The Southern Country
Location of Deccan in South Asia
Location of Deccan in South Asia
States Maharashtra
Largest CityHyderabad
 • Ethnic groupsTelugus, Marathis, Kannadigas, Deccanis, Hyderabadis, Lambadis, Gonds
 • LanguagesTelugu, Marathi, Kannada, Deccani Urdu

Deccan, or the Deccan, is a historical and socio-political[1] region of the Indian Subcontinent.[2] Roughly corresponding to the geographic boundaries of the Deccan Plateau, it is often used to refer to lands and cultures north of Tamilakam, and south of the Vindhyas. Various polities including the Bahmanis, Deccan Sultanates, and Hyderabad Deccan have used this term to refer to their country.

Historians have defined the term Deccan differently. These definitions range from a narrow one by R. G. Bhandarkar (1920), who defines Deccan as the Marathi speaking area lying between the Godavari and Krishna rivers, to a broad one by K. M. Panikkar (1969), who defines it as the entire Indian peninsula to the south of the Vindhyas.[3] Firishta (16th century) defined Deccan as the territory inhabited by the native speakers of Kannada, Marathi, and Telugu languages. Richard M. Eaton (2005) settles on this linguistic definition for a discussion of the region's geopolitical history.[4]

Stewart N. Gordon (1998) notes that historically, the term "Deccan" and the northern border of Deccan has varied from Tapti River in the north to Godavari River in the south, depending on the southern boundary of the northern empires. Therefore, while discussing the history of the Marathas, Gordon uses Deccan as a "relational term", defining it as "the area beyond the southern border of a northern-based kingdom" of India.[5]


Deccan plateau, Hyderabad, India

The word Deccan is an anglicized version of the word dakkhaṇa, found in many languages of the Deccan [6][7] It has etymological roots in the Sanskrit dakṣiṇa and the later Prakrit dakkhin (दक्षिण), which mean the "south".[8]

Native Polities


  1. ^ "What the Hyderabad-Deccan region teaches us about belonging". The News Minute. 17 September 2021.
  2. ^ Overton, Keelan (2020-06-02). Iran and the Deccan: Persianate Art, Culture, and Talent in Circulation, 1400–1700. Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-04894-3.
  3. ^ S. M. Alam 2011, p. 312.
  4. ^ Richard M. Eaton 2005, p. 2.
  5. ^ Stewart Gordon (1993). The Marathas 1600-1818. The New Cambridge History of India. Cambridge University Press. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-521-26883-7.
  6. ^ Henry Yule, A. C. Burnell (13 June 2013). Hobson-Jobson: The Definitive Glossary of British India. Oxford. ISBN 9780191645839.
  7. ^ Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary, p. 498 (scanned image at SriPedia Initiative): Sanskrit dakṣiṇa meaning 'southern'.
  8. ^ Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica (2014), Deccan plateau India, Encyclopaedia Britannica