Exhibitions/ Sultans of Deccan India, 1500–1700: Opulence and Fantasy/ Exhibition Galleries/ Section Six

Section Six

Section 6: Golconda


Land of diamonds, Golconda was situated on the southeastern side of the Deccan. Its wealth came from its fertile farmlands and the goods, especially textiles, it sold to European merchants. Most legendary, though, were the massive gemstones from its mines that fascinated rulers around the world. The famous Kohinoor diamond (today part of the British Crown Jewels) is among the celebrated gems from Golconda.

The founder of Golconda's Qutb Shahi dynasty (1496–1687) had come to India from Iran, and the Qutb Shahis would continue to maintain strong contacts with that country, remaining staunch Shi`ites throughout their history. As the family became more integrated into their adopted land, they developed their love of local languages and festivals, celebrated in the poetry of the court. Golconda is also known for kalamkaris, textiles with complex compositions and patterning and colors that, to the amazement of all, remained bold and bright even with use and wash.