The tombs of the seven Qutub Shahi rulers in the Ibrahim Bagh (garden precinct) are located close to the famous Golkonda Fort in Hyderabad, India. The galleries of the smaller tombs are of a single storey while the larger ones are two storied. In the centre of each tomb is a sarcophagus which overlies the actual burial vault in a crypt below. The domes were originally overlaid with blue and green tiles, of which only a few pieces now remain.
They lie about a kilometre north of the outer perimeter wall of Golkonda Fort and its Banjara Darwaza (Gate of the Gipsies, or itinerant merchants), amidst the Ibrahim Bagh.
The tombs form a large cluster and stand on a raised platform. The tombs are domed structures built on a square base surrounded by pointed arches, a distinctive style that blends Persian, Pashtun and Hindu forms. The tombs are structures with intricately carved stonework and are surrounded by landscaped gardens.
The tombs were once furnished with carpets, chandeliers and velvet canopies on silver poles. Copies of the Quran were kept on pedestals and readers recited verses from the holy book at regular intervals. Golden spires were fitted over the tombs of the sultans to distinguish their tombs from those of other members of the royal family.
During the Qutub Shahi period, these tombs were held in great veneration. But after their reign, the tombs were neglected until Sir Salar Jung III ordered their restoration in the early 19th century. A garden was laid out, and a compound wall was built. Once again, the tomb-garden of the Qutub Shahi family became a place of serene beauty. All except the last of the Qutub Shahi sultans lie buried here.
Sultan Quli Qutub ul Mulk's tomb, the style of which sets the example for the tombs of his descendants, is on an elevated terrace measuring 30 meters in each direction. The tomb chamber proper is octagonal, with each side measuring around 10 meters. The entire structure is crowned by a circular dome. There are three graves in this tomb chamber and twenty-one laid out on the surrounding terrace, all of which lack inscription except for the main tomb.
The inscription on Sultan Quli's tomb is in three bands, in the Naskh and Tauq scripts. The inscription refers to Sultan Quli as Bade Malik (Great Master) — the endearing term by which all people of the Deccan used for him. The tomb was built in 1543 A.D. by the Sultan, during his lifetime, as was the custom.
Absence of Bhagmati's tomb
Bhagmati, the wife of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah after whom the city of Hyderabad was supposedly named, died in 1611 CE. Mir Momin, the Peshwa (prime minister) of Mohammed Quli did not appreciate the closeness between the Sultan and Bhagmati. Therefore, he decided to ensure that Bhagmati's character is driven out of contemporary history, so much so that she did not even have a tomb built over her last remains.