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Wedding procession of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah with Bhagmati.

Bhagamati (Hyder Mahal) was a queen of Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, in whose honor Hyderabad was supposedly named.[1] She is also known by the name Bhagyawati[2] There exists debate among scholars about whether there existed any Bhagamati at all and whether she influenced the naming.[3][4]

Popular narrative[edit]

Bhagmati was born in 'Chichlam' (place not identified with certainty) in a Hindu family; she was a local nautch-girl.[3] Qutb Shah met her whilst riding out, fell in love to the extent of having constructed Purana Pul as a means of meeting her regularly, and entered into a marriage.[3][5] Accordingly, the sultan founded a city around her birth-place and named it "Bhaganagar" or "Bhāgyanagar" in her honor.[4] After she converted to Islam and adopted the title Hyder Mahal, the city was renamed Hyderabad.[5]

Scholarly debates[edit]

That Purana pul was completed in 1578 after 2 years of construction; Qutb Shah (b:1566) was romancing Bhagmati as young as ten years.[3] Furthermore, no tomb was built over her last remains unlike other leading female figures of the court; no inscription or coin of that period mentions her name.[3][4] The chroniclers who mentioned of her were either from North of the Sultanate, who did not visit Hyderabad or foreigners, who arrived long after her death; contemporary Deccani sources including Qutb Shah himself don't mention of her at all.[4][5] The conferral of 'Hyder', an immensely sacred Islamic attribute on a nautch-girl has been doubted as well.[3][5] All these cast significant doubts on the authenticity of Bhagmati's existence.[4]

Some however assert that the historicity of multiple sources can't be rejected as hearsay due to their foreign nature, sources exist in that the State Museum in Public Gardens has a portrait of her commissioned around 1750, and that her conspicuous absence from Deccani sources were a result of damnatio memoriae.[4][5] Others believe Bhagnagar (which was indeed named after her) was a separate village which has nothing to do with today's Hyderabad.[4]


  1. ^ "Hyderabad or Bhagyanagar? The tiff continues". Deccan Chronicle. 29 April 2014. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  2. ^ Jagir Singh Bajwa, Ravinder Kaur (2007). Tourism Management. APH Publishing Corporation. p. 267. ISBN 8131300471.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Ifthekhar, J. S. (11 November 2013). "Did Bhagmati really exist?". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Ayoob Ali Khan, Mir (22 March 2010). "For Hyderabadis, Bhagmati is vital part of history | Hyderabad News - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 16 December 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ a b c d e Pillai, Manu S. (15 November 2018). "Opinion | A Hyderabadi conundrum". LiveMint. Retrieved 16 December 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)