1912 - 1915

Qutb Shahi Heritage 

Kalakriti Archives

Through the Hyderabad Municipal Maps

Hyderabad, the capital of both Asaf Jahis & Qutb Shahis, was built during the Qutb Shahi rule. It was the decision of Muhammed Quli to change the capital and the site he chose was to the south of Musi river. Thus, the original city of Hyderabad was founded on the southern bank of river Musi by Muhammed Quli Qutb Shah in 1591 A.D, and over the centuries, the city has grown onto both banks of the river. The old city lies on its southern bank, which was the seat of power till the 7th the Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan. He shifted his residence to the northern bank following the flooding of the river Musi in 1908. Since then the city center saw a shift into the northern banks in particular. 
This exhibition presents a few maps which were part of the Hyderabad Municipal Survey conducted between 1912-1915. These Municipal maps portray the city of Hyderabad and its environs in the early 19th century. Although it was the capital of Nizam in the 19th century, the contributions of Qutb Shahi dynasty are striking and a much need to say. Hence, the exhibit focuses on the Qutb Shahi Heritage, though it is well known the fact that the city of Hyderabad itself is their contribution.

City of Hyderabad within the fortified wall

The city was surrounded by a stone wall flanked with bastions. The city wall was erected during the last days of Subadarship Mubariz Khan Imadul Mulk, the last Mughal Governor. Initially, the construction started from Chadarghat gate to Dabirpura gate with stone and mortar without turret-parapets. The rest of the wall surmounted by the turret-parapets was done by Asaf Jah I. Later it was extensively repaired by Bahadur Dil Khan Shuja-ud-Daula, governor of Hyderabad during the reign of Asaf Jah II. The city wall had 13 gates (Darwaza) and 13 Khirkis (posterns). These 13 gates were Chadarghat Darwaza, Delhi gate, Afzal Ganj Gate, Champa, Old Bridge (Narva) gate, Dudh Bauli gate, Aliabad gate, Lal Gate, Gaulipura, Ghazibanda or Fateh, Mir Jumla, Yakutpura, and Dabirpura gates. And, 13 doors (Khirki) were Borah Khirki, Mir Jumla Khirki, Matha Khirki, Rangeli or Rangali Shah Khirki, Bodla Khirki, Darushshifa Khirki, Kalala Khirki, Dhobi Khirki, Hasan Ali Khirki, Champa gate Khirki, Char Mahal Khirki, Dudh Bauli Khirki, Khirki of Kahar.


Few years after the foundation of the city, Muhammed Quli Qutb Shah built a rectangular building with four minarets, hence called Char Minar in 1594. Four roads meet the structure are Purana Pul Road in the west and Panj Mahla in the south, while Charminar Road on the north and Maidan Chauk Road in the east clearly visible.

Makka Masjid

To the south of Purana Pul Road as well as west of Panja Mahla Road lies Makka Masjid. A grand building with arches and minaret commissioned by Muhammad Qutb Shah in 1617 under the supervision of Darogah Mir Faizullah Beg and Chaudhari Rangaiyah or Hunarmand Khan with the help of around 8000 masons and laborers. The construction work continued during the reigns of Abdullah Qutb Shah and Abul Hasan Tana Shah. The work completed by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb after 77 years. Interestingly, two entrance to the Makka Masjid can be seen on the map.

Jamia Masjid

Erected in 1597 by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah is lies to the north of Charminar.

Char Kaman

The four arched portals known as Char Kaman built in 1594 by Muhammed Quli Qutb Shah

Char Su-Ka Hauz

The Char Su-Ka Hauz itself means cistern of four roads was constructed by Sultan Muhammad Quli, along with a pavilion, from there, he used to witness maneuvering of his troops and based on the performance, reward them.

Gosha Mahal Hauz

Gosha Mahal Hauz, was originally a palace built by the Sultan Abdullah Qutb Shah in 1627 A.D, but it was completed by Abul Hasan Tana Shah, last ruler from Qutb Shahi Dynasty. At the time of its erection, the structure consisted of 1000 halls. Interestingly, the palace was actually used as a resort for the royal ladies, hence, it is said that the name of Gosha (secluded) was given to the building. But, nothing survives today except the guest house called Baradari and a housing lodge which Nizam was given to the Freemasons. It was during the last siege of Golconda Fort by Aurangzeb the palace was destroyed almost and even Prince Shah Alam had also been encamped at Gosha Mahal. Moreover, it is said that there had a subterranean passage even connected to Golconda.

Masahiba Tank

The construction of Masahiba Tank is attributed to the Qutub Shahi reign. Masahiba Tank presently known as Masab Tank evolved out of Ma Saheba, the title popularly attributed to Hayat Bakshi Begum, wife of Muhammed Qutb Shah VI. An inscription on the tank attributed the construction of the Tank to the Khanum Agha, mother of Muhammed Qutb Shah VI. Also, the title of Ma Saheba was applied to all the queen mothers of Qutub Shahi rules were in practice.

Hussain Sagar Tank

The Hussain Sagar Tank was constructed by the Ibrahim Qutub Shah, the fourth Qutub Shahi Sultan in 1562 A.D for the purpose of solving drinking water issue. Initially, its name was Ibrahim Sagar, but Since the construction was supervised by his son-in-law namely Hussain Shah Wali, who was then the superintendent of Public Works, people began to refer it as Hussain Sagar. It says that when Sultan came to know that Tank was popularly known as Hussain Sagar, immediately he constructed another tank known as Ibrahimpatnam Tank. Until 1925, the Hussain Sagar Tank served as the source of drinking water to the then suburbs Khariatabad and Saifabad. Since the Tank covered an area of 21 K.M, the Bund lies between Hyderabad and Secunderabad. Now the water body is no longer in use due to the pollution. The Tank fed by a canal runs about km in length diverted from the river Musi.

Mir Jumla Tank

Mir Jumla Tank was the oldest tank constructed by the prime minister of Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah in the early 17th century, and after whom it was named as Mir Jumla Tank. The city completely relied on Mir Jumla Tank for pure filtered water.

Afzal Sagar Tank

One of the oldest tank built by the Qutub Shahi rulers of Golconda, but later during the Nizam period, this converted into a drainage

Badshahi Ashur Khana

Badshahi Ashur Khana, known as the Royal Ashur Khana, was built by Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah in 1596 A.D. Ashur Khana literally means 'a house of the 10th day of Muharram or Shiite house of mourning'. A mourning place for Shias during Muharram festival constructed in the memory of Imam Hussain. There are many Ashur Khanas identifiable in the city of Hyderabad, and construction of those are traceable back to the Golconda Sultanate, indeed, indicate the Shiite affiliation of Qutb Shahis. Apart from these, a canal diverted from the river Musi for the distribution of water, graves of people belongs to the Muslim community, and temples are visible on the map.

Badshahi Ashur Khana

The Purana Pul Bridge connect city to the suburbs of Karwan

The Purana Pul Bridge, also known as Old Bridge was built by the Muhammed Quli Qutb Shah in 1593 A.D. The Bridge built of stone and styled with 26 arches. According to the legend, when his son Sultan Muhammad Quli fell in love with Bhagmati, hurried once to cross the River Musi to meet her on an occasion. The overflow of the river did not discourage him from crossing the river on horseback. Sultan Ibrahim Qutb Shah was informed of this venture and who immediately ordered to build a bridge over it. Later, during the reign of Nawab Sikandar Jah, the bridge was reconstructed following the flood of 1820 A.D and again repaired extensively after the flood of 1908 by sixth Nizam Mir Mahbub Ali Khan, the then masonry walls were replaced by railings of pierced Ashlar. Thus Purana Pul gave an idea and opened the way to the planned city of Hyderabad also. The plan was drawn up under Muhammad Quli along with the provisions for shops, caravanserais, and other public facilities. Hence we can note that, Purana Pul is older than Hyderabad.

Purani Idgah

Purani Idgah (the ground or structure constructed for the congregational prayer during two Eid celebrations) dates back to the 17th century, the period of Sultan Muhammad Qutb Shah. The peculiar feature is its amazing two pillars which has the resemblance to the Charminar. It was in 1806, Abul Qasim Khan Mir Alam, popularly known as Mir Alam Bahadur, then the Prime Minister of Nawab Sikandar Jah Bahadur, Asaf Jah III, built a New Idgah near Mir Alam Tank, since then this existing Idgah came to be called as Purani Idgah.

The Peculiar feature is its amazing two Pillars which has the resemblance to the Charminar.

Dar-ush-Shifa hospital

The Dar-ush-Shifa hospital, the oldest one established by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah in 1595 A.D, was where medicine had been provided at free of cost. The building had consisted of quadrangular courtyard paved with stone and special chambers for the accommodation of travelers and sick persons. Later, the building was in ruined condition and even used as a barrack for irregular troops.

The Dar-ush-Shifa Masjid was also built at the same time of the hospital.

collection of Prshant K. Lahoti and Karen Leonard
Credits: Story

Maps from the collection of Prshant K. Lahoti, and Karen Leonard

Online curation: Fareeda Farsana.E

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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