Sultan-Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk, the founder of this dynasty, traced his descent from a Turkish tribe known as Qara-Quyunlu. Most of the members of this tribe were killed by a hostile tribe Aq-Quyunlu (the white sheep) headed by Hasan.
However, Qutb-ul-Mulk’s grandfather Pir Quli escaped but finding the atmosphere very unsafe, his son Uwais-Quli sent his son Sultan-Quli to India. The latter was 20 years of age when he reached Deccan during the reign of the Bahmani Sultan Muhammad Shah III.
The stars of the Bahmanis were still on the ascendant with the dowager queen and Mahmud Gawan, the great wazir still at helm of affairs. But the situation changed with the death of the Queen in 1572 followed by the murder of Mahmud Gawan in 1582.
The Deccani-Afaqi quarrels further worsened the situation. Qasim Barid, as already narrated, raised himself to the position of a prime minister. These internecine feuds led to the dis-integration of the Bahmani Empire. The governors of the distant provinces such as Bijapur, Ahmadnagar, and Berar became autonomous.
It was during these critical times that Shah-Quli was able to rise from one position to another through his bravery, skill and statesmanship. The Tilangana province was posing a serious problem to the new Bahmani king Shihab-ud-din Mahmud. Sultan-Quli took upon this hazardous expedition and crushed the rebellion.
He further endeared himself to the Sultan when he saved his life in 1487 at the hands of rebellious Deccanis at Bidar. The rebellion of the thanedar of Goa, Bahadur Gilani, provided him with another opportunity.
He accompanied the Sultan along with Qutb-ul-Mulk Deccani. The latter was killed in a battle and the title of Qutb-ul-Mulk was conferred on him. He brought the campaign to a successful end and was awarded the governorship of Tilangana.
The weakness of the Bahmani kingdom led many of the governors to declare themselves independent and Qutb-ul-Mulk also assumed an autonomous position. But he continued to recognize the Bahmani sultans and send them rich presents. He did not assume the title of ‘Shah’ and till his end was known as Qutb-ul-Mulk.
Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk held at the time of his appointment as governor, the territory lying between the fortress of Golkonda and Warangal. Within this territory, he was anxious to select a centrally situated place for his capital.
The Golkonda hill which rises nearly four hundred feet from almost level ground and commands almost the whole area right up to the Godavari-Krishna doab was selected by him for this purpose. He laid the foundation of his capital near Golkonda and named it Mahmudnagar after the Bahmani sovereign.
He made it the seat of his government and strengthened the ramparts of the fort. He was anxious to extend his dominions but waited till the southern states were weakened through internecine wars. It was only in A.D. 1531 that he marched east-wards and captured Rajakonda and Devakonda.
It brought him into conflict with Achyuta Raya of Vijayanagar and a severe battle was fought at Pangal. Achyuta had to withdraw and the fort was captured by Qutb-ul-Mulk but the garrison was pardoned. He followed up with the capture of Ghanpura.
Qutb-ul-Mulk had now to face a powerful enemy in the person of Qiwam-ul-Mulk, a Bahmani noble who had occupied Elgandal and Malangur and even carried on raids in Telangana. Qiwamul was eventually defeated, and the forts recovered.
Qutb-ul-Mulk asked Darya of Berar to hand over the fugitive Qiwamul and also the territory of Haft Tappa which he had occupied. On his refusal, Qutb-ul-Mulk marched against him, defeated him and took possession of Haft Tappa.
Meanwhile, Shitab Khan had occupied Warangal. Qutb-ul-Mulk laid siege to the fort and captured it. But Shitab was able to get support from the chiefs of Kondapalli and Gajapati of Orissa but the allied armies were defeated at Palankchipur. A vast booty came into the hands of the conqueror who also occupied the whole of the coastline.