Sources of Delhi Sultanate

By the 10th century, North India was politically fragmented with various kingdoms constantly at war with each other. This created a political vacuum that was exploited by the Turks who established their rule in Delhi by the 12th century. In the next hundred years, they expanded their kingdom by conquering other Indian states.

The empire which ruled North India from AD 1206 to AD 1526 was known as the Delhi Sultanate because Delhi was their capital (the seat of their empire) and the kings were known as Sultans. Literary and Archaeological Sources of Delhi Sultanate are as follows

Literary Sources of Delhi Sultanate

  • Several biographies, autobiographies, court histories, chronicles, accounts of foreign travellers, and private correspondence give us information about the history of the Delhi Sultanate.
  • Tarikh-i-Firozshashi is an important work in medieval India. Written by Ziauddin Barni, it gives an account of the political, social, and economic conditions prevailing in India during those times.
  • Prithvirajraso is an epic poem written by Chand Bardai. The poem narrates the heroic exploits of Prithviraj Chauhan who ruled Ajmer and Delhi from AD 1165 to AD 1192. It gives us glimpses of the socio-political condition of the country at that time.
  • The poem though does not give us an accurate account of the battle which took place between Muhammad Ghori and Prithviraj Chauhan. It is an important source of information on the social and clan structure of the Kshatriyas of northern India.

Archaeological Sources Delhi Sultanate

  • Monuments and coins are important sources of information about the Delhi Sultanate.
  • Inscriptions related to the Delhi Sultanate are found on coins, monuments, milestones, and tombstones. While some inscriptions are in Sanskrit, some are in Arabic. For example, the first set of coins issued by Bakhtiya Khilji bears both Arabic and Sanskrit inscriptions.
  • The monuments made by the Sultans provide details of the living conditions, faiths, beliefs, and level of science and technology which existed during the period. Domes, minarets, arches, and popped roofs were the four main architectural features of Turkish art.
  • The famous monuments built during the period were the Quwat-ul-Islam Mosque and Qutub Minar built by Qutb-ud-din Aibak in Delhi. He also built Adhai din ka Jhompara at Ajmer. The tomb of The Qutub Minar Iltutmish was built by Iltutmish himself. Alai Darwaza, Siri Fort, Hauz Khas and Zamat Khana Masjid in Delhi were built by Alauddin Khilji.
  • Qutb Minar is considered one of the most imposing structures constructed in medieval India. Its construction was started by Qutb-ud-din Aibak. The construction of Qutb Minar was completed by Iltutmish.

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