Qutub Shahi Tombs-An Empire Rests Here

Recently for the biodiversity conference the city of Nizams and Qutub Shahi rulers was decked up to impress the foreign delegates. Many trees were uprooted to clean up the roads to the convention center in typical sarkari style totally forgetting the role the trees play in a city. But one good thing that happened to impress the delegates was that various government departments cleaned up some of the tourist attractions like Charminar, Salarjung museum, Golconda fort and also the Qutub Shahi tombs.

Our photography group HWS or Hyderabad Weekend Shoots organized an evening photo shoot at the Qutub Shahi tombs and we reached there in large numbers. I was one of the first ones to reach there and started clicking pictures to take advantage of the beautiful light.

At the entrance itself we were ambushed by newly trained guides who mistook us for delegates of the conference seeing all the guys with cameras. On learning that we are Desi Travelers who just want to click some pictures they were a bit disappointed and vanished like neta log after elections.

An emperor rests here.

The Qutub Shahi tombs have a unique place in the history of Deccan and India as buried here are the rulers of Deccan from 1518, till Aurangzeb captured the Golconda fort by deceit and took the last emperor prisoner and shifted him to Daulatabad. So except for the seventh king Tana Shah (Abdul Hasan Qutub Shah), the previous 6 rulers and other members of the royal family are resting here. For a long time the tombs were in bad shape, but now they have become a good tourist attraction and are being maintained by the government. In total there are 7 main tombs of which only one main tomb belongs to a women Hayat Bakshi Begum who was related to 5th, 6th and 7th Sultan. There are other minor tombs to various generals, physicians, relatives and also of singers Taramati and Premamati.

As the tombs are considered to be sacred by the locals in Hyderabad please take off your shoes before entering the individual tombs. You can wear your footwear while moving around. As the tombs are surrounded by very densely populated area they provided a green lung to the highly congested area around and you will find a lot of families with kids playing around. Please be careful not to take pictures of ladies and kids without permission as some of them could be sensitive about the same. I was trying to click some pictures of the reflection of one of the tomb in water and the result is the picture given below. You can see reflection of a family sitting on the edge of the water.

Reflections of the tomb and a family sitting next to a fountain

The tombs at one point must have been very grand and decorated; one can still see beautiful azure tiles on some of them. Each tomb though following same basic design has its own personality and the grandeur probably is a symbol of the financial health of the empire in those days. The tombs are very close to the Golconda fort and both can be covered in same day. In case you are not planning elaborate photography you can do Tombs first and then go to the fort to see the song and dance show. If you want to photograph the tombs in sunset then you have to them after the fort.
There are 2 water bodies in the tombs area, both were used as bathing places and both still have water, unfortunately people have been throwing all kind of stuff in them and they are not in very good shape. I wonder why we do not respect our heritage and make the very places we want to showcase to the world dirty. The good thing is that the tombs are very spread out and there is a lot of open space that is used for playing by lot of visitors. The area is full of green trees and small fountains some of which have water though we did not found any of the fountains working except for some water escaping from the broken pipes used for sprinkling the grass.

Incomplete tomb of Mirza Nizamuddin

A beautiful sunset at the Qutub Shahi tombs

While I was taking pictures in one of the step well I saw this young boy looking at me wondering what I am doing in the small stairs, I smiled to him and asked him with gesture if I can take his picture, he just nodded and we have this picture here. He looked very divine standing at the top of the narrow stairs in his spotless white Kurta pajama almost as if floating in air above the stairs. Later he came down as he wanted to clean his feet and hands in the ancient step well before offering his evening prayers.

A boy standing on the top of the stairs to the ancient well

Totally opposite to this boy was this other one hell bent on proving that Darwin was correct and if not all at least some humans evolved from monkeys.

Beautiful blue tiles are all gone except for some

True to the secular tradition of Hyderabad surrounded by tombs of Islamic emperors there is a small Hindu shrine under a huge tree managed by an old lady. The shrine seems to be highly revered by the locals as I could see fresh decorations and some left from Bonalu festival earlier in the year.

The tombs have ample parking space and you are allowed to take camera by paying 20 INR fee, the entry fee is INR 10 and the parking charges are INR 20. They are open from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm. There is also a small AP Tourism restaurant-Haritha, though we did not try it. Over all the tombs are a great place to visit, they are very close to the IT part as well as Old city and Golconda fort. If you like taking pictures they are a great place to capture a piece of history, as nowhere else a whole empire rests surrounded by the cacophony of a city they built hundreds of years ago. Do carry some mosquito repellent crème with you if you plan to stay till sunset.


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    • Priyay Manu jee : Bahut bahut dhanyawad itne umda comment ke liye. Apke is utsah badane wale comment ke liye aabharee hoon, or ummeed karta hoon kee age bhee aap ko mere post pasand ayenge…


  • Highly informative and yet, interesting blog. Hope you have not copyrighted HWS since I want to have a Saharanpur Holiday Shooters club here in my city also. The cleaning drive in Hyderabad has caused a lot of discomfort to Saharanpurians also since our CBS banking was adversely affected. We are given to understand that the while digging Earth and removing hanging cables, many optic fibre cables were accidentally cut. Well !

    The last photo (monochrome of the boy above the wall and the first one (tomb) are particularly appealing. On flickr, I have seen an amazing photograph of the place (an emperor rests here) taken by a photo enthusiast. The perspective chosen by him and the play of highlights and shadows was simply breathtaking. He had even strategically placed his wife in front of the tomb to take the picture.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Sushant: Thanks a lot for the encouragement. Please go ahead and use HWS as it is not copywrited by me or anybody. It is an open group of photographers at all level in Hyderabad. Hope to interact with you more often. thanks for liking the facebook page of Desi Traveler.

  • D.L.Narayan says:

    Warm welcome to ghumakkar, Desitraveller; you have made a spectacular debut. Of course, I have seen your well-informed comments over the past couple of months and was waiting for you to post a blog here.

    Great pics and elegant prose, especially liked the bit about the newly trained guides who “vanished like neta log after elections.” Looking forward to more such delightful posts from you.

  • Vipin says:

    DesiTraveler ji, welcome to the family of ghumakkars! Really liked the post especially the photos which are amazing.

    Keep travelling & keep sharing!!!

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Welcome aboard Desi Traveler.

    Fantastic debut, on one hand the pics are sublime and present a past which is gone by but the prose is peppy (ambushed by guides) and engaging. Guess the contrast is making this story a brilliant read.

    This is a FoG, First story on Qutub Shahi Tombs at Ghumakkar.

    I do not see the links and I guess the photos can be better placed. Would do both in a while. Please respond to comments as you find time and hope to read more of your stuff in coming times.

  • Dear Nandan: Thanks a lot for the warm welcome by you and all the fellow Ghumakkars. This is one place I will love to keep coming back…. Thanks for all the help with story.

  • Hi Desi Traveller

    From long time I was getting lot of appreciation from you in form of comments . This time I came to know somewhat about you through this post . Wonderful write up and excellent pictures. Short Classy and Sweet. You have an uncanny way of writing . please continue travelling ,clicking an writing .

    Waiting for your classy next.

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Very informative post.

    Looking forward for some more traveling experiences from you soon.

  • Abhee K says:


    Nice post. When I finished reading your post , I was surprised to see that it is your first post as I have received comments on my previous posts.In a way its a debut post but not debut appearance…

    Keep writing

  • you are write Abhee…… thanks…. :)

  • Nirdesh says:

    Hi Desi Traveller,

    Awesome Debut!

    Can you please share your camera specs? Are you using filters?

    The tomb reflected in water is a great photo.


  • Hi Nirdesh… thanks a lot… I use a Nikon D7000 for photogrpahy, though a lot of pics are taken with cellphone, when the purpose is to enjoy.
    The ones in this post are from Nikon D7000, with a 18-105 kit lens. No filters were used, a little bit of Lightroom 4 was used to change the tone etc. of pictures. I don’t use photoshop as it is too expensive and complex for a hobbyist.
    Please check more pictures at Facebook page of Desi Traveler at…. http://www.facebook.com/thedesitraveler

  • A warm welcome here (somehow I missed this post before) – just came to this space after your today’s post. A lot has already been said here and I am in the same page. Whenever I will visit Hyderabad, this will be on our list.

    You are a very good storyteller and have a sense of photography. I am sure we all will enjoy your post(s) like the two already posted.

    Take care,

  • Nirdesh Singh says:

    Hi Prasad,

    Finally i visited the Qutb Shahi tombs. The photo of the tomb reflection always stayed in my mind.

    Now AKTC is doing restoration work there and most baolis were closed . But what was surprising was that I went there thinking there were 7 tombs and I spent most of my budgeted 2 hours with them when to my horror i realised there are about 70 monuments in the park.

    So last half hour was literally spent running around the park as I had a flight to catch. The park will need minimum one day to cover.

  • I like the way you have so beautifully captured that young boy. the photo somehow says a lot.

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