The Delhi Sultanate History


  • The Arabs were the first Muslims to cast their covetous eyes on India and attack it.
  • Incensed by certain pirates of Debal, AI-Hajjaj, the governor of Iraq sends Mohd. Bin Qasim to punish the Dhair, ruler of Sind, in 712 A.D.
  • Subuktgin, the Ghaznavid ruler attacked Jaypala, the Shahiya ruler of Sind.
  • After Subuktgin Mohmud Ghazni became the king in 1001 A.D. He defeated Jayapala.
  • Anandapala succeeded Jaypala but in 1008 A.D. he was defeated by Mahmud in the famous Battle of Waihind.
  • In 1014 Mahmud took Thaneshwar and burnt the temple of Mathura. In 1018 he sacked Kannauj.
  • In 1022-23 he received submission of Gwalior and Kalinjar.
  • In 1025 he destroyed the Somnath Temple in Kathiawar.
  • Between 1000 and 1026 A.D. he made 17 incursions into India.
  • Alberuni was in the court of Mahmud Ghazni and he wrote the famous treatise 'Kitab-ul-hind'. Firdausi, the author of Shahnama and Utbi also adorned his court.
  • Bhima-I, the Chalukyan ruler of Gujarat repaired the Somnath Temple after it was destroyed by Mahmud. His general Vimal built the Vimal Vasahi temple at Mount Abu.
  • Mohd. Ghori was defeated by Prithviraj Chauhan in 1191 A.D. in the first Battle of Tarain. In 1192 A.D., in the second Battle of Tarain, Mohd. Ghori defeated and killed Prithviraj Chauhan.
  • Qutub-ud-din Aibak, the slave of Mohd. Ghori captured Aligarh and Ran-thambhor in 1195 AD.
  • He defeated the Chandela ruler Parmadideva and captured Bundelkhand, Kalinar, Mahoba and Khajuraho.
  • His general Bakhityar Khalji attacked Bihar and destroyed the Universities of Nalanda and Vikramshila.


Slave Dynasty (1206-1290)

Qutub-ud-din Aibek

  • This dynasty is also called the Yamini or Ilbari Turk dynasty.
  • After the death of Mohd. Ghori, there ensued a struggle for supremacy between Tajuddin Yaldoz, Nasiruddin Qabacha and Qutub-ud-din Aibak.
  • Qutub-ud-din was crowned unofficially on 25th June 1206.
  • His capital was at Lahore. He was known as 'Lakh baksh' for his magnanimity.
  • Hasan Nizami the famous historian adorned his court.
  • He built the `Quwat-ul-Islam' mosque; and the `Arhai-din-ka Jhonpra'; first city of Delhi.
  • He started the construction of Qutub Minar and constructed its first storey but he died in 1210 while playing chaugan.
  • Later it was completed by Iltutmish. The structure was built in memory of the Sufi saint Khwaja Qutub-ud-din Bakhtiyar Kaki.
  • After the death of Qutub-ud-din his inexperienced and incapable son Aram Shah ascended the throne but he was deposed and Iltutmish was crowned the new sultan.

Shamsuddin Iltutmish

  • He was the real founder of Turkish rule in India.
  • He refused to grant asylum to Jalaluddin Mankbarni who entered India after being chased by Changiz Khan and hence saved the infant Turkish Kingdom from the wrath of Changiz Khan and fury of Mongol hordes.
  • In 1233, he attacked Malwa and captured Bhilsa. He also conquered Gwalior and Jalore.
  • He issued a purely Arabic coinage in silver and introduced 'jital' & `tankas'.
  • He organised the `turkan-i-chahalganr.
  • Minhas-us-siraj, his contemporary historian has praised him.
  • Iltutmish declared Razia to be his successor but the Amir's disproving wishes put Rukunddin Firoz Shah on the throne.
  • He was later executed and Razia became the sultan.

Razia Begum

  • Razia appointed an Abyssinian slave Jalaluddin Yakut as the Amir-i- Akhur (Master of Royal Stables).
  • The Turkish Amirs were jealous of his appointment. Altuniya, the governor of Sirhind revolted. To settle scores with the rebels, Razia went to the capital but Yakut was murdered and she was imprisoned.
  • She won over Altuniya and married both of them and made the last bid to recover Delhi but was killed by Bahram near Kaithal.
  • The successor of Razia (1236-40) was Muizuddin Bahram Shah (1240-42) and Alauddin Masud Shah (1242-46).

Nasiruddin Mahmud (1246-65)

  • In 1246, Nasiruddin Mahmud ascended the throne but the real power was in the hands of Balban.
  • Balban or Ulugh Khan (1246-86) was a member of the Chahlgani or 'the forty' founded by Iltutmish.
  • In 1250, the Turkish nobles through a conspiracy ousted him from the post of Naib and put an Indian Muslim Imaduddin Raihan in his place.

Ghiyas-ud-din Balban (1265-86)

  • Balban succeeded in gaining control after the death of Nasiruddin Mahmud in 1265.
  • To control the onslaught of the Mongol hordes, he founded the Diwan-i-arz or the military department.
  • He introduced the Iranian system of Sajda and Paibos.
  • He traced his ancestry from Afrasiyab.
  • He followed a policy of 'blood and iron' to suppress the revolts. He destroyed the Mewati Rajput brigandage. 
  • He called himself the 'zil-i-illahi' or the shadow of God on earth and `Nasiramir-ul-momin' or caliphs right hand man.
  • He conferred upon his son Prince Mahmud the title 'Khan-i-Shahid' for repulsing a Mongol attack and laying down his life in the process.
  • He appointed his other son Bughra Khan as the new Governor of Bengal.
  • He introduced the Persian Nauroz ceremony in the court.
  • After Balban's death in 1286, Kayqubad (1287-90) and Kayumars became sultans for a brief period.

Khalji Dynasty (1290-1320)

Jalaluddin Khalji (1290-96)

  • Jalaluddin founded the Khalji dynasty.
  • He successfully repelled the attack of Mongols under Abdullah. Mongols settled near Delhi and were called 'New Musalmans'.
  • Sidi Maula a darvesh was trampled by an elephant on the Sultan's orders.
  • He was assassinated by his nephew and son in law Ali Gurshasp (Alauddin Khalji) near Kara.

Alauddin Khalji (1296-1316)

  • During Jalaluddin's reign Alauddin had captured Bhilsa, Devgiri and Chanderi.
  • The Mongol incursions were repulsed by Zafar Khan during the reign of Alauddin Khalji.
  • Alauddin captured Gujarat in 1297 A.D. which was ruled by Rai Karan, sacked Anhilwara and Somnath and married Kamla Devi, the queen of Rai Karan.
  • He also captured Malik Ka fur and took him to the royal court.
  • In 1300, he captured Ranthambhor which was under Hamirdeva.
  • In 1303, Chittor under Ratan Singh was captured because of his infatuation for Padmini, the queen of Ratan Singh.
  • Khizr Khan was made the Governor of Chittor which was renamed Khizrabad.
  • In the Deccan, Malik Kafur attacked Devagiri (1306-07), Hoysala (1310-Veer Ballala) and Pandyas (1311-Veerpandya). Devagiri was sacked second time in 1313 when in encounter its ruler Sankardeva was killed.
  • In 1311, Malik Kafur was given the title of Malik Naib.
  • Allauddin adopted the title of `Sikandar-i-Azam'
  • Amir Khusrau was given the title `Tuti-i-Hind' or Parrot of India.
  • Alauddin centralized his administration.
  • Barids (news reporters) and Munhiyan (Spies) were appointed to strengthen the spy system.
  • Social gathering of nobles, their matrimonial alliance, wine and gambling was prohibited.
  • In the military field he introduced the Dagh and Chehra System.
  • Ariz-i-mammalik was made the head of Diwan-i-Arz.
  • He also introduced market reforms. Prices of goods were fixed.
  • The Diwan-i-Riyasat had three markets viz.
    i. Shana-i-mandi (grain market)
    ii. Sarai-i-adi (cloth and groceries market)
    iii. Market for cattle, horses and slaves.
  • Alauddin Khalji's constructional development includes the Alai Minar,Alal Darwaza, City of Sin, Mahal Hazaar Satoon and Jamait Khana Mosque.
  • He was the first Sultan of Delhi to fix the land revenue in cash.  

Mubarak Khalji (1316-1320)

  • After Alauddin's death his son Mubarak Khalji ascended the throne.
  • He was the first Sultan who declared himself the Khalifa and took the title `Al wasiq Billah'.
  • He was killed and succeeded by Nasiruddin Khusrau Shah who became the only Hindu convert to sit on the throne of Delhi.

Tughlaq Dynasty (1320-1414)

Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq (1320-25)

  • After murdering Khusrau Shah, Ghazi Malik or Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq ascended the throne in 1320 & ruled for 5 years.
  • He sent his son Jauna Khan (Mohd. Bin Tughlaq) to Warangal.
  • Jauna Khan led a successful expedition of Jajnagar (Orissa).
  • Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq was the first Sultan to start irrigation works.
  • He built a strong fort called Tughlaqabad near Delhi.
  • After his death due to a collapse of a wooden structure, Mohd. Bin Tughlaq ascended the throne (1524-51).

Muhammed Bin Tughlaq (1325-1351)

  • Muhammed Bin Tughlaq (1324-5 I) has been dubbed as an ill started idealist.
  • Ziauddin Barni mentions his five experiments or campaigns.
  • He transferred his capital from Delhi to Devgiri (Daultabad).
  • In 1330 he became the first Sultan to introduce token currency (Bronze coin).
  • After repulsing an attack on Mongol he planned to occupy Khurasan and Iraq.
  • His Qarachill expedition was launched in the Kumaon hills to counter Chinese incursions. His army suffered heavy setbacks.
  • He instituted agricultural reforms. He fixed the land revenue at half the produce.
  • He setup a separate department called `Diwan-i-amir-kohi'.
  • He encouraged the farmers to grow superior crops and gave sondhar loans to them.

Firoz Shah Tughlaq (1351-1388)

  • Mohammad bin Tughlaq was succeeded by Firoz Shah Tughlaq (1351-88).
  • He led two unsuccessful campaigns in Bengal.
  • He led a campaign against Jajnagar and desecrated the Jwalamukhi Temple during his Nagarkot campaign. 
  • Earlier he had destroyed the Jagannath Puri Temple.
  • 1300 manuscripts from the Jwalamukhi Temple were translated from San-skrit to Persian by Arizuddin Khan under the title `Dalail-i-Firoz Shahi'.
  • He refused to exempt the Brahmins from Jaziya.
  • He banned inhuman punishments. He prohibited Muslim women from going to worship in the grave of saints. 
  • He organised the `Diwan-i-Bandagan' (department of slaves).
  • He built cities like Hissar, Firoza, Firozabad and Jaunpur.
  • Asokan Pillars from Topara and Meerut were brought to Delhi.
  • He built a number of canals (i) Sirsa to Hansi; (ii) Sutlej to Dipalpur; (iii) Yamuna to Sirmur.
  • During his reign Kharaj (10% of produce); zakat (alms for Muslims); jaziya; khams (20% of spoils of war); and sharb (irrigation tax) were levied.
  • He built the `Diwan-i-Khairat' and built the 'Dar-ul-shafa' or a charitable hospital.
  • His wazir was Khan-i-jahan II as he had made the post hereditary.
  • He repaired the Qutub Minar which had been struck by lightning.
  • The chief architect of Firoz was Ghazi Shahna.
  • He wrote Fautuhat-i-Firoz Shahi.

Later Tughlaqs

  • After Firoz Shah Tughlaq, Muhammad Khan, and Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq Shah II, Abu Baqr, Nasiruddin Muhammad, Humayun and finally Nasirud-din Mahmud ascended the throne.
  • Nasiruddin Mahmud gave Malik Sarvar the title of 'Malik-us-Sharq'. The latter founded the Sharqi Dynasty in Jaunpur.
  • During Nasiruddin Mahmud's reign Timur invaded India in 1398.

Saiyyad Dynasty (1414-51)

Khizr Khan (1414-21)

  • Post Mahmuds death, Daulat Khan Lodhi became the Sultan but he was defeated by Khizr Khan, Governor of Multan who founded the Saiyyad Dynasty in 1414.
  • He claimed his descendant from the prophet.
  • His successor Mubarak Shah was the protagonist of Yahya-bin-Ahmad Sirhindis Tarikh-i-mubarak Shahi.
  • The last Saiyyad Alauddin Alam Shah was defeated by Bahlol Lodhi who founded the Lodhi dynasty.

Lodhis (1451-1526)

  • The Lodhi's were the first Afghans to rule India.
  • Bahlol Lodhi (1451-89) annexed the Sharqi Empire and introduced the Bahloli copper coin.
  • He was succeeded by Sikandar Lodhi (1489-1517). His mother was a Hindu Goldsmith's daughter.
  • He introduced a new measurement yard called `gazz-i-sikandari'. He also founded Agra in 1504.
  • He wrote Persian verses under the name Gulrukhi.
  • He was succeeded by Ibrahim Lodhi (1517-26).
  • He was defeated by Rana Sanga of Mewar.
  • He was also defeated by Babur in the Battle of Panipat in 1526.
  • Babur was invited by Governor of Punjab Daulat Khan Lodhi.


  • Sultan: The title of Sultan was started by the Turkish rulers. Mohammad Ghazni was the first to assume the title of Sultan. They ruled in the name of the caliph.
  • Amirs: A group of 40 Amirs called Chahalgani was dominant during Iltutmish's reign. Balban crushed their power.
  • Wazir: He was the Prime Minister, leading the Diwan-i-wizarat, which dealt in income and expenditure.
  • Majumdar: He gave loans so that the income and expenditure was balanced.
  • Zawabit: State laws
  • Jahandari: Laws made by Sultans


  • Quwatul-Islam: The structure was raised on the plinth of a Hindu temple. Qutub-du-din Aibek built it. It is the first mosque in India built on Indo-Islamic pattern.
  • Arhai-din-ka Jhonpra: It was built by Qutub-ud-din Aibek in Ajmer. It was a Sanskrit college in the beginning. 
  • Qutub Minar: It was built in memory of Shaikh Qutubuddin Baktiyar Kaki by Qutub-ud-din Aibek. Aibek could build only one storey. It was completed by Illtutmish.
  • Tomb of Iltutmish: It is near Quwat-ul-Islam Mosque.
  • Sultan Garhi: It was built by Iltutmish on the grave of his son Nasiruddin Mahmud.
  • Balban's tomb: It is situated near Qila-i-rai-pithora.
  • Alai Darawaja: It was built by Alauddin Khalji.
  • Siri: The second city of Delhi was built by Alauddin Khalji.
  • Hauz Khas: It was built by Alauddin Khalji.
  • Mahal Hazaar Satoon: It was built by Alauddin Khalji.
  • Jamait Khans Mosque: It was built by Alauddin Khalji.
  • Tughlaqabad: The third city of Delhi was built by Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq.
  • Jahanpanah: The fourth city of Delhi was built by Mohd. Bin Tughlaq.
  • Firozabad: The fifth city of Delhi was built by Firoz Shah Tughlaq.
  • Tomb of Khan-i-Jahan Maqbul: It was an octagonal tomb built by Jauna Shah in 1368.
  • Tomb of Sikandar Lodhi: It has a double dome.

Regional Architecture

  • Atala Devi Masjid: It was built by Ibrahim Shah Sharqi in Jaunpur. Its special feature is that it has no minaret of the usual type.
  • Mandu: It has Hushang Shah's tomb, Jami Masjid, Hindola Mahal, Jahaz Mahal.
  • Adina Masjid: It was built by Sikandar Shah in Pandua.
  • Chota Sona Masjid: It was built by Wali Mahummad in the reign of 'Hussain Shah in Gaur.
  • Bara Sona Masjid: It was built by Nusrat Shah in Gaur.
  • Qadam Rasul: It is in Ahmedabad.
  • Jami Masjid: Gulbarga.
  • Chand Minar: Daultabad
  • College of Mahmud Gawan: Bidar
  • Gol Gumbad: Tomb of Mohammad Adil Shah, Bijapur
  • Ibrahim Rauza: Tomb of Ibrahim II.

Provincial Kingdom

  • With the disintegration of the Delhi Sultanate many provincial kingdoms rose in the power.