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Subjects /Indian History / Medieval History / Delhi Sultanate from 1206AD to 1526AD Part I

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Introduction
08 Mar 2021

The five dynasties which were founded subsequently after the Turkish invasion were collectively known as Delhi Sultanate.

These were-


  • Slave/Mamluk Dynasty (1206AD-1290AD)
  • Khilji Dynasty (1290AD-1320AD)
  • Tughlaq Dynasty (1320AD-1412AD)
  • Sayyid Dynasty (1414AD-1451AD)
  • Lodhi Dynasty (1451AD-1526 AD)


The Mamluk Dynasty from 1206AD to 1290AD

Qutub-ud-din Aibak (Ruled in India from1206-1210 AD)

Founder of Sultanate : Qutub-ud-din Aibak

Capital: Lahore, Punjab.

In 1206 after the death of Ghori, Qutub-ud-din Aibak declared himself  ‘Sultan’.

  • He was the founder of the Mamluk dynast and the first sultan of the Delhi Sultanate .
  • Now Indian Turkish area became independent from Ghori.
  • Aibak was a slave so, Aibak dynasty is called as ‘Slave Dynasty or Ilbari Dynasty “.
  • Ilbari was the tribe of the Turk ruling over India.
  • 1st Muslim Museum built near Qutub Minar in Delhi by Turks was constructed by Aibak.
  • The Vishnu temple was converted to a Mosque.

Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra : 2nd Turkish mosque built by  Aibak in Ajmer.

  • It was built in 2 and a half days that is why this name was given to it.
  • This was earlier a Sanskrit college built by Chauhan’s which was converted by Aibak into a Mosque.
  • Aibak died playing sport name chugan (Polo).


Iltutmish from 1210AD to 1236 AD

  • He was son in law of Aibak.
  • Succeeded Aibak after fighting and defeating the son of Aibak.
  • Iltutmish must be regarded as the real consolidator of the Turkish conquests in India.
  • He transferred the capital of Sultanate from Lahore to Delhi.

He introduced 2 types of Islamic coins.

  • Tanka (Made from silver and sometimes from gold as well.
  • Jital (Copper coin)
  • He started a special type of army called as Chihalgani /Chalisa dal for the protection of Sultan.
  • It was called chalisa because he had 40 people in his special army.


Razia (1236AD-1240AD)

  • Daughter of Iltutmish and 1st women ruler of India.
  • She ruled only for 3 years.
  • But she was not 1st ruler in Islamic world and the first was Mallika Turkan in  Persia(Iran).
  • Razia faced revolt and not supported by Ulemas and Umaras.

It marked the beginning of a struggle for power and between the monarchy and the Turkish chiefs, sometimes called “the forty “or the chahalgani.

  • Ulemas: Theologians (interpreters of Islam).
  • Umaras: Class of nobility (higher administrators).
  • Umaras and Ulemas were not ready to work under the rule of a woman ruler (Gender Issue).
  • Also because they were against her Unfeminine dressing and behavior (relations with African slave called Yakut).
  • 1st one to revolt was Altunia (Governor) and in a counter move Razia married him in order to gain his support.
  • She sent an expedition against Ranthambore to control the Rajput’s, and successfully established law and order in the length and breadth of her kingdom.
  • Razia and Altunia were killed by bandits in a forest in Kaithal(Haryana) because of surcharge atmosphere in India.
  • Qudsia Bagh Mausoleum: Razia sultan mausoleum was built in Old Delhi.
  • After her death in 1240, some insignificant rulers came to rule and there no significant changes were made.


Ghiyas-ud-din Balban (1246AD-87AD)

  • Balban changed the ‘Theory of Kingship’.
  • Under his rule the position of king became very very high.
  • Balban through various institutions raised the positions of king as compared to position of Umara.
  • He was the 1st ruler to introduce the practice of ‘Sijdah’ (Prostration) towards sultan by Umara’s (To bend & acknowledge the king).
  • He also introduced Pabos which means kissing the feet of the sultan when sitting & kissing the shoes & slippers of sultan when standing or not available in court.
  • He introduced new festival of ‘Nawroz’ (New-year festivals celebrated by Parsi community).
  • He made it a state festival of India.
  • He celebrated Nawroz festival in a very grand and magnificent way to impress the local people of India.
  • Balban made raised the personal expenses of the sultan.
  • Balban was only the sultan in India wearing the costliest clothes and shoes in order to show it is very grand and magnificent of a sultan.
  • Infact, there was a certain dress code for Umaras and they could enter the royal court only then.
  • To strengthen the power of sultan he came with his “Blood and Iron policy”, which meant mass killings of the opponents.
  • He was first sultan of India who claimed the sultan is “Zill-i-illahi “(The will of god).
  • So Ulemas cannot question the will of sultan.
  • Balban was the founder of ‘semi divine kingship ‘theory.
  • Balban Mausoleum is in south Delhi near Qutub minar.
  • Balban Tomb is the 1st Islamic monument with true ‘Arch’.
  • Balban’s methods were often harsh and undesirable. But there is no doubt that with his accession to the throne there began an era of strong, centralized government.
  • He refused to entertain for important government posts to anyone who did not belong to a noble family.
  • This virtually meant the exclusion of Indian Muslims from all positions of power and authority.
  • He tried to act as a champion of Turkish nobility.
  • At the same time, in order to win the confidence of the public, he administered justice with extreme impartiality.
  • He appointed spies in every department.
  • He organized a strong centralized army and reorganized the military department (diwan- i–arz), and pensioned off those soldiers and troopers who were no longer fit for service.
  • Balban died in 1286.
  • He was undoubtedly one of the main architects of the sultanate of Delhi, particularly of its form of government and institutions.
  • By asserting the power of the monarchy, Balban strengthened the Delhi sultanate.



Did You Know

  • Qutub Minar was started by Aibak but only the plinth was constructed which was further completed by Iltutmish (Next sultan).
  • Chugan was Mongol sports (Polo) .
  • Mongol were different from Turks ; living in east of central Asia .
  • Changez khan was a Mongol king .
  • Mongols were also Muslims but were different from Turks because they were from a different tribe.
  • Their rules & regulations were different & unique
  • Later marriage alliance happened between Turks & Mongols.
  • Their descendants came to be known  as Mughals.
  • Mughals were a mix race of Turks & Mongols.


  • Tabaqa -i-nasiri: Author Minhaj I siraj
  • Written in Persian (court language was persian) official history of early Delhi sultans .
  • Non-Muslims who came from Persia in India are called ‘Parsi ‘. Most of them lived in Bombay , Maharashtra & Goa.