For earlier history, see article MALWA.
The sultanate of Malwa was founded by Dilawar Khan Ghuri, the governor of the Delhi Sultanate in Malwa, who asserted his independence in 1392, but did not actually assume the ensigns of royalty till 1401. Initially Dhar was the capital of the new kingdom, but soon it was shifted to Mandu which was renamed Shadiabad (the city of joy). After his death, he was succeeded by his son Alp Khan, who assumed the title of Hoshang Shah. The Ghuri dynasty founded by Dilawar Khan Ghuri was replaced by Mahmud Shah I, who proclaimed himself king on May 16, 1436. The Khilji dynasty founded by him ruled over Malwa till 1531. Mahmud I was succeeded by his eldest son Ghiyas-ud-Din. The last days of Ghiyas-ud-Din was embittered by a struggle for throne between his two sons, Nasir-ud-Din and Ala-ud-Din. Nasir-ud-Din, however emerged victorious and ascended the throne on October 22, 1500. The last ruler Mahmud Shah II surrendered to Bahadur Shah, the sultan of Gujarat after the fort of Mandu fell to Bahadur on May 25, 1531.
During 1531 – 1537 the kingdom was under the control of Bahadur Shah though the Mughal emperor Humayun captured it for a short period during 1535-36. In 1537, Qadir Shah, an ex-officer of the previous Khilji dynasty rulers regained control over a part of the erstwhile kingdom. But in 1542, Sher Shah Suri conquered the kingdom defeating him and appointed Shuja'at Khan as the governor. His son, Baz Bahadur declared himself independent in 1555. In 1561, Akbar's army led by Adham Khan and Pir Muhammad Khan attacked Malwa and defeated Baz Bahadur in the battle of Sarangpur on 29 March, 1561. Akbar, soon recalled Adham Khan and made over command to Pir Muhammad. Pir Muhammad attacked Khandesh and proceeded up to Burhanpur but he was defeated by a coalition of three powers: Miran Mubarak Shah II of Khandesh, Tufal Khan of Berar and Baz Bahadur. Pir Muhammad died while retreating. The confederate army pursued the Mughals and drove them out of Malwa. Baz Bahadur regained his kingdom for a short period. In 1562, Akbar sent another army led by Abdullah Khan, the Uzbeg, which finally defeated Baz Bahadur. He fled to Chittor. It became a Subah of the Mughal empire and Abdullah Khan became its first governor.
Art and Architecture
Many remarkable illustrated manuscripts were prepared during the period of the sultanate. An illustrated manuscript of Kalpa Sutra (1439) (presently in the National Museum, Delhi) was prepared in Mandu during the reign of Mahmud Shah I But the most interesting is a manuscript of the Nimat Nama, a treatise on the art of cooking, which bears many portraits of Ghiyas-ud-Din Shah but the colophon bears the name of Nasir-ud-Din Shah. The other notable illustrated manuscripts of this period are of the Miftah-ul-Fuzala, a dictionary of rare words, the Bustan (1502) painted by Haji Mahmud and the Aja'ib-us-San'ati (1508). Another manuscript of the Anwar-i-Suhaili (now in the National Museum, Delhi) probably also belong to this period.
The monuments built during the sultanate period are almost concentrated in Mandu city. The early monuments were assembled out of the materials of earlier Hindu temples, according to the Islamic plan and convention. But nothing seems to have been done to conceal or alter their essential Hindu appearance. The significant among them are the Kamal Maula Masjid (c.1400), the Lal Masjid (1405), Dilawar Khan's Masjid (c.1405) and the Masjid of Malik Mughis (1452) in Mandu.
Hoshang Shah laid the foundation of the Mandu fort on the ruins of the original fortification. With him began the second and the classical phase of Malwa architecture. Some of the ten gateways on the 25 miles long wall of the fortress of Mandu were built by the Malwa sultans, the earliest one being the Delhi Darwaza (northern gateway). Within the walls of the fortress, presently only forty structures survive in different stages of preservation. The largest and most impressive of them is Jami Masjid, which according to an inscription was begun by Hoshang Shah and completed by Mahmud Shah I in 1454. The remarkable Durbar hall, known as the Hindola Mahal is also attributed to Hoshang Shah. Opposite to Jami Masjid, the large structural complex known as the Ashrafi Mahal comprises a group of buildings successively built in course of a rather long period. Its original nucleus seems to be a madrasa building erected as an adjunct to the Jami Masjid, probably during the reign of Hoshang Shah. According to Firishta, the tomb of Hoshang Shah was built by Mahmud Shah I. The later mausoleums, such as the tomb of Darya Khan, the Dai ka Mahal and the Chhappan Mahal were built on the same design. A long structural complex situated between two lakes has a curious name, the Jahaz Mahal (ship-palace). Though the date of this monument is not definitely known, its general style is in accord with the character of Ghiyas-ud-Din Khilji. A lonely building on the slope of a hill by the side of Riwa Kund is known by the local people as Baz Bahadur's palace. According to an inscription this monument was actually built by Nasir-ud-Din Shah. The Rani Rupmati Pavilion stands on the southern edge of the plateau and as its situation and form indicate, was, in all probability, designed for military purposes.
The Ghuri dynasty (1401–36)
The Khilji dynasty (1436–1531)
- Ala-ud-Din Mahmud Shah I 1436–1469
- Ghiyas-ud-Din Shah 1469–1500
- Nasir-ud-Din Shah 1500–1510
- Shihab-ud-Din Mahmud Shah II 1510–1531
- Bahadur Shah (the sultan of Gujarat) 1531–1537
- Humayun (Mughal emperor) 1535–1536
The later rulers
- Qadir Shah 1537–1542
- Shuja'at Khan (the governor of Sher Shah Suri) 1542–1555
- Baz Bahadur 1555–1561
- Majumdar, R.C. (ed.) (2006). The Delhi Sultanate, Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, pp.173-86
- Majumdar, R.C. (ed.) (2007) The Mughul Empire, Mumbai:Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, ISBN 81-7276-407-1, pp.112-3
- Khare, M.D. (ed.) (1981). Malwa through the Ages, Bhopal: the Directorate of Archaeology & Museums, Government of M.P., pp.193-5
- Majumdar, R.C. (ed.)(2007). The Mughul Empire, Mumbai:Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, ISBN 81-7276-407-1,pp.804-5
- Majumdar, R.C. (ed.)(2006). The Delhi Sultanate, Mumbai:Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, pp.702-9