The birth of a cityMuhammad Quli Qutb Shah, a ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, was the founder of Hyderabad City. In the year 1591, when the Moon was in the constellation of Leo, Jupiter in its own abode and all celestial planets favourably placed, he laid the foundation of a new city which he called Bhagyanagar after his beloved queen ‘Bhagmati’. Bhagmati embraced Islam and took the name Hyder Mahal and consequently Bhagynagar was renamed Hyderabad after her.
City of LoveThe fourteen year old crown Sultan of Golconda, Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah was madly in love with beautiful Hindu courtesan ‘Bhagmati’, a local dancer. Every evening, the Prince of Golconda would ride to the village of Chichlam across Musi river, to meet his beloved, for he couldn’t live without watching her dance, and listening to her soulful voice.
Legend has it that once heavy rains and thunderstorm lashed Golconda and the city was devastated. Flood water of the Musi river destroyed many homes and lives.
Young Sultan of Golconda, Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah was worried for Bhagmati, so he decided to cross the flooded river to meet her. His Royal guards tried to stop him as it was very dangerous for the young sultan, but in vain. Prince rode to the shore of the Musi river. He coerced his horse to step into the river and as soon as it did, a furious current nearly swept it away. It was a miracle that both survived and reached the other end.
After crossing the Musi river, Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah rode towards the Chichlam village; he found many homes and lives were destroyed, he was searching for Bhagmati all the way and was praying for her safety.
Prince of Golconda found Bhagmati alive and felt happy after meeting her. After storm subsided, Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah and Bhagmati left for Golconda.
When Sultan Ibrahim, the father of the young Sultan heard this tale of dangerous passion, he was alarmed and forbade Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah from meeting Bhagmati. Young Sultan was miserable without her. Beautiful women from Armenia, Persia, Arab and different parts of India were brought to entertain the prince, but none could attract his attention away from his beloved ‘Bhagmati’.
Sultan Ibrahim found that his son loved only Bhagmati and no one else, no matter how beautiful she was. After seeing so much love for Bhagmati, Sultan Ibrahim constructed the Purana Pul (Old Bridge) – a massive stone bridge across the Musi River, to make it easy for the young Sultan to reach Chichlam to meet his beloved.
The romance of the crown Prince with a dancer evoked great curiosity and controversy in Golconda. The fact that the Bhagmati was a Hindu courtesan and much older than the prince, created quite a uproar in the court. The orthodox society was not ready to accept her as queen of Golconda. After ascending the throne, Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah defied all traditions, married Bhagmati, and made her his queen. He re-christened her Hyder Mahal, and named the city Hyderabad in honour of her.