Golconda’s Qutub Shahi dynasty.
Golconda was one of the most powerful states in the 15th century.
Under the Shia Islami Sultanate,
Golconda was famous for its magnificent buildings, gems and jewels.
The world’s most precious diamond, Koh-i-Noor, was found in Golconda.
Quli Qutub was the son of Ibrahim Quli, the Sultan of Golconda.
Quli Qutub was fond of reading books from a very young age.
He was a great scholar of Arabic, Persian and Telugu languages,
and also a well-known Urdu poet.
And as we know, poetry and love are never one without the other.
Quli Qutub yearned for inspiration
and that’s when Bhagmati came into his life.
Bhagmati grew up in the Devadasi tradition.
These were female artists who performed classical dances
as a service in the temples.
Bhagmati was an exquisite beauty
who looked even more beautiful when she’d sing and dance.
People from far-off places would come to hear her sing
and Quli Qutub was one among her admirers.
About 10 kms from Golconda and to the south of the River Musi
is where Bhagmati lived in the village of Chichlam.
Quli Qutub would cross the river every day
to meet Bhagmati.
He would take up the long journey every day only to hear Bhagmati sing.
Bhagmati would sing for him,
and he would listen to her for hours on end.
Quli Qutub would praise her to the skies.
It’s believed that Bhagmati was the muse of many of his poems.
It is also believed
that Bhagmati was enamoured with Quli Qutub at first sight.
She would also eagerly look forward to seeing him.
The whole world admired Bhagmati for her singing and dancing prowess,
but Quli Qutub was different.
Quli Qutub held her in high regard and also loved her.
Although he was a prince,
in her presence, he behaved like a commoner.
Since it was situated on the banks of the River Musi,
Bhagmati’s village often faced floods,
which caused the villagers great anguish.
Once, the Musi flooded so severely
that the people of Chichlam had to fight to survive.
When Quli Qutub found out about the devastating flood,
he immediately mounted his horse and left for Chichlam.
He realised that the currents were so strong
that crossing the river was now impossible.
His guards tried to stop him,
but Quli Qutub stubbornly entered the swollen river on his horse.
Quli Qutub fought against the rising level of the water
and strong currents, and didn’t give up.
He managed to make it safely to the other side with his horse.
When Sultan Ibrahim found out about his son’s antics,
he bristled with anger.
He forbade Quli Qutub from meeting Bhagmati.
However, when Sultan Ibrahim realised it made his son morose,
he regretted his decision.
He was overwhelmed by his son’s heartbreak.
The sultan let his son meet his lover again
but not before building a bridge over the Musi
so that Quli Qutub could cross the river without harm.
Quli Qutub was happy once again,
but there was another complication awaiting him.
Bhagmati was a Devadasi,
and Quli Qutub was a prince.
Their relationship was much debated over,
especially by folks of Chichlam who were of another faith.
There was also the matter of the age gap
as Quli Qutub was quite younger than Bhagmati.
Even this was called into question.
But these attitudes did not affect the couple.
Neither did Quli Qutub stop crossing the river to meet her,
nor did Bhagmati stop meeting him.
When Quli Qutub became the Sultan of Golconda,
he made Bhagmati his queen.
Furthermore, in her honour,
he established a vast city near her village Chichlam
and named it Bhagyanagar.
Legend has it that Rani Bhagmati later accepted Islam.
From then on, people started calling Bhagyanagar as Hyderabad.
Quli Qutub and Bhagmati’s love story is a beacon of hope for lovers
who dare to defy customs, traditions and rigid societal norms.
Despite all the hurdles, it is love that wins in this tale.
The love that made Quli Qutub a poet
turned a Devadasi into the Queen of Golconda.
Here is an enchanting tale.
How the eagerness of young love
can sometimes lead to its ruin.
Who would understand the innocent fervour of young love?
This is the story of the Poet Ambikapati and Princess Amaravati.