Deccan Sultanates

By Shivank Goel|Updated : September 20th, 2022

Deccan Sultanes were the five Muslim-ruled kingdoms of the late medieval period. Between the Krishna River and the Vindhya Range, the Deccan Plateau harbored the Deccan Sultanates, the five Muslim-ruled medieval kingdoms, Ahmadnagar, Berar Bidar, Bijapur, and Golconda. The Deccan Sultanates emerged out of the collapse of the Bahmani Sultanate in the 1480s, housing both Muslims and non-Muslims. They continued to expand their territories throughout the 16th century, fostering all kinds of Islamic, local, and foreign cultures.

Out of the multiple languages spoken in the region, some popular ones were Persian, Dakhni, Urdu, Marathi, Kannada, etc. However, with the onset of the 17th century, the Mughal empire spread rapidly, conquering Ahmadnagar in 1636. At the beginning of the 1650s, the Marathas also broke away from Bijapur. The Mughals went on to capture Golkanda and Bijapur in 1686, further destabilizing the political order of the Deccan Sultanates.

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What were Deccan Sultanates?

Founded by Hasan Gangu Bahmni in 1347 A.D., the Bahmani Sultanate was a Persianized Muslim state in south India. After Gangu Bahmni, Muhammad Shah I was the ruler of the Bahmni Kingdom, and he defeated Vijaynagar, with whom they had a constant war.

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However, after Muhammad Shah III died in 1483, due to a lack of powerful successors, the kingdom disintegrated into five smaller kingdoms of the Deccan Sultanates - Ahmadnagar, Berar, Bidar, Bijapur, and Golconda. Below you will learn about these 5 Deccan sultanates, their ruler, and all the necessary details.

Five Deccan Sultanates

Deccan Sultanate is the combination of the five major kingdoms located between the Vindhya Range and Krishna river on the Deccan Plateau. These five Deccan Sultanates are explained below-

Ahmadnagar Sultanate

The Ahmadnagar Sultanate's territory was between Gujarat and Bijapur's sultanates. It had 14 Reuters, and the kingdom lasted from 1490 till 1636. The essential details of the Ahmadnagar Sultanate include the following-

  • It was founded by Malik Ahmad Nizam Shah I after defeating the Bahmani Army.
  • Malik Ahmed's son Burhan, a seven-year-old boy, took his place after his untimely death in 1510.
  • Burhan left behind six sons, of whom Hussain was his successor.
  • The capital of the Ahmadnagar Sultanate was Junnar until Malik Ahmad founded a new capital in 1494, Berar.
  • Aurangzeb conquered the Ahmadnagar Sultanate in 1636 AD.

The ruler of the Ahmadnagar Sultanate were

  • Murtaza Shah III 1633-1636
  • Hussain Shah II 1631-1633
  • Burhan Shah III 1610-1631
  • Murtaza Shah II 1600-1610
  • Bahadur Shah 1596-1600
  • Ahmad Shah II 1596
  • Ibrahim Shah 1595-1596
  • Burhan Shah II 1591-1595
  • Isma'il Shah 1589-1591
  • Miran Hussain 1588-1589
  • Murtaza Shah 1565-1588
  • Hussain Shah I 1553-1565
  • Burhan Shah I 1510-1553
  • Malik Ahmad Shah I 1490-1510

Bijapur Sultanate

Bijapur Sultanate was in southwestern India, overlapping the Western Ghats range of southern Maharashtra and northern Karnataka. The critical details of the Bijapur Sultanate are as follows-

  • The founder of the Bijapur Sultanate was Yusuf Adil Shah, and the Adil Shahi dynasty ruled the Sultanate from 1490 to 1686.
  • The Adil Shahis resisted the Vijayanagar Empire for years and defeated them in 1565 during the battle of Talikota.
  • Aurangzeb conquered the Bijapur Sultanate in 1686.

Bijapur Sultanate was ruled by nine kings from 1490 to 1686. The ruler of the Bijapur Sultanate were-

  • Sikandar Adil Shah 1672-1686
  • Ali Adil Shah II 1656-1672
  • Mohammed Adil Shah 1627-1656
  • Ibrahim Adil Shah II 1580-1627
  • Ali Adil Shah I 1558-1580
  • Ibrahim Adil Shah I 1535-1558
  • Mallu Adil Shah 1534-1535
  • Ismail Adil Shah 1510-1534
  • Yusuf Adil Shah 1490-1510

Berar Sultanate

The essential points about the Berar Sultanate are as follows-

  • Fethullah Imad-ul-Mulk founded the Berar Sultanate. He also established the capitals Achalpur, Gavilgad, and Narnala.
  • His eldest son, Ala-ud-din, succeeded him after his death in 1504.
  • Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat, helped Ala-ud-din resist the capture of Ahmadnagar.
  • The Berar Sultanate was seized by the Ahmadnagar kingdom in 1574.

The rulers of the Berar Sultanate were-

  • Tufal Khan (usurper) 1574
  • Burhan Imad Shah 1562–1574
  • Darya Imad Shah 1530–1561
  • Ala-ud-din Imad Shah 1510–1530
  • Fath-ullah Imad-ul-Mulk 1490–1510

Golconda Sultanate

The Qutb Shahi ruled the Golconda Sultanate of southern India. The Shia Muslims belonged to the Turkmenistan-Armenia region's Turkmen tribe-

  • The Qutb Shahi dynasty was the ruling family of the Golconda Sultanate.
  • The founder, Sultan Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk, migrated to Delhi from Persia along with his family.
  • The Qutb Shahi family ruled for 171 years until Aurangzeb's army defeated them in 1687.

The rulers of the Golconda Sultanate includes-

  • Abul Hasan Qutb Shah 1672-1687
  • Abdullah Qutb Shah 1626-1672
  • Sultan Muhammad Qutb Shah 1611-1626
  • Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah 1580-1611
  • Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah 1550-1580
  • Subhan Quli Qutb Shah 1550
  • Jamsheed Quli Qutb Shah 1543-1550
  • Sultan Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk 1518-1543

Bidar Sultanate

Bidar sultanate was the minor kingdom of the Deccan Sultanates. The essential features of the Bidar Sultanate are as follows-

  • While Qasim Barid was the kingdom's founder, the ruler was Mahmud Shah Bahmani.
  • After Mahmud Shah Bahmani died in 1504, his son Amir Barid took over. Amir Baird's son, Ali Barid, succeeded him.
  • The Bidar Sultanate was defeated in 1619.

The rulers of the Bidar Sultanate are as follows-

  • Amir Barid Shah III 1609–1619
  • Mirza Ali Barid Shah III 1600–1609
  • Amir Barid Shah II 1591–1600
  • Ali Barid Shah II 1591
  • Qasim Barid Shah II 1587–1591
  • Ibrahim Barid Shah 1580–1587
  • Ali Barid Shah 1542–1580
  • Amir Barid Shah I 1504–1543
  • Qasim Barid I 1492–1504

Contributions of the Deccan Sultanates

The five kingdoms of the Deccan Sultanate's significant contributions are in the fields of architecture, literature, music, and fine arts. These include-

  • Under the Bahmani Kingdom's rulers, there was a development of the Dakhani language.
  • It has constructed certain iconic monuments that speak out loud for the incredible architectural style of the period. These include monuments in Hyderabad, Bijapur, Bidar, and Gulbarga.
  • The miniature paintings of the Deccan art style in the courts of Golconda, Bijapur, and Ahmadnagar, along with the cultural monuments like Gol Gumbaz and Char Minar, have significantly contributed.

The famous forts and monuments belonging to the Deccan Sultanates are-

Forts and Monuments


Gulbarga Fort

Gulbarga, Karnataka

Char Minar

Hyderabad, Telangana

Golconda Fort

Hyderabad, Telangana

Mahmud Gawan Madrasa

Bidar, Karnataka

Bidar Fort

Bijapur, Karnataka

Bahamani tombs of Ashtar

Bijapur, Karnataka

Barid Shahi tombs

Bijapur, Karnataka

Gol Gumbaz

Bijapur, Karnataka

Ibrahim Rouza

Bijapur, Karnataka

Fall of the Deccan Sultanate

In 1596, the Mughal Empire conquered the Deccan Sultanates by defeating Berar from Ahmadnagar. Later in a period from 1616 and 1636, the Ahmadnagar sultanate was destroyed by the Mughals. During 1686-1687, Aurangzeb got a hold of Bijapur and Golconda. Later, the Mughals lost their region's control to the Marathas in 1753.

In 1687, the Mughals fought with Qutb Shah, leading to the fall of the dynasty of Golconda. Along with this, lastly, the Mughals fort gained the Bidar Fort, leading to the fall of the Bidar Sultanate.

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FAQs on Deccan Sultanates

  • The five kingdoms of the Deccan Sultanates were Bijapur, Golconda, Ahmadnagar, Bidar, and Berar. After Muhammad Shah III died in 1483, the kingdom disintegrated into five smaller kingdoms of the Deccan Sultanates due to a lack of powerful successors.

  • Bahmani Sultanate was a Persianized Muslim state in south India. It was one of the most powerful kingdoms during the medieval period. The Bahmani Kingdom got separated into five different kingdoms.

  • The first Sultanate ruler to turn to the Deccan ruler was Alauddin Khilji. He was a significant ruler who ruled between the period of 1296 to 1316. His rule was a link between the Deccan and Delhi. However, the rule was further empowered by Muhammad ibn Tughluq.

  • Akbar invaded the Ahmadnagar sultanate under the rule of Chand Bibi (regent of Bahadur Shah).

  • The Deccan sultanates were situated between the Krishna River and the Vindhya Range on the Deccan plateau.

  • The word Deccan comes from the Sanskrit word Daksina, which means south. The Deccan sultanates were situated to the south of India.

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