). Dictionary of Wars. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 9781438129167.
  12. ^ a b c Yazdani, 1947, pp. 91–98.
  13. ^ Bhattacharya, Sachchidananada. A Dictionary of Indian History (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1972) p. 100
  14. ^ Cathal J. Nolan (2006). The Age of Wars of Religion, 1000-1650: An Encyclopedia of Global ..., Volym 1. pp. 437.
  15. ^ The Discovery of India, J.L.Nehru
  16. ^ Ibrahim Khan (1960). Anecdotes from Islam. M. Ashraf.
  17. ^ Mahajan, V.D. (1991). History of Medieval India, Part I, New Delhi:S. Chand, ISBN 81-219-0364-5, pp.279–80
  18. ^ Sen, Sailendra (2013). A Textbook of Medieval Indian History. Primus Books. pp. 106–108, 117. ISBN 978-9-38060-734-4.
  19. ^ Burjor Avari. Islamic Civilization in South Asia: A History of Muslim Power and Presence in the Indian Subcontinent. Routledge. p. 88.
  20. ^ Prasad 1933, p. 417.
  21. ^ Sherwani 1946, p. 129.
  22. ^ Sherwani 1946, p. 132.
  23. ^ Prasad 1933, p. 423.
  24. ^ Yazdani, 1947, pp. 23.
  25. ^ Burjor Avari. Islamic Civilization in South Asia: A History of Muslim Power and Presence in the Indian Subcontinent. Routledge. p. 89.
  26. ^ Yazdani, 1947, pp. 10.
  27. ^ Yazdani, 1947, pp. 10–11.
  28. ^ Haig, 1925, pp. 425–426.
  29. ^ Eaton, Richard M. A Social History of the Deccan, 1300–1761: Eight Indian Lives. p. 88.
  30. ^ P. M. Kemp (1958). Bharat-Rus: An Introduction to Indo-Russian Contracts and Travels from Mediaeval Times to the October Revolution. ISCUS. p. 20.
  31. ^[bare URL PDF]
  32. ^ Haig, 1925, pp. 391, 397–398.
  33. ^ Sewell, Robert. A Forgotten Empire (Vijayanagar) pp.57-58.
  34. ^ "Proving their mettle in metal craft". The Times of India. 2 January 2012. Archived from the original on 8 May 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  35. ^ a b Yazdani, 1947, pp. 114–142.
  36. ^[bare URL PDF]