IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


16th February, 2024 Culture


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The historic Qutub Shahi tombs in Hyderabad now has a digital twin. Hexagon, a reality technology solutions company, has used drone scanners to capture over 10.7 billion data points, representing the 10,000- square metre area.


  • A digital twin is a virtual representation of a physical object, system, or process, mirroring its real-world counterpart.
  • It serves as a powerful tool for understanding and analyzing physical entities, aiding in simulation, testing, and decision-making processes.

About the tombs

  • The Qutub Shahi Tombs are situated in Ibrahim Bagh, near the renowned Golconda Fort in Hyderabad, India.
  • This complex is notable for housing the tombs and mosques built by various rulers of the Qutub Shahi dynasty.


  • Structure: The tombs are built on a raised platform, featuring domed structures with square bases surrounded by pointed arches, which reflect a blend of Persian and Indian architectural styles.
  • Interior: Each tomb contains a sarcophagus in the center, covering the burial vault in a crypt below. The smaller tombs have single-story galleries, while the larger ones are two-storied.
  • Design Elements: Originally adorned with blue and green tiles, the domes have now retained only a few fragments. The structures exhibit intricately carved stonework and are surrounded by landscaped gardens.

Historical Significance:

  • Veneration: During the Qutub Shahi period, these tombs held great religious and cultural significance.
  • Transformation: In 1687, during the Siege of Golconda, the tombs were converted into barracks by the Mughal army, marking a significant shift in their use.
  • Restoration: In the early 19th century, Sir Salar Jung III initiated restoration efforts, reinstating the beauty and serenity of the tomb-garden.

Restoration Efforts:

  • Collaboration: The Telangana State Archaeology and Museums Department, in partnership with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, has spearheaded restoration projects.
  • Funding: The restoration work, including stepwells within the complex, has been supported by the US Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation.
  • Progress: Restoration work commenced in 2013, with intermittent pauses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but has since resumed at a slower pace.

Description of Each Tomb:

  • Sultan Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk: Built in 1543 A.D., it serves as an example for subsequent tombs, featuring an octagonal tomb chamber with inscriptions in Naskh and Tauq scripts.
  • Jamsheed Quli Qutb Shah: Notable for its two-story structure and lack of inscriptions, built in 1550 A.D.
  • Sultan Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah: Constructed in 1580, larger in size with traces of enameled tiles on its southern wall.
  • Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah: Built in 1602, considered the grandest, adorned with inscriptions in Persian and Naskh scripts.
  • Sultan Muhammad Qutb Shah: Constructed in 1626, featuring a facade once adorned with enameled tiles and inscriptions in Thuluth and Naskh scripts.
  • Abdullah Qutb Shah: The last royal tomb, built in 1672, with inscriptions in Thuluth and Naskh scripts.
  • Hayat Bakshi Begum: Not a Qutub Shahi ruler but a significant figure, with her tomb complex featuring a grand mosque and a mortuary bath.

Other Monuments:

  • Masjids: Adjacent to almost every tomb, the masjids are significant architectural additions within the complex.
  • Mortuary Bath: Built by Sultan Quli, it facilitated the ritual washing of the deceased royals before burial.
  • Dargah of Hussain Shah Wali: Honoring the revered Sufi saint known for building Hussain Sagar, it stands as a non-tomb monument within the complex.

Cultural Significance:

  • Entertainment: Known as "Lagar-e-Faiz Athar" during the Qutub Shahi era, the tomb-garden hosted various cultural events for public entertainment, reflecting the dynasty's patronage of arts and culture.
  • Literature: The tombs have been subjects of artistic interpretation, with poetical illustrations and engravings capturing their grandeur and historical significance.

Overview of the Qutb Shahi Dynasty

  • The Qutb Shahi dynasty, a Persianate Shia Islamic dynasty of Turkoman origin, ruled the Sultanate of Golkonda in southern India.
  • Established in 1512 AD by Sultan-Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk, also known as "Quli Qutb Shah".
  • In 1636, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan enforced Mughal suzerainty over the Qutb Shahis, compelling them to pay tributes.
  • The dynasty ended in 1687 when the Mughal ruler Aurangzeb captured Golconda and jailed the last sultan, Abul Hasan Qutb Shah.
  • The kingdom extended over parts of modern-day Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and Telangana.
  • The Golconda Sultanate was in constant conflict with neighboring Adil Shahis and Nizam Shahis.

Cultural and Linguistic Shifts:

  • Patrons of Persianate Shia Culture: The Qutb Shahis were patrons of Persianate Shia culture, with Persian as the official language during the initial years.
  • Adoption of Telugu: In the early 17th century, Telugu language and culture were patronized, leading to a cultural shift.
  • Tolerance and Integration: Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah permitted Hindu festivals and practiced a more tolerant approach towards diverse cultural traditions.

Economic Prosperity:

  • Wealth: The Golconda Sultanate was renowned for its wealth, derived from land tax and diamond mining.
  • Diamond Trade: The sultanate had a monopoly on diamond production, particularly from the Kollur Mine, making Golconda diamonds highly sought after globally.

Architecture and Patronage:

  • Indo-Islamic Architecture: Qutb Shahi architecture reflects a blend of Indian and Persian styles, seen in structures like Golconda Fort, Char Minar, and Mecca Masjid.
  • Cultural Patronage: The sultans patronized literature, music, and art, contributing to the rich cultural heritage of the region.

Administration and Governance:

  • Centralized State: The sultan enjoyed absolute powers, supported by a system of ministers and officials.
  • Revenue Collection: Tax collection was through jagirs, auction farms, and trade, contributing to the sultanate's economic prosperity.
  • Administrative Divisions: The sultanate was divided into provinces and districts, with a strict administrative hierarchy.

Cultural and Religious Integration:

  • Shift in Policies: The dynasty initially enforced strict policies against Hindus but later adopted a more inclusive approach, fostering cultural and religious integration.
  • Patronage of Hindu Traditions: Towards the end of their rule, the Qutb Shahi rulers patronized Hindu traditions, sending offerings to temples and promoting religious harmony.


The digitization of the Qutub Shahi tombs marks a significant milestone in the preservation and exploration of historical heritage through modern technology. Hexagon's innovative approach underscores the potential of digital twins in enriching our understanding of the past while shaping the cities of the future.


Q. The Qutub Shahi Tombs stand as a testament to the rich heritage and architectural prowess of the Qutub Shahi dynasty. Comment. (15 marks)