Bahmani Kingdom

  • The Bahmani Kingdom was established in 1347 AD by Alauddin Bahman Shah, an Afghan adventurer. According to a legend, he had risen in service of a Brahmana named Gangu, hence he was known as Hasan Gangu and as a tribute to his Brahamana patron, the dynasty established by him came to be known as Bahmani dynasty.
  • Hasan Gangu was succeeded by his son Muhammad Shah I who waged wars against the Hindu principalities of Vijayanagara and Warangal and defeated them in battles.
  • However, the most remarkable ruler of Bahmani kingdom was Firoz Shah Bahmani (1397-1422). He was a patron of art and sciences, especially religious and natural sciences. He was well versed in Persian, Arabic, Turkish, Telugu, Kannada and Marathi. He encouraged the pursuit of astronomy and built an observatory near Daulatabad.
    • He inducted Hindus in the administration on a large scale. Firoz Bahman expanded the empire by annexing Berar after defeating the Gond Raja Narsing Rai of Kherla. He won two consecutive battles against the Vijayanagara Kingdom but lost the third battle in 1420 AD after which his power waned and he was forced to vacate the throne in favour of his brother Ahmad Shah I.
  • Ahmad Shah was known as Wali (the Saint) due to his association with famous Sufi Gesu Daraz. In order to avenge the battle in which Firoz Bahaman lost as the ruler of Warangal sided with Vijayanagara, he attacked Warangal, defeated and killed the ruler and annexed most of its territories. In order to consolidate his rule over newly acquired territories, he shifted his capital from Gulbarga to Bidar.

Rulers of the Bahmani Kingdom

  • Muhammad Shah-I (1358-1375.A.D.)
    • He was the next ruler of the Bahamani Kingdom.
    • He was an able general and administrator.
    • He defeated Kapaya Nayaks of Warangal and the Vijayanagar ruler Bukka-I. 
  • Muhammad Shah-ll (1378-1397.A.D.)
    • In 1378 A.D. Muhammad Shah-ll ascended the throne.
    • He was a peace lover and developed friendly relations with his neighbours.
    • He built many mosques, madrasas (a place of learning) and hospitals. 
  • Feroz Shah Bahmani (1397-1422 A.D.)
    • He was a great general
    • He defeated the Vijayanagar ruler Deva Raya I. 
  • Ahmad Shah (1422-1436 A.D.)
    • Ahmad Shah succeeded Feroz Shah Bahmani
    • He was an unkind and heartless ruler.
    • He conquered the kingdom of Warangal.
    • He changed his capital from Gulbarga to Bidar.
    • He died in 1436A.D.
  • Muhammad Shah-lll (1463-1482 A.D.)
    • In 1463A.D. Muhammad Shah lll became the Sultan at the age of nine
    • Muhammad Gawan became the regent of the infant ruler.
    • Under Muhammad Gawan’s able leadership the Bahmani kingdom became very powerful.
    • Muhammad Gawan defeated the rulers of Konkan, Orissa, Sangameshwar, and Vijayanagar. 
Bahmani Kingdom

Mahmud Gawan (1463-1482)

  • Mahmud Gawan was the Prime Minister of Muhammad Shah III, who was crowned Sultan at the age of 9 years. Hence the entire burden of the administration fell on his Prime Minister .
    • Gawan was an Iranian trader who rose to the service of Bahmani Sultan and was given the title of Malik-ul-Tujjar.
    • He dominated the state of affairs of the Bahmani Kingdom for almost 20 years. He extended Bahmani Kingdom by annexing territories in the east by defeating the ruler of Orissa. He also invaded Vijayanagara territories up to Kanchi and also captured territories of Dabhol and Goa.
    • The control over Goa and Dabhol helped in the further expansion of the overseas trade with Iran and Iraq. In an attempt to settle northern frontier of the Bahmani Kingdom, Mahmud Gawan was involved in a series of battles against Mahmud Khalji of Malwa over Berar. Gawan was able to prevail over him due to active help from Gujarat kingdom.
    • He was an able administrator who brought many revenue reforms. He also opened several Madarsas for Islamic learning in Bidar. However, the Bahmani court consisted of a large number of nobles who were jealous of Gawan. They conspired against him and succeeded in convincing the Sultan of Gawan’s disloyalty. He was executed in 1482 AD and with his death the power of Bahmani Kingdom waned.
  • Muhammad Shah was succeeded by weak Sultans. During this period the provincial governors declared their independence.
  • By the year 1526, the Bahmani kingdom had disintegrated into five independent sultanates. They were Ahmednagar, Bijapur , Berar , Golkonda and Bidar and known as Deccan Sultanates.
    • Bijapur:
      • The state of Bijapur was founded by Yusuf Adil Shah in 1489 A.D. Ibrahim (1534-58) was the first Bijapuri ruler to replace Persian by Hindvi (Dakhini Urdu) as the official language.
      • Ibrahim II (1580-1627) was affectionately called Jagadguru by his subjects. Bijapur was annexed by Aurangzeb in 1686.
    • Ahmednagar:
      • The founder of Nizam Shahi dynasty was Ahmad Bahri in 1490.
      • This was conquered by Shahjahan in 1636 AD.
    • Golconda:
      • The Qutub Shahi dynasty was founded by Ali Qutub Shah in 1518.
      • Muhammad Quli was the founder of the city of Hyderabad.
      • Aurangzeb annexed Golcunda in 1687.
    • Berar:
      • The Imad Shahi dynasty at Berar was founded by Fatullah Imad-ul-Mulk in 1490 A.D.
      • This state had the shortest life span as it was annexed by Nizam Shahis in 1572 A.D.
    • Bidar:
      • The Barid Shahi dynasty was founded by Ali Barid in 1518.
      • Bidar was later annexed by the Adil Shahis of Bijapur.
      • Bidar fort taken by Aurangzeb in 1657.
  • These small kingdoms were engaged in wars with each other and these infights enabled the Mughals to incorporate them in Mughal Empire. However, the kingdoms of Golconda, Bijapur and Ahmednagar continued to play a prominent part in the politics of the Deccan region till they got subsumed in the Mughal Empire in the seventeenth century.
Bahmani Kingdom Disintegration

Polity and Administration

  • The Bahmani kingdom was divided into eight provinces or tarafs, each was governed by a tarafdar.
    • These provinces were Daultabad, Bidar, Berar and Gulbarga.
  • The salaries of the nobles were fixed and paid either in cash or by assigning a jagir. The nobles of the Empire were divided Deccanis (old comers) and Afaqis (new comers). This resulted in strife among the nobility.
  • In every province, a tract of land (khalisa) was set apart for the expenses of Sultan.


  • Bahamani ruler depended for military support on his amirs.
  • There were two groups in the ranks of amirs:
    • One was the Deccanis who were immigrant Muslims and had been staying for a long time in the Deccan region.
    • The other group was Afaquis or Pardesis who had recently come from Central Asia, Iran and Iraq.
  • Bahamanis were  familiar with the use of gunpowder in warfare.

Art and Architecture

  • The Bahmani rulers were patrons of art and architecture, language, literature and music. Urdu language got impetus under their patronage. Many scholars adorned the court of Bahaman Sultans.
    • Ibrahim Adil Shah the greatest ruler of Adil Shahi Dynasty, introduced Dakhini in place of Persian as court language.
  • The architecture was highly influenced by Persian architecture. Some features of this style are
    • Tall minarets
    • Strong arches
    • Huge domes
    • Spacious Hazaras
    • Crescent moon at the top of the building
  • Examples
    • Monuments at Gulbarga: Shah bazaar mosque, Hafta Gumbaz, Jama maszid etc
    • At Bidar: Mohammad Gawan’s madarasa, solah khamba mosque, Rangeen mahal, Janata mahal etc
    • At Bijapur: Gol gumbaz(built by Mohammad Adil shah in 1656AD), Ibrahim roza, Bara Kaman, Anand mahal, Chand Bawdi etc.
  • In the field of architecture, Gol Gumbaz at Bijapur is famous. Gol Gumbaz has a 53.4 metre high dome which is largest in Asia. It is the mausoleum of Muhammad Adil Shah, the seventh Sultan of the Adil Shahi Dynasty of Bijapur (1489-1686). The Golconda rulers built the Charminar at Hyderabad.
  • The Madarasa built by Mahmud Gawan at Bidar was three storeyed and could house a thousand students. Many students from Iran and Iraq also studied there.
  • Other famous monuments are Jama Masjid at Gulbarga, the fort of Golconda and the tomb of Ahmad Shah at Bidar.
    • Quli Qutub Shah built the famous Golconda Fort. Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah was the greatest ruler of Qutub Shahi dynasty and it was he who founded the city of Hyderabad originally known as Bhagyanagar after the name of the Sultan’s favourite, Bhagyamati. He also built the famous Charminar.


  • Persian, Arabic and Urdu literature flourished in this period.
  • Mohammad Gawan wrote poems in Persian language. Riyaz-ul-Insha, Manazir-ul-insha are his works.
  • A new dialect called “Dakhini urdu “ became popular during this time.
  • The famous sufi saint of Gulbarga, Khwaja Bande Nawaz Gesu Daraj wrote in this language.


  • The Bahmani kingdom provided an era of stability in the South. The Bahaman Sultans not only provided a sound system of administration but also were great patron of art and culture. Monuments built by them reflect the magnificence of architecture developed during the period.
  • However, the continuous battles with neighbouring states, especially Vijayanagara, infighting among the nobility and weak successors led to the downfall of the Bahmani kingdom.

Bahmani Kingdom
Alauddin Hasan Bahman Shah (1347-58)He was also known as Hasan Gangu. He founded the Bahmani kingdom with its capital at Gulbarga (first capital).
Tajuddin Firoz Shah (1397-1422)The greatest among them all. He was determined to make Deccan the cultural centre in India. He inducted large number of Hindus in the administration on large scale. He paid much attention to the ports of kingdom, Chaul and Dabhol which attracted trade ships from Persian Gulf and Red Sea.
Ahmad Shah Wali (1422-35)Transferred the capital from Gulbarga to Bidar.
Break up of Bahmani Empire into 5 Kingdoms
BerarFataullah Imad ShahImad Shahi
BijapurYusuf Adil ShahAdil Shahi
AhmednagarMalik AhmadNizam Shahi
GolcondaQuli Qutub ShahQutub Shahi
BidarAmir Ali BaridBarid Shahi
Extent of Vijayanagara Empire

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