Khilji Dynasty – Founder, Rulers, Alauddin Khilji

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Khilji Dynasty, also known as Khalji Dynasty, was a line of Turko-Afghan monarchs who ruled the Delhi Sultanate between 1290 and 1320. It was the second dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate. The Khilji Dynasty succeeded the Mamluk Dynasty or the Slave Dynasty in Delhi. The coming of the Khalji Dynasty is seen as a revolution as their entry decreased the effect of Turk officials in the administration.

Jalal-ud-din Firoz Khilji was the first sultan of the Khilji Dynasty after the defeat of the last Slave king, Qaiqabad. Persian was the court language of the Khiljis, the other languages used were Arabic and Turkish, along with a few dialects from north India. As a result of the co-existence of many languages during the Khilji dynasty, there was the birth of an early form of a new language, Urdu. In this article, read about the Khilji Dynasty rulers, their rise, policies undertaken, and the end of the dynasty in detail.

Khilji Dynasty Timeline (1290 CE – 1320 CE)

Jalal-ud-din Firuz Khalji started the Khilji Dynasty. The second group of rulers who governed the Delhi Sultanate belonged to the Khilji Dynasty.

Jalal-ud-din Khilji murdered the last ruler of the Mamluk dynasty and declared himself Delhi’s ruler in 1290 AD. The dynasty’s rule is remembered for expansion into southern India and for effectively repulsing Mongol invasions in India.

Khilji Dynasty Rulers

Jalal-ud-din was the first ruler, and Qutb-ud-Din was the Khilji dynasty’s last ruler in India. The dynasty ended in the year 1320 A.D. The Khilji Dynasty rulers and the years they governed are mentioned below.

Formal Name Personal Name Reign
Jalal-ud-din Malik Firoz 1290–1296
Alauddin Khilji Ali Gurshasp 1296–1316
Shihab-ud-din Umar Khan 1316
Qutb-ud-din Mubarak Shah 1316–1320
The Khalji dynasty ended in 1320 when Khusro Khan murdered Qutb-ud-din.

Jalal-ud-din Firoz Khilji (1290-1296 A.D.) – Khilji Dynasty Founder

The founder of the Khilji Dynasty was Jalal-ud-din Firoz Khilji. He is remembered as a benevolent ruler. Thus he was also known as a ‘Saint ruler’.

Domestic Policies of Jalal-ud-din Firoz Khilji

He stopped the rebellion of Malik Chhajju at Kara. He nominated Alauddin Khilji as the Kara Governor.

  • Alauddin was Firoz Khilji’s nephew and also son-in-law.
  • Jalal-ud-din attacked and conquered Mongols, who arrived till Sunam.

End of Jalaluddin

He was betrayed and killed by his son-in-law, Alauddin Khilji.

Alauddin Khilji (1296-1316 A.D.) Empire and History

Alauddin Khilji succeeded Jalal-ud-din Khilji in 1296 A.D. and mounted the royal seat. He successfully repulsed Mongol attacks more than 12 times.

  • Nusrat Khan and Ulugh Khan, the generals of Alauddin Khilji, defeated Gujarat.
  • He attempted to lay siege to the Ranthambore Fort which was unsuccessful. The fort was well fortified and was believed to be the most powerful fort of the time. Hamir Dev was the ruler of Ranthambore during this time. In 1301, Hamir Dev was killed after a long seige.

Other regions captured by Alauddin Khilji during his rule were:

  • Dhar
  • Marwar
  • Ujjain
  • Chanderi
  • Jalor
  • Chittor
  • Mandu
  • Malwa

South Invasions by Alauddin Khilji

The first ruler or Sultan who invaded Southern India was Alauddin Khilji. To fight against the kings of the south, he sent his companion and General Malik Kafur.

  • The defeated rulers were the Yadava king of Devagiri, Ramachandra Deva, Prataprudra-II of Warangal, and the Hoysala king, Vira Ballala-III.
  • The kingdoms of the south acknowledged his power and paid financial tributes to Alauddin Khilji.

Market Reforms of Alauddin Khilji

  • Several officers, known as Diwan-i-Riyasat, were designated to formalize the office market (Shahana-i-mandi).
  • The merchants were mandated to register themselves in the Shahana-i-mandi (office) before selling goods at a set price.
  • He built the Palace of a thousand pillars called Alai Darwaza and the Fort of Siri.

Domestic Policies of Alauddin Khilji

Alauddin Khilji followed the Divine Right Theory of Kingship rule. Around 4 ordinances of Alauddin Khilji were initiated to stop persistent rebellions. The following domestic policies of Alauddin Khilji were introduced.

  • The collection of revenue was always performed in cash and no other method.
  • He rigorously banned the black trade.
  • He set a particular cost for essential commodities less than the usual market rates.
  • He prohibited wine, drinks, and social parties.
  • He reorganized the approach of spies.
  • He created the horses branding method and illustrative registration of individual warriors to inhibit crime.
  • Alauddin Khilji had a permanent standing military.
  • He increased agriculture taxation to 50%, which had to be paid in the form of rural produce or cash and grain, without any option of instalments.
  • Alauddin Khilji charged four distinct kinds of taxes on non-Muslims: Jizya (poll tax), Kari (house tax), Chari (field duty), and Kharaj (land tax).

Architecture under Alauddin Khilji Rule

Alauddin Khilji firmly supported architecture and education although he himself was uneducated.

  • Alauddin Khilji built a Qutabi mosque in Rameswaram and the entire city of Siri.
  • At the dargah of Nizam-ud-din Auliya, he constructed Jamiat Khana Mosque.
  • He made many historical buildings and architectural monuments, namely: Alai Darwaja, Alai Minar- incomplete (double size as that of Qutub Minar), Gateway/Entrance to Qutub Minar, and Hauz Khas Lake.

Khilji Dynasty Map

The map below depicts the extent of the Khilji Dynasty during their reign from 1290 A.D. to 1320 A.D.

Khilji Dynasty

End of Khilji Dynasty (1320 A.D.)

The decline of the Khilji dynasty was marked by the death of Alauddin Khilji in 1316 A.D. The successors of Alauddin Khilji were less capable than him.

  • Qutb-ud-din Mubarak Shah (1316-1320 A.D.)
  • Nasir-ud-din Khusrav Shah (1320 A.D.).

Ghazi Malik (Punjab Governor) overpowered Delhi and grabbed the throne in 1320 A.D.

  • After Malik Kafur died in 1316, the last sultan or ruler of the Khalji dynasty was Mubarak Shah.
  • He was the elder son of Alauddin, and during his rule, he caused market inflation by pulling out all the reforms performed by his father.
  • Mubarak Shah was murdered by his slave/minister Khusrau Khan in 1320 marking the last of the Khiljis on the Delhi throne.
  • Khusrau Khan was defeated after he lost the Battle of Lahrawat and the Battle of Saraswati.
  • The events led to the beginning of the Tughluq Dynasty by Ghazi Malik, who earned the name ‘Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq’ in Delhi.

Khilji Dynasty UPSC Notes

Khilji Dynasty is an important topic for aspirants to learn for the IAS Exam. This section is a crucial part of the UPSC syllabus and comes under the section of Medieval History of India. Candidates can write down brief notes and mark the relevant points, including dates, and events, which they can utilize during revision before the examination.

Students can review the previous year’s question papers after reading and comprehensively learning the whole topic. Candidates can also view the History Books for UPSC to get an idea about the most recommended textbooks by specialists and lecturers.

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