Located about a kilometer north from Golconda Fort, the Qutub Shahi tombs represent the most authentic and majestic display of the Qutub Shahi dynasty architectural traditions today. The grandeur of the tombs is ensconced amidst the beautiful and picturesque landscape and gardens of Ibrahim Bagh, and the tombs themselves are dedicated to the seven Qutub Shahi kings who ruled Golconda for nearly 170 years. The style of the tombs are varied, displaying Hindu, Persian, and Pathan forms–Indo-Persian architectures that are influenced by Deccani structural ideas. As a result, a distinct Qutub Shari school of architecture marked by liberal use of minarets, arches, domes, and columns was born.
The tombs differ in size but all are comparable to each other in architectural grandeur and beauty. Ironically, one of the most modest of these tombs belong to the Qutub Shahi dynasty founder, Sultan Quli Qutub-ul-Mulk. He built his tomb himself and it is just marked by simplicity and design symmetry, standing on a platform 30 meters on each side. From the plinth, the walls and the dome measure 12 meters while the ramparts have four Bahmani-style bouquets on each side of the tomb. Inside, the shape is octagonal with each side having a width of as much as 10 meters. Quli Qutub-ul-Mulk’s son’s tomb, Sultan Jamsheed Quli Qutub Shah, is also quite modest although extremely imposing, as it is standing on a high quadrangular platform. Among all the royal tombs, it is the only one that does not use black basalt in its construction.
Easily the most impressive, though, is the tomb of Hyderabad’s founder, Muhammed Quli Qutub Shah. It rises to a height of 42.5 meters, topped by a large dome. 28 open arches are located on each side. The tomb was constructed on a two-tiered terrace designed to look like a captivating gallery, complete with false openings and two central pillars. Minarets and rich ornamental parapets complete the Islamic architecture. Nowhere in the world are there so many tombs in one place as here. You will find more than 20 tombs at one place, these tombs are famous as ‘Seven Tombs’. These tombs erected in memory of the departed kings of Golconda are truly magnificent monuments that have stood the test of time and the vagaries of nature.
There are also tombs that belong to non-ruling members of the royal families. For example, there is the tomb of the sister of Muhammed Qutub Shah, Fatima Sultan. The tomb of the sufi saint Husain Wali, the man who built Husain Sagar which bridges Hyderabad and Secunderabad is also found there. While not as impressive as the tombs of the seven main rulers, they are still awe-inspiring in their own right.
Despite continued assault by man and the elements across the centuries, the tombs still maintain their original glory, a testament to the craftsmanship and engineering expertise of the Qutub Shari artisans and builders.