Saturday 23 September 2017

Khilji Dynasty - Delhi Sultanate

The Delhi Sultanate was a Muslim kingdom based mostly in Delhi that stretched over large parts of the Indian subcontinent for 320 years (1206–1526). Five Dynasties ruled over Delhi over this period starting from Mamluk(Slave) Dynasty. Four of these dynasties were of Turkic Origin and the last one was of Afghan Origin. The sultanate is noted for being one of the few states to repel an attack by the Mongol Empire.

Abandoned Alai Minar, Qutub Complex, New Delhi

The Khilji Dynasty was founded by Jalal ud din Firuz Khilji in 1290 and ruled the Delhi Sultanate of India till 1320 CE. The dynasty is known for their faithlessness and ferocity, as well as their raids into the Hindu south. Jalal ruled from 1290 to 1296 CE. In 1292, the Sultan defeated a Mongol army who had invaded the Dipalpur-Multan region. He then allowed them to retreat. Jalaluddin was killed in 1296 by his nephew Alauddin, who became the next Sultan.

Khilji Empire at it's heights

Ala ud-Din Khilji (r. 1296-1316) was the second and the most powerful ruler of the Khilji dynasty. During his reign,  Mongol attacked and plundered raids from the northwest. The Mongols withdrew after plundering and stopped raiding northwest parts of the Delhi Sultanate. After the Mongols withdrew, Ala ud-Din Khilji continued expanding the Delhi Sultanate into southern India with the help of generals such as Malik Kafur and Khusro Khan.

Sultan Ala ud-Din Khilji

Over the next few years, Alauddin successfully defended India against the Mongol invasions, at Jaran-Manjur (1297-1298), Sivistan (1298), Kili (1299), Delhi (1303), and Amroha (1305). In 1306, his forces achieved a decisive victory against the Mongols near the Ravi riverbank, and in the subsequent years, his forces ransacked the Mongol territories in present-day Afghanistan.

River River

Alauddin subjugated the Hindu kingdoms of Gujarat (raided in 1299 and annexed in 1304), Ranthambore (1301), Chittor (1303), Malwa (1305), Siwana (1308), and Jalore (1311). These victories ended several Hindu dynasties, including the Paramaras, the Vaghelas, the Chahamanas of Ranastambhapura and Jalore, the Rawal branch of the Guhilas, and possibly the Yajvapalas.

Ranthambore Fort

Alauddin's slave-general Malik Kafur led multiple campaigns to the south of the Vindhyas, obtaining a huge amount of wealth from Devagiri (1308), Warangal (1310) and Dwarasamudra (1311). These victories forced the Yadava king Ramachandra, the Kakatiya king Prataparudra, and the Hoysala king Ballala III to become Alauddin's tributaries. Kafur also raided the Pandya kingdom (1311), obtaining a large number of treasures, elephants and horses. It was in these raids that the Khilji Dynasty acquired the famed diamond Koh-i-noor from Warangal.

Thanjavur Temple, Built under Pandya Kingdom

Alauddin Khilji died in December 1315. Thereafter, the sultanate witnessed chaos, coup and succession of assassinations. Malik Kafur became the sultan but lacked support from Muslim amirs and was killed within a few months. Within the next three years, three more Khilji successors violently assumed power but were in turn, all violently put to death in coups.

Tomb of Alauddin Khilji, Qutub Complex, Delhi

To win over the loyalty of the amirs and the Malik clan in the Sultanate, Mubarak Shah offered Ghazi Malik the command of Punjab and others various offices or death. Mubarak Shah ruled for less than 4 years, then was murdered in 1320 by his army general Khusraw Khan. The Muslim amirs in Delhi reached out and invited Ghazi Malik, then Muslim army commander in Punjab to lead a coup against Khusraw Khan. Ghazi Malik attacked Khusraw Khan in Delhi, beheaded him, and rechristened himself as Sultan Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq, the first ruler of the Tughluq dynasty. He founded the city of Tughluqabad.

Tughliqabad Fort

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