Berar Sultanate

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Berar was one of the Deccan sultanates. It was established in 1490.

Berar in Ancient History[edit]

The origin of the name Berar or Warhad(वऱ्हाड) as it is spelled in Marathi, is not known. Possibly it may be a corruption of Vidarbha, the name of a kingdom in the Deccan which is mentioned in the Mahabharata.

The first authentic records show it to have been part of the Andhra or Satavahana empire. On the fall of the Chalukyas in the 12th century, Berar came under the sway of the Yadavas of Deogiri, and remained in their possession until the Muslim invasions at the end of the 13th century. On the establishment of the Bahmani Sultanate in the Deccan (1348), Berar was constituted one of the five provinces into which their kingdom was divided, being governed by great nobles, with a separate army. The perils of this system became apparent when the province was divided (1478 or 1479) into two separate provinces, named after their capitals Gawil and Mahur. The Bahmani dynasty was, however, already tottering to its fall.

During the disintegration of Bahmani sultanate, in 1490 Fath-ullah Imad-ul-Mulk, governor of Gawil, who had formerly held all Berar, proclaimed his independence and founded the Imad Shahi dynasty of Berar sultanate. He proceeded to annex Mahur to his new kingdom and had capital at Ellichpur. Imad-ul-Mulk was by birth a Kanarese Hindu, but had been captured as a boy in one of the expeditions against the Vijayanagara empire and reared as a Muslim. Gavilgad and Narnala were also fortified by him.

He died in 1504 and his successor, Ala-ud-din resisted the aggression of Ahmadnagar with the help from Bahadur Shah, sultan of Gujarat. The next ruler, Darya tried to align with Bijapur to prevent aggression of Ahamdnagar, but was unsuccessful. In 1574 when Burhan Imad Shah was deposed by his minister Tufal Khan, and assumed the kingship. This gave a pretext for the intervention of Murtaza Nizam Shah of Ahmednagar, who invaded Berar, imprisoned and put to death Tufal Khan, his son Shams-ul-Mulk, and the ex-king Burhan, and annexed Berar to his own dominions of Ahmednagar sultanate.

Sultans of Berar from Imad Shahi Dynasty[edit]

  1. Fath-Allah Imad-ul-Mulk 1490 – 1504
  2. Aladdin Imad Shah 1504 – 1529
  3. Darya Imad Shah 1529 – 1562
  4. Burhan Imad Shah 1562 – 1568[1]
  5. Tufail Khan (usurper) 1568 – 1572[2]

Chronology of Events in Berar[edit]

  • Mahabharat – Berar was Part of Vidarbha Kingdom
  • 322 BC-185 BC Under Mauryan Empire
  • 100 BC-199 Satavahana dynasty
  • 250 Vakataka dynasty starts
  • 510 Vakataka rules end
  • 510–580 Ahirs or Abhira rule for 67 years. Named forts of Gawilgad, Asirgad.[3]
  • 5xx-750 Chalukya dynasty
  • 750–973 Rashtrakuta dynasty
  • 973–1188 Chalukya dynasty again
  • 1188- Yadava of Deogiri
  • 1292 Invaded by Khilji
  • 1318 Annexed by Khilji to Delhi Sultanate
  • 1348 Berar becomes One of the five province of the Bahmani Sultanate
  • 1400 Firoz Shah Bahmani halts at Ellichpur and sends an expedition against Gond of Kherla.
  • 1425–1428 Ahmed Shah Wali of Bahmani repairs the forts of Gawilgad and Narnala
  • 1478 The Bahmanis divide Berar into the two provinces of Gawil and Mahur
  • 1490 Imad-ul-Mulk establishes Imad Shahi Dynasty of Berar as the Bahmani sultanate falls apart. Ellichpur made Capital of Berar.
  • 1504 Aladdin Imad Shah make Gawilgad his capital
  • 1529 Darya Imad Shah rules until 1562
  • 1562 Burhan Imad Shah overthrown in 1568
  • 1568 Tufal Khan Dakhni rules until 1572
  • 1572 Murtaza Nizam Shah of Ahmendnagar invades Berar and annexes it to its dominions
  • 1596 Chand Bibi cedes Berar to Akbar. Prince Murad settled at Balapur and renames it Shahapur.
  • 1598 Murad dies. Price Daniyal governs Berar, Khandesh and Ahmednagar
  • 1605 Daniyal dies and Malik Ambar governs Berar.
  • 1611 Malik Ambar defies Mughal sovereignty
  • 1614 Raja Man Singh, General of Jahangir, dies a natural death at Ellichpur.
  • 1636-1634 Aurangzeb becomes viceroy of the four Deccan subahs including Berar
  • 1653–1657 Aurangzeb becomes viceroy of the four Deccan subahs including Berar for the second time.
  • 1680 Sambhaji
  • 1698 Rajaram
  • 1720 Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath gets the right to collect revenue from Berar from the Mughal.
  • 1724 Asaf Jah establishes the Nizam State and invades Berar.
  • 1737 Asaf Jah and the Marathas fight for supremacy.
  • 1760 Berar ceded to the Maratha Peshwa
  • 1785 The Bhosla Raja of Nagpur governs Berar
  • 1803 Battle of Adgaon. The British transfer Berar to the Nizam.
  • 1822 The Marathas lose the right to tribute in Berar
  • 1853 The British East India Company manages Berar as one of the Hyderabad Assigned Districts of Nizam.
  • 1860 Nizam treaty modified
  • 1903 Berar attached to the Central Province, forming CP&Berar
  • 1947 CP & Berar becomes a province of independent India
  • 1950 CP, including Berar, renamed Madhya Pradesh
  • 1956 Berar and Nagpur become part of Bombay State
  • 1960 Bombay State split into Gujarat and Maharashtra; Berar included in new Maharashtra State

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Michell, George & Mark Zebrowski. Architecture and Art of the Deccan Sultanates (The New Cambridge History of India Vol. I:7), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1999, ISBN 0-521-56321-6, p.275
  2. ^ Robert Sewell. Lists of inscriptions, and sketch of the dynasties of southern India (The New Cambridge History of India Vol. I:7), Printed by E. Keys at the Government Press, 1884, , p.166
  3. ^ Imperial Gazetteer2 of India, Volume 7, page 366 – Imperial Gazetteer of India – Digital South Asia Library

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