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Rinchan Shah
Sultan of Kashmir
First Muslim King of Kashmir of Zulchu Dynasty
1st Sultan of the Kashmir of Zulchu Dynasty
Reign1320–1323 CE
PredecessorShahdeva (1301-1302)
SuccessorKota Rani
Shah Mir 1339 – 1342
SpouseKota Rani
IssueHaidar Khan
Sultan Sadruddin Shah
HouseZulchu Dynasty
FatherLha-chen dnos-grub

Sadruddin Shah, also known as Rinchan, was the first Muslim ruler of Kashmir. He ruled Kashmir from 1320 to 1323 and was instrumental in establishing Islam in Kashmir. He was directly Influenced by Bulbul Shah. He is known by different versions of his names: Rinchana, Richan, Rinchan Shah, Rinchan Malik, Malik Rinchan.

Early Life and Ascension to the Throne[edit]

Rinchan, whose full name was Lhachan Gualbu Rinchana, was a Buddhist Prince from Ladakh, and the son of the Ladakh chief, Lhachan Ngos-gruba, who ruled Ladakh from 1290 to 1320. He revolted against his uncle, the ruler of Ladakh, but was defeated and fled to Kashmir.

Raja Suhadeva appointed Rinchan as a minister. A Muslim from Swat named Shah Mir was appointed as a minister in Kashmir by Suhadeva and he became good friend of Rinchan. Mongols under their leader Zulchu, invaded Kashmir with 70,000 soldiers and defeated Suhadeva, who fled to Tibet.

After the departure of Mongols, his prime minister, Ramachandra, took advantage of the anarchy and occupied the throne. He appointed Rinchan as an administrator. Rinchan became ambitious. He sent a force in the fort in the guise of merchants, who took Ramachandra's men by surprise. Ramachandra was killed and his family were taken prisoners. Rinchan married Ramachandra's daughter Kota and became the ruler of Kashmir.

Conversion to Islam and Later life[edit]

The Sufi missionaries from the Middle East and Central Asia had settled in Kashmir and had converted some Kashmiris to Islam. There was competition and conflict between Buddhism and Hinduism in the court of Rinchan.[1]

Rinchen was a pseudo- Buddhist and wanted to get initiated into Brahmanism to strengthen his political base in the Kashmir valley. Since Shaivism was the popular religion at the time in the valley, Rinchen approached Devaswami, the religious head of the Shaivas, for initiation into the Hindu religion. Devaswami, after holding a secret meeting on the subject with prominent Kashmiri Pandits of the time, refused to accept Rinchen into Hinduism.[2] Rinchan, at the hands of Bulbul Shah, converted to Islam and adopted the title of Sultan Sadruddin Shah. 10,000 of his subjects, including his brother-in-law Ravanachandra, converted along with him. Rinchan was attacked by rebels and was badly wounded. He died in 1323.


Rinchan Shah Shrine at River Jehlim Bank in Downtown Area

After conversion, he renamed Srinagar as Rinchanpora and built a mosque known as "Bod Masheed", meaning Big Mosque in Kashmiri . This was the first mosque to be built in Kashmir. The original structure was later burnt and replaced with a smaller structure. He also built another mosque at Ali Kadal. He built a khanqah in honor of his spiritual mentor Bulbul Shah. Attached to the khanqah was a langarkhana (public charity kitchen) known as Bulbul Lankar, where the poor were fed free-of-cost twice a day.


He had a son, Haidar Khan, by his queen Kota Rani, whom he entrusted to the care of his trusted minister Shah Mir. Shah Mir killed Haider and the other son of Kota Rani along with her when he usurped power from her.

Resting place[edit]

In 1909, Rinchan's grave was discovered near Bud Masheed by archaeologist, A. H. Francke.


  1. ^ "Shah-i-Hamadan, the "Apostle of Kashmir"". Kashmirfirst.com. 25 August 1943. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  2. ^ Rinchen wanted Hinduism first;Explore Kashmiri Pandits book. ISBN 9780963479860.

Buddhist Western Himalaya: A politico-religious history

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