Tughlaq Dynasty- Overview, Sultans, Architectural Wonders, Social Status

An Overview Of The Tughlaq Dynasty

Predominantly regulative of the affairs of the Sultanate of Delhi, the Tughlaq dynasty of Turkish-Indian descent reigned during the years of 1320 till 1412 AD. The Tughlaq dynasty that we know of today was spearheaded by Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq and his successor to the throne, Muhammed Tughlaq, dominating most of the Indian sub-continent under their rule. The Tughlaqs rose to power after the decline of the Khaliji dynasty when Khusro Khan caused friction in the Delhi Sultanate. Ghiyasuddin, who was then known as Ghazi Malik, was the governor overlooking the affairs over the region of Punjab under the Khilijis was called upon by the aristocrats and nobility of the Delhi Sultanate to eliminate Khusro Khan and to clear the chaos he had induced in the capital. In 1320, the same year Khusro Khan assumed power, Ghiyasuddin eliminated his existence with the help of Khokar tribe members and equally castigated Khusro Khan’s followers.  

Thus began the reign of the great Tughlaq dynasty, which showed promises of better beginnings.

Sultans Of The Tughlaq Dynasty

Here is a list of all the prominent Sultans of the Tughlaq dynasty from 1320 AD till 1412 AD by order of succession. 

Sultans Of The Tughlaq DynastyA Brief Description About The Period Of Their Reign 
Ghiyasuddin TughlaqRuled from 1320 – 1325 AD.
Established the Tughlaq dynasty
Eliminated the last of Khiliji dynasty to claim the throne to the Tughlaq dynasty.
Subdued and dealt with the rebellion from neighbouring provinces and persisted for accord and harmony.
Founder of Tughlaqabad.
He gave extreme importance to the working of the Judicial system and for law and order of his domain.
Brought order to the postal system.
Encouraged irrigation and cultivation of crops.
Muhammed TughlaqRuled from 1325 – 1351 AD.
Sound in astronomy, Logic and reasoning, mathematics, physical science and linguistics.
The Moroccan nomad Ibn Batutah has written an extensive account about the administrative policies and the empire under his command. 
Right after his ascension to the throne, by 1327, he had overpowered Warangal and captured the territory.
The infamous taxation of the Doab region was an evidential failure.
The shifting of the empire capital from Delhi to Devagiri and then again back to Delhi brought utter chaos to the lives of the inhabitants.
He popularized the idea of the copper monetary phenomenon.
Firoz Shah Tughlaq Ruled from 1351 – 1388 AD.
Translation of several Sanskrit texts and records in literature, science, arts and medicine ensued under his reign.
His journal Futuhat-I-Firoz-Shahi narrates his experiences and works.
He made the system of Iqtadari heritable.
Initiated Diwan-i-Istibqaq for the deprived so as to offer financial assistance.
Mohammed KhanRuled during the year 1388 AD.
Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq Shah IIRuled during the year 1388 AD.
Abu BaqrRuled from 1389 -1390 AD.
Nasiruddin MuhammadRuled from 1390 – 1394 AD.
HumayunRuled from 1394 – 1395 AD.
Nasiruddin MahmudRuled from 1395 – 1412 AD.

Architecture during the Tughlaq Dynasty

When cultures clash, there always tends to be a creative overflow of ideas and works of art, and that is what exactly occurred in the Indo-Islamic period of the Tughlaq dynasty. The amalgamation of the Indo-Islamic architecture led to an array of transformations in the already prevalent temples into mosques. This creative blend brought about the genesis of the Tughlaq architecture. A few conspicuous works of art include Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq’s Tughlaqabad. The entire city is majorly influenced by Roman architecture, with the palace being constructed with golden bricks, portraying the initial glorious days of the Tughlaqs. The tomb of Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq indicates the august style of architecture, which was beginning to pick up around that time.

Mohammed Tughlaq’s contributions included Jahan-Pannah, The Thousand Pillars (an incompleted work) and a double storied bridge of seven spans. The transfer of the skilled workers from Delhi to the new capital of Devagiri occurred around a similar time, causing a hindrance to the completion of the projects. 

Firoz Shah Tughlaq was a great patron of art and architecture, and it is vehemently reflected in his work. Most of his architectural works demonstrate the annihilation of the aboriginal resolve. Examples of his work include Ferozshah Kotla, Kali Masjid, Jaunpur, Begum-puri mosque. Khirki Masjid is a perfect exemplification of Firoz Shah’ creative outlook. The mosque is quadrangle shaped and is shielded by a roof which is uncommon for the construction of a mosque. The presence of domes and the latticework illustrate the influence of prevalent Turkish Islamic culture. 

Social Status Under The Reign Of The Tughlaq Dynasty

Slavery was a common practice during the reign of the Tughlaq dynasty. Every time they pillaged and plundered a new territory, especially those of the Hindu kingdoms, the people, including women and children, were taken in as slaves and sold in the market. Furthermore, the Sultan himself supported the cause, which included the trading of both Indian and foreign slaves of other ethnicities. Trade on people thrived, especially during the reign of Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq and his successor, Mohammad Tughlaq. Records show evidence of Mohammad Tughlaq sending slaves as gifts across international waters like China. 

Religious Practices During The Reign Of Tughlaq Dynasty

The Tughlaq dynasty followed the practices of Sunni Islam, although their subjects were mostly of Hindu origin. Former records show that Sultan Mohammad Tughlaq, who was well versed in all aspects regarding literature and education, was very tolerant of the religious practices of his subjects in his empire, reflecting the nature of his political leadership. He went as far as to participate in the religious festivals like Holi, much to the chagrin of his fellow brethren. In his journals, Scholar and Historian Ziauddin Barani say thus, “In the cities of the Musalmans the customs of infidelity are openly practised, idols are publicly worshipped, and traditions of infidelity are adhered to with greater insistence than before”, asserting his own displeasure at the Sultan’s cohesive behaviour. The Sultan’s tolerance for Hinduism caused alienation from his Muslim counterparts, resulting in an almost rebellious stage by the time Firoz Shah, his successor, took over. 

Firoz Shah Tughlaq, however, turned out to be extremely intolerant of Hindus, often necessitating the immediate conversion of Hindus with the threat of death looming over them. His actions were mostly in favour of the Sultanate and the Muslim nobility. He often consulted with the Muslim body Ulema for matters regarding the governing of the state. Firoz Shah’s successors and the dynasties that came into power after the Tughlaq Empire were moderately tolerant of the Hindus and their religious practices for fear of upsetting the political balance they managed to acquire, causing them to respect the various beliefs the indigenous people practised. 


Tughlaq Dynasty helped to integrate the most impressive cultures across the world, making the Delhi Sultanate a period of immense culture and religion. The gradual decline of the Tughlaq dynasty led to friction and disputes between the Muslim nobility and the Hindu chieftains who were striving to attain autonomy from the Muslims.

With the invasion of Timur, nearly everything in the Delhi sultanate was annihilated, including the buildings and the inhabitants, resulting in a devastating experience for those who were left alive. 


Who shifted the capital of the Delhi Sultanate from Delhi to Devagiri?

Mohammad Tughlaq transferred the capital from Delhi to Devagiri and back again.

Who established the Tughlaq Dynasty?

Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq was the founder and the first Sultan of the Tughlaq Dynasty.

Who introduced the token copper coin?

Mohammad Tughlaq introduced the copper coin in 1330, which turned out to be another failed venture.

Who invaded the Tughlaq controlled territory, leading to their decline by 1413?

Timur, the Turco-Mongol Emperor of the Timurid dynasty, invaded the Tughlaq held Indian sub-continent in 1398, causing the gradual and eventful decline of the empire.


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