The Wars & Campaigns of Ibrahim Adil Shahi II of Bijapur 1576-1626

v.1.0 March 7, 2005

Ravi Rikhye

Please be aware that there is disagreement on dates. Majumdar, for example, gives Ibrahim II's reign as 1580-1627.


  Bijapur formed a part of  Gulbarga province of the Bahmani kingdom founded by

  Alla- ud-in Hassan Gangu Bahmani  in 1347. When the Bahmani kingdom lost its 

  power  in the last decades of 15th century, the kingdom was broken up and

  Yusuf Adil Khan of Bijapur was one of provincial governors who declared

  independence. Bijapur, thus became a separate kingdom under the Adil Shahi 

  rulers in 1489. []


The 5 Kingdoms of the Bahmani Sultanate  The Adil Shahi Dynasty of Bijapur


SOURCE UNKNOWN: Kindly email us if you should know the origin of this map.

Ibrahim II

Adapted from RC Majumdar's "The Mughul Empire", which is Volume 7 in his monumental study "The History an Culture of the Indian People", pages 445-463. Bhartiya Vidhya Bhavan, Bombay. 1974.

Ibrahim II was 9 years of age when he ascended the throne of Bijapur. His uncle, Ali Adil Shahi I, ruled Bijapur before. Lacking any sons, Ali I designated Ibrahim, the son of his brother Tahmasp as his heir, and Chand Bibi, Ali I's wife, was entrusted with Ibrahim's education.

Chand Bibi's formal name was Chand Sultana, and she was the daughter of Husain Nizam Shahi I, another of the Bahmani Sultans who should have been just a governor responsible to the Bahmani Sultan at Bidar, but who broke away like all the other three governors.

Ibrahim was a musician, poet, and philosopher, and it is likely that is the way he would have wanted to be remembered.

Because of this, perhaps we should not be including him as one of the warrior kings of India. Many of our kings were also inclined to art/music, literature/architecture/religion; nonetheless, they were warriors first.

Be that as it may, Ibrahim II was one of the more important South Indian rulers of the years between the fall of the Tughlak empire - possibly the shortest-lived of empires encompassing all of India - and the absorption of the south into the Mughul Empire.

And if nothing else, his reign is worth covering because of his remarkable aunt, surely among the most powerful women in Indian history.

Chand Bibi and Ibrahim II's Regents

The military story of Ibrahim II's early years is really the story of Chand Bibi.

The first of Ibrahim II's regents was Kamal Khan Deccani [Kamal Khan of the Deccan]. But he showed disrespect to Chand Bibi, so she plotted to have Deccani killed and replaced by Haji Kishvar Khan, who became second regent.

Like his predecessor, Haji Kishvar Khan  assumed unbridled power in Bijapur. At first he did well, defeating at Dharaseo an invasion mounted by the Ahmadnagar Shahi sultan. The Ahmadnagar Shahis were another of the independent Bahmani rulers during the period of the Bahmani Sultanate's decline. The regent's victory was an overwhelming one, with all the artillery and elephants of the invading army falling to the Bijapur forces.

But then trouble began. The second regent, Haji Kishvar Khan, issued orders to the Bijapur generals to surrender, to him, all captured elephants. These animals were highly valued, and understandably, the generals, many of them princes in their own right, took great offense, retaliating by working to replace him with Mustafa Khan. Though Majumdar does not specifically say, presumably for lack of space, Chand Bibi must have been at the heart of this move.

Unfortunately, Haji Kishvar Khan learned of the conspiracy and had Mustafa Khan assassinated.*

This so enraged Chand Bibi that she challenged Haji Kishvar Khan,  and he responded by imprisoning her at Fort Satara.

The Regents of Ibrahim II

The position of regent for Ibrahim II does not seem to have been a secure job. This was because of the personal ambitions of the regents, unlike - for example - the regents who served Akbar long and faithfully.

  • Kamal Khan Deccani [from 1574]
  • Haji Kishvar Khan
  • [Mustafa Khan]*
  • Ikhlas Khan
  • Dilavar Khan [to ~ 1590]




 The already unpopular Haji Kishvar Khan had, however, made a fatal error by jailing a person who was morally ad legally regent for Ibrahim II, even if she looked to others to take the job. Haji Kishvar Khan was forced to flee in the face of a joint move to replace him. He was killed in exile by a relative of Mustafa Khan.

War Again With Ahmadnagar

Naturally, the divisions at the court of the Adil Shahis provided opportunities for their enemies. Ahmadnagar's Nizam Shahi sultan  returned to the offensive against Bijapur, this time allied with the Qutab Shahis of Golconda - yet another Bahmani Sultanate province that was being ruled independently.

The joint invaders invested Fort Naldurg, to no effect. The defenders fought off every attempt to capture it, and finally the invaders lifted their siege, intending instead to strike directly at Bijapur, the Adil Shahi capital.

Only 2-3,000 troops were available at Bijapur, an insignificant number given the huge mass armies of the day. Though reinforcements flowed into Bijapur, the dissensions took their toll, with many disagreements and desertions. But the attackers themselves had problems presenting a unified front, and were delayed in their assault on the capital.

An able general named Abu-'l-Hassan now proved to be Bijapur's savior. Appointed by Chand Bibi, he called for the Maratha forces in Carnatic. These troops used the harassing guerilla  tactics for which Shivaji was soon to become famous: the Marathas attacked the invaders' supply lines and succeeded to the extent the invaders were forced to retreat, facing starvation. The Marathas ignored the Ahmandnagar armies and instead pushed the Golcunda forces, according to Majumdar, to the gates of Golcunda itself.

Again, the reason for this move is not explained. Most likely, however, the Marathas made a cost-benefit judgment, and decided their chances for the most loot with the least risk lay at Golcunda.

The Rise and Fall of Dilavar Khan, Last Regent of Ibrahim II


This lovely photograph of Ibrahim II's tomb likely shows the structure as it would have appeared three-and-a-half centuries ago, disregarding the intrusion of the obviously current pipe and the equipment behind-right. It is likely the benches and the approach road were added in modern times, in the latter part of the 20th century. We'd love to know who the two sentry statutes flanking the main doorway represent. Picture credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.