Empires of the Deccan – 1,000 years of shifting sands

The Deccan’s diversity of art, culture and language is the result of centuries of shifting politics. Let’s get to know the prominent early and late-mediaeval kingdoms of this vast region through Sarmaya’s rare photographs, coins, books, engravings and maps

Golconda Fort (Inside view)

This is a photograph of the interiors of the Golconda Fort complex in Hyderabad by an unidentified photographer. During the Qutub Shahi Dynasty (16th-17th centuries), the Golconda Fort became a prominent power house. Ibrahim Qutub Shah (1518-1580) significantly strengthened the fort with stone and mortar during his reign, and it was subsequently fortified throughout succeeding… Read more »

Residency at Chaderghat, Hyderabad

This photograph of the British Residency in Hyderabad is attributed to Lala Deen Dayal (1844-1905). The British Residency, located on the banks of the Musi river, was built between 1803–1806 as a Palladian palace by Samuel Russell of Madras Engineers. It served as the official residence of the British officers appointed as the Resident at… Read more »

Mir Mahboob Ali Khan Siddiqi, Nizam of Hyderabad

This is a Carte de Visite portrait of the sixth Nizam, Asaf Jah VI Mir Mahboob Ali Khan Siddiqi, who reigned from 1869 to 1911.  During this time, he developed the railways and established cotton and silk mills in the State. In popular culture, Mahboob Ali Khan is probably best remembered for his legendary collection of gemstones,… Read more »

Rai Bahadur Shankar Rao, Hyderabad

This is a cabinet card print of Rai Bahadur Shankar Rao, Hyderabad by Lala Deen Dayal & Sons. After graduating from the prestigious Thomason College of Civil Engineering, today’s IIT Roorkee, Deen Dayal (1844-1905) landed a government job as a draughtsman in the Public Works Department in Indore. In a field dominated by Europeans, Deen… Read more »

Qutb Shahi Tombs, Hyderabad

This photograph of the Qutb Shahi Tombs in Hyderabad, is by Lala Deen Dayal (1844-1905). Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah founded the city in 1591 by, moving away from the historic capital at Golconda. The Qutb Shahi empire was founded by his grandfather, Sultan Quli Qutb Shah. Hailing from Hamdan in Persia (present-day Iran), he travelled… Read more »

Kam Bakhsh, Silver Rupee of Haidarabad Dar ul-Jihad Mint

After Aurangzeb’s death in the year 1707, a war of succession emerged among his three surviving sons. Muazzam, the Governor of Kabul, Azam, the Governor of Gujarat, and Kam Baksh who was the Governor of Deccan, fought each other for the throne. Towards Ahmednagar, Azam had proclaimed himself emperor while on the other hand, the… Read more »

Visiting Lala Deen Dayal’s India

In the mid-1870s, an Indian engineer emerged as an unlikely documentarian of both the British Raj and princely India. The story of Lala Deen Dayal is tied to the fortunes of Hyderabad and its flamboyant sixth Nizam

The Hyderabad Affair

If you’ve never been to Hyderabad, you might associate certain stereotypical things with it, like the jaw-dropping Nizam’s jewels that leave the vaults of the RBI to make their appearances at crowded exhibitions now and again. Or what many consider the definitive dum biryani—and they’re willing to fight you over this. Or the behemoth that… Read more »