Mahmud Begada

Sultan Abu'l Fath Nasir - ud - Din Mahmud Shah I
Reign May 25, 1458 November 23, 1511
Born 1445
Died 23 November 1511
Burial Sarkhej Roza, Ahmedabad
Religion Islam
Occupation Sultan of Gujarat

Sultan Abu'l Fath Nasir-ud-Din Mahmud Shah I, Mahmud Begarha, popularly known as Mahmud Begada (reigned May 25, 1458 November 23, 1511) was the most prominent sultan of Gujarat.[1] He was the great-grandson of Ahmad Shah I, the founder of the Muzaffarid dynasty, and of the city of Ahmedabad (Ahmed Aabad) in the present-day state of Gujarat, India. He was known to be quite religious. By his conquests, he expanded the territory of the Gujarat Sultanate to its maximum till its conquest of Malwa, and ruled for 43 years. He titled himself, Sultân al-Barr, Sultân al-Bahr, 'Sultan of the Land, Sultan of the Sea'. He was named Begada because he won two "Gadh" at a time which was Pavagadh and Junagadh.

He also founded a city called Mahemdabad in Gujarat sometimes also spelt as Memdavad is one of taluka place in Kheda district, Gujarat state of India. It is situated on the bank of river Vatrak on the main railway line between Ahmedabad and Mumbai. Mahemdabad is a serene place surrounded by lush green trees.

Mahemdabad has some historical places such as the Bhammariyo Kuvo (Kuvo meaning well), Chanda-Suraj No Mehal (Chanda meaning Moon, Suraj meaning Sun and Mehal meaning palace) as well as Roza- Rozi. It is believed that there are some underground secret routes connecting from Bhammariyo Kuvo to Ahemdabad, Pavagadh and Junagadh. The site is currently being restored and developed as a place of cultural heritage. Roza- Rozi is a popular picnic spot for the local residents and during the auspicious events of Eid, a funfair is set up in there. Chanda-Suraj no mehal is believed to have been built by the emperor as a resting place after he went for hunting.


One of his initial conquests was an attempt to quash the Khichi Chauhan Rajputs who held the Pavagadh fort. The young Sultan, after laying siege for 20 months, conquered the fort on 21 November 1484. He then transferred his capital to Champaner which he completely rebuilt at the foothills of the Pavagadh fort, calling it Muhammadabad. It took 23 years to build the town. The town finally succumbed to attacks from the Mughal Empire under Humayun in 1535.

Sultan Begada also built a magnificent Jama Masjid in Champaner, which ranks amongst the finest architectural edifices in Gujarat. It is an imposing structure on a high plinth with two tall minarets 30 m tall, 172 pillars and seven mihrabs.[2] The central dome, the placement of balconies and carved entrance gates with fine stone jalis. Other Champaner structures attributed to the Begada period are the Kevada Masjid, Citadel Jahanpanah, Shahar ki Masjid, the customs house, Nagina Masjid, Bava Man's Masjid, Khajuri Masjid, Ek Minar Masjid, and the Lila Gumbaz.[3]


The Sultan is also credited with capturing the island of Bombay from the Koli (fisherman) tribe, they were vassal of Bahmani Sultanate, before one of his descendants Bahadur Shah, handed the island over to the Portuguese in 1535.


He laid the foundation of the city of Mustafabad (now Junagadh) in 1479 A.D. Strong embankments were raised along the river, and the city was adorned with a palace, handsome buildings and extensive gardens.

Greater ambitions

The Sultan was ambitious and contacted the Ottoman Empire and the Sultan of Cairo to obtain reinforcements for a Muslim conquest of India. It was during his reign that the famous Battle of Chaul and the Battle of Diu took place.

One of his religious teachers was Imam al din `Abd al Raheem, also known as Sayyid Imam Shah, the founder of the Imam-Shahi faith.

Some European adventurers circulated popular tales about him under the erroneous name Turk Mahmud Shah I ("Begada"), "the Poison Sultan," and those became the source for the English satirist Samuel Butler's seventeenth-century lines: "The Prince of Cambay's daily food/ Is asp and basilisk and toad".

Monument builder

Mahmud Begada could well be among the most prolific monument builders of India. Apart from the many buildings in Champaner, he is also credited with the building or at least the completion of monuments (and now popular tourist attractions) like Sarkhej Roza.


He is believed to have died in the year 1511 because of failing health. He died at the age of sixty-six.

See also


  1. Sen, Sailendra (2013). A Textbook of Medieval Indian History. Primus Books. pp. 114–115. ISBN 978-9-38060-734-4.
  2. Chamaner
  3. Congress (2003). Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. Indian History Congress. p. 342. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
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