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Capital of Seven Empires

Prithviraj Chauhan

Prithviraj Chauhan was the last Hindu king who ruled the ancient Delhi for a considerable period of time and in the second battle of Terrain in 1192 he lost his Kingdom to the Slave Emperors. The Chauhan Dynasty took reign of Delhi city in 1155 AD from the Tomar Empire. Prithviraj Chauhan during his rule changed the name of Lal Kot – built by the Tomars – to Quila Rai Pithora. The rule of Prithviraj Chauhan continued till 1192 AD. The Tarain war of 1192 AD ends the rule of Prithviraj Chauhan in Delhi. Mohammad Ghori captured Prithviraj Chauhan in the second and last battle of Terrain and sentenced him to death. This way the brave rule of Prithviraj Chauhan came to an end in Delhi.

Belonging to the Kshatriya Chauhan Rajput Dynasty, Prithviraj Chauhan was a great ruler. From his childhood days, Prithviraj Chauhan was famous for his chivalry and courage. At the age of 13 years Prithviraj Chauhan was made the king of Delhi by the then ruler Anagpal. Apart from his brave and courageous ruling life Prithviraj Chauhan was popular for his love with Sanyogita who was his enemy's daughter. There is no denying the fact that the History of Delhi remains incomplete without the mention of the great Hindu king Prithviraj Chauhan.

Delhi Sultanate

Delhi Sultanate fined its mention in the medieval history of India. The period ruled by the Muslim leaders with Delhi as their capital is known as the Delhi Sultanate. The defeat of Prithviraj Chauhan in the hands of Mohammed Ghori marked the beginning of the Delhi Sultanate. Delhi Sultanate comprised of five dynasties namely the Slave dynasty, Khilji dynasty, Tughlaq dynasty, Sayyid and the Lodhi dynasties. Under the Delhi Sultanate there was no fixed territory as it solely depended upon the rulers on how much they could capture and reign. However among the five dynasties under the Delhi Sultanate, it was the Khilji dynasty who annexed majority of South Indian states. The history of Delhi shows that at that time Persian language flourished and was prevalent in those areas controlled by the Sultanate.

The Slave dynasty was founded by Qutab- ud -Din Aibak, a slave to the Mohammed Ghori. The famous rulers who carried the legacy of the slave dynasty and made significant contributions were Iltutmish and Giaz-ud-Din Balban along with Qutab-ud-Din Aibak. Facing constant turmoil`s the dynasty came to an end in the 1290.

The Khilji dynasty was founded by Ala ud-Din Khilji. Under this dynasty Muslim rule reached its zenith before the Mughals came in. Muhammad Tughlaq founded the dynasty and his stern rule against his subjects results a series of revolt from the subjects. As a consequence he lost his kingdom and was killed in 1351. The history of Delhi also marks the Sayyid and Lodhi dynasty as parts of the Delhi Sultanate. Khazir Khan founded the Sayyid dynasty, which ruled from1414 to 1450 AD. This was succeeded by the Lodhi dynasty, which was found by Bahlul Khan. Babur invaded India and put an end to both the Lodhi dynasty and the Delhi Sultanate. Delhi Sultanate marks the various phases about Delhi being ruled by several rulers.

The Khilji Dynasty

The Khilji Dynasty started its rule in Delhi in 1290 AD after the death of Balban – the last ruler of slave Dynasty. Jalaluddin Khilji was the first king of Khilji Dynasty who made Delhi his dominion in 1290 AD. However, in 1296 AD Jalaluddin Khilji was killed out of a conspiracy planned by one of his nephews - Alauddin Khilji.

From 1296 AD to 1316 AD Alauddin Khilji dominated the Delhi sultanate with many courageous achievements. Soon after becoming the Sultan of Delhi Alauddin Khilji in 1297 AD went out to win over the various parts of Gujarat state. The assassination of Rajput Hamir was an act of Alauddin Khilji which took place in 1301 AD. In the same year Ramthambhor was also captured.

Alauddin Khilji took charge of Chittor in 1303 AD by defeating the then ruler of the place Rana Ratan Singh. Alauddin Khilji also conquered Mandu, Chander, Ujjain, Dhar and Malwa in 1305 AD. Malik Kafur who was the general of Alauddin Khilji played a significant role in winning over the major portions of Southern India. The records of history of Delhi state that Alauddin Khilji spread his dominance over the entire region of north India by 1311 AD. Another prime achievement of Alauddin Khilji was that during his rule he successfully abated the Mongol invasion. In 1316 AD the Khilji Dynasty saw its end with the death of Alauddin Khilji.

The Mughal

The Mughal were the founder of the Mughal Dynasty in India. They were the descendants of the great Ghenghis Khan of Afghanistan. The dynasty of the Mughal falls under the medieval period and give an overview about the history of Delhi. The dynasty was founded by Babur, who invaded India in 1526 on the request of Daulat Khan Lodhi. Ibrahim Lodhi was defeated by Babur in the battle of Panipat, thus putting an end to Ibrahim Lodhi's autocratic rule. He established the Mughal Dynasty and ruled India till 1530 AD. The dynasty ruled Delhi with the glorious contribution of the Mughal. After Babur, the throne was succeeded by his son Humayun, who majestically carried the dynasty through distinct features. On Humayun's death Akbar, his son ascended the throne. Akbar's name is red lettered not only in the history of Delhi but also in the Indian history. Akbar ruled from 1556 to 1605 and spread his territory to the far west of Afghanistan. He is remembered as a kind and generous ruler. Being a Muslim he respected other religions and won over his subjects.

After Akbar passed away his son Salim ascended the throne and made significant contributions to the Mughal art and culture. Mughal paintings flourished under the Salim's rule and he is popularly known as Jahangir. Jahangir was succeeded by Shah Jahan who lived a lavish life. He decorated the old city of Delhi, Shahjahanabad. He built the Taj Mahal in memory of his beloved wife, which is now one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Shah Jahan was succeeded by Aurangzeb, who defeated all his three brothers in order to gain power. Aurangzeb practiced the Sharia law and is therefore admired by the Muslim historians. The death of Aurangzeb marked the decline of the Mughal Dynasty. Though the Mughal owe their origin in Kabul but remained deep rooted to India. To know about Delhi, we have to ponder over the pages in history enriched with significant contributions of different rulers. The Mughal made India the hub of Islamic empire and Islamic culture and learning reached its zenith.

The Slave Dynasty

The Slave Dynasty initiated in Delhi in 1193. The Turkish slave of Sultan Muhammad Ghur - Qutb-ud-din Aybak – was the prime figure who invaded the land of India in 1175 and later started the Slave Dynasty in Delhi. After the assassination of Muhammad Ghur in 1206 Qutb-ud-din Aybak became the sole ruler of Delhi Sultanate. However, the regime of Qutb-ud-din Aybak could not last long and in 1211 he died of a polo accident. Iltutmish, son-in-law of Qutb-ud-din Aybak then became the legal heir to the throne of Delhi under the Slave Dynasty. Iltutmish ruled Delhi from 1211 to 1236 and started the use of jital and tanka coins. Iltutmish, before dying, passed his rights to Raziyya – his daughter.

Raziyya remained the only women ruler of Slave dynasty who ruled Delhi. After Raziyya, Balban became the next ruler of Delhi in 1266 representing the Slave Dynasty. Being known for his cruelties and impartial demeanor, Balban established a centralized government system in Delhi during his rule. In 1287 Balban died and the Slave Dynasty came to an end. The time period, during which the Slave Dynasty ruled the land of Delhi, the middle class Hindu citizens were posted to respectable administrative ranks. However, with the advent of this very Slave Dynasty Buddhism was completely obliterated from India. The Islam religion found a new dimension in India with the coming of the Slave Dynasty in Delhi. In the history of Delhi the Slave dynasty remained a crucial milestone.

The Tughlaqs

The Tughlaqs dominated Delhi sultanate from 1320 AD to 1398 AD. Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq was the first emperor of the Tughlaq Dynasty who was, in his previous year, a governor of north-west provinces. Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq ruled Delhi till 1325 AD and his son Muhammad bin Tughlaq became the next heir to the throne.

During his rein Muhammad bin Tughlaq achieved many a milestones like that of extensive expansion of his dominion. From Assam in the east and Sindh in the west to Madurai in the south and Peshawar in the north, Muhammad bin Tughlaq conquered a huge number of places. Silver and gold coins had also been circulated in the dominion of Muhammad bin Tughlaq. Although he tried to influence people through his initiatives but due to some of his decisions Muhammad bin Tughlaq had to face strong protest from the mass. In 1351 AD Muhammad bin Tughlaq died and Feroz Tughlaq became the next ruler of Tughlaq Dynasty in Delhi. He ruled Delhi for 37 years and implemented many irrigation and architectural projects. Before dying Feroz Tughlaq made his son the legal heir to the throne.

The history of Delhi reveals the very fact that after the demise of Feroz Tughlaq the Dynasty became weak due to the inefficient rulers. Mahmud Nasir-uddin who was the last representative of the Tughlaq Dynasty continued his rule in Delhi sultanate till 1398 AD. After the Tughlaqs Sayyid Dynasty started they rule in Delhi sultanate.

Sayyid and Lodhi Dynasties

Delhi Sultanate has been controlled by several ruling powers over the period of Indian history. Sayyid and Lodhi Dynasty are two of the major rulers of Delhi, which have played significant role in the history of Delhi Sultanate before Mughal empires started ruling over India.

Sayyid Dynasty

Sayyid Dynasty empowered India for about 37 years. Khizar Khan was the founder of the Sayyid Dynasty. He was followed by rulers like Mubarak Shah, Mohammad shah and Alam Shah. Khizar Khan assisted Timur, the restorer of Mongol Empire to invade India. As a reward against his assistance, he was made the governor of a number of Indian territories under the rule of Timurs. Dipalpur, Lahore and Multan were the regions under Khizar's governorship. However, Khizar's aspirations were higher; he was keener to rule Delhi under the supremacy of Timur. Finally in the year 1414 Khizar defeated Daullat Khan, the last ruler of Tughlaq dynasty, and founded the 'Sayyid Dynasty' in Delhi. In spite of Khizar's victory over Tughlaq Dynasty, he could not sustain and expand the limit of his kingdom and nevertheless started loosing the existing territories of his monarchy.

After his death in 1421, Khizar's Dynasty was bestowed to his son Mubarak Shah. Mubarak opposed to the superiority of Timur's descendants and declared his exclusive right on the throne of Delhi. During his reign, Mubarak Shah had to suffer from a number of domestic and outside rivalries resulting into political disturbance and turmoil. After him the Sayyid Dynasty was administered by Mohammad shah and Alam Shah for a short span. Gradually the ruling of Sayyid Dynasty was over when Alam Shah was defeated by Buhlul Lodhi in 1451.

Lodhi Dynasty

Compared to Sayyid, the Lodhi Dynasty was a better ruling empire who was in power for about 75 years. Established by Buhlul Lodhi in 1451, Lodhis ruled Delhi till 1526. Buhlul Lodhi was one of the successful rulers of his time. He expanded his dynasty by invading the neighboring states. After him, the empire was owned by his son Sikandar Shah who successfully leaded his monarchy as a great administrator. He is also noted as the founder of the world-known city of Agra in India. After his death, Lodhi dynasty went through sheer disturbance as the descendants of Sikandar Shah started fighting for power among them. In this period of recklessness, Delhi was attacked by Zahiruddin Babur who defeated Ibrahim Lodhi, the last king of Lodhi Dynasty, which brought the final decline of the imperialism of Lodhi Dynasty in India.

Compared to Sayyid, the Lodhi Dynasty was a better ruling empire who was in power for about 75 years. Established by Buhlul Lodhi in 1451, Lodhis ruled Delhi till 1526. Buhlul Lodhi was one of the successful rulers of his time. He expanded his dynasty by invading the neighboring states. After him, the empire was owned by his son Sikandar Shah who successfully leaded his monarchy as a great administrator. He is also noted as the founder of the world-known city of Agra in India. After his death, Lodhi dynasty went through sheer disturbance as the descendants of Sikandar Shah started fighting for power among them. In this period of recklessness, Delhi was attacked by Zahiruddin Babur who defeated Ibrahim Lodhi, the last king of Lodhi Dynasty, which brought the final decline of the imperialism of Lodhi Dynasty in India.