The Third Battle of Panipat took place on 14 January 1761, at Panipat, about 60 miles (95.5 km) north of Delhi between a northern expeditionary force of the Maratha Empire and a coalition of the King of Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Durrani with two Indian Muslim allies—the Rohilla Afghans of the Doab, and Shuja-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Oudh. Militarily, the battle pitted the French-supplied artillery and cavalry of the Marathas against the heavy cavalry and mounted artillery(zamburak and jizail) of the Afghans and Rohillas led by Ahmad Shah Durrani and Najib-ud-Daulah, both ethnic Pashtuns (the former is also known as Ahmad Shah Abdali). The battle is considered one of the largest fought in the 18th century,and has perhaps the largest number of fatalities in a single day reported in a classic formation battle between two armies.
The decline of the Mughal Empire following the 27-year Mughal-Maratha war (1680–1707) had led to rapid territorial gains for the Maratha Empire. Under Peshwa Baji Rao, Gujarat and Malwa came under Maratha control. Finally, in 1737, Baji Rao defeated the Mughals on the outskirts of Delhi, and brought much of the former Mughal territories south of Delhi under Maratha control. Baji Rao's son, Balaji Baji Rao(popularly known as Nana Saheb), further increased the territory under Maratha control by invading Punjab in 1758. This brought the Marathas into direct confrontation with the Durrani empire of Ahmad Shah Abdali. In 1759 he raised an army from the Pashtun tribes and made several gains against the smaller Maratha garrisons in Punjab. He then joined with his Indian allies—the Rohilla Afghans of the Gangetic Doab—forming a broad coalition against the Marathas. The Marathas, under the command of Sadashivrao Bhau, responded by gathering an army of between 45,000–60,000, which was accompanied by roughly 200,000 non-combatants, a number of whom were pilgrims desirous of making pilgrimages to Hindu holy sites in northern India. The Marathas started their northward journey from Patdur on the 14th of March, 1760. Both sides tried to get the Nawad of Awadh, Shuja-ud-Daulah, into their camp. By late July, Shuja-ud-Daulah made the decision to join the Afghan-Rohilla coalition, preferring to join what was perceived as the 'army of Islam'. This was strategically a major loss for the Marathas, since Shuja provided much needed finances for the long Afghan stay in North India. It is doubtful whether the Afghan-Rohilla coalition would have the means to continue their conflict with the Marathas without Shuja's support.
The slow-moving Maratha camp finally reached Delhi on the 1st of August, 1760, and took the city the next day. There followed a series of skirmishes along the banks of the river Yamuna, and a battle at Kunjpura, which the Marathas won against an Afghan garrison of about 15,000 (at this time, Abdali and the other Afghan forces were on the eastern side of the Yamuna river). However, Abdali daringly crossed the river Yamuna on the 25th of October at Baghpat, cutting off the Maratha camp from their base in Delhi. This eventually turned into a two-month-long siege led by Abdali against the Marathas in the town of Panipat. During the siege both sides tried to cut off the other's supplies. At this the Afghans were considerably more effective, so that by the end of November 1760 they had cut off almost all food supplies into the besieged Maratha camp (which had about 250,000 to 300,000, most of whom were non-combatants). According to all the chronicles of the time, food in the Maratha camp ran out by late December or early January and cattle died by the thousands. Reports of soldiers dying of starvation began to be heard in early January. On the 13th of January the Maratha chiefs begged their commander, Sadashiv Rao Bhau, to be allowed to die in battle than perish by starvation. The next day the Marathas left their camp before dawn and marched south towards the Afghan camp in a desperate attempt to break the siege. The two armies came face-to-face around 8:00 a.m., and the battle raged until evening.
The specific site of the battle itself is disputed by historians, but most consider it to have occurred somewhere near modern-day Kaalaa Aamb and Sanauli Road. The battle lasted for several days and involved over 125,000 troops. Protracted skirmishes occurred, with losses and gains on both sides. The forces led by Ahmad Shah Durrani came out victorious after destroying several Maratha flanks. The extent of the losses on both sides is heavily disputed by historians, but it is believed that between 60,000–70,000 were killed in fighting, while the numbers of injured and prisoners taken vary considerably. According to the single best eye-witness chronicle- the bakhar by Shuja-ud-Daulah's Diwan Kashi Raj, about 40,000 Maratha prisoners were slaughtered in cold blood the day after the battle. Grant Duff includes an interview of a survivor of these massacres in his History of the Marathas and generally corroborates this number. Shejwalkar, whose monograph Panipat 1761 is often regarded as the single best secondary source on the battle, says that "not less than 100,000 Marathas (soldiers and non-combatants) perished during and after the battle."
The result of the battle was the halting of further Maratha advances in the north, and a destabilization of their territories, for roughly 10 years. This period of 10 years is marked by the rule of Peshwa Madhavrao, who is credited with the revival of Maratha domination following the defeat at Panipat. In 1771, 10 years after Panipat, he sent a large Maratha army into North India in an expedition that was meant to (a) re-establish Maratha domination in North India, and (b) Punish refractory powers that had either sided with the Afghans, such as the Rohillas, or had shaken off Maratha domination after Panipat. The success of this campaign can be seen as the last saga of the long story of Panipat.


LahoreMultanKashmir and other subahs on this side of Attock are under our rule for the most part, and places which have not come under our rule we shall soon bring under us. Ahmad Shah Durrani's son Timur Shah Durrani and Jahan Khan have been pursued by our troops, and their troops completely looted. Both of them have now reachedPeshawar with a few broken troops . . . So Ahmad Shah Durrani has returned to Kandahar with some 12-14 thousand broken troops.. Thus all have risen against Ahmad who has lost control over the region. We have decided to extend our rule up to Kandahar.

Decline of Mughal Empire

The Mughal Empire had been in decline since the death of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1707 due to rise of Marathas. The decline was accelerated by the invasion of India by Nadir Shah in 1739. Continued rebellions by the Marathas in the south, and the de facto separation of a number of states (including Hyderabad and Bengal), weakened the state further. Within a few years of Aurangzeb's death, the Marathas had reversed all his territorial gains in the Deccan and had conquered almost all Mughal territory in central and northern India. Mughals had thus become just the titular heads of Delhi. At the same time Punjab saw frequent invasions by Ahmad Shah Abdali, the great Punjabi poet Baba Waris Shah said of the situation, "khada peeta wahy da, baqi Ahmad Shahy da"--"we have nothing with us except what we eat and wear, all other things are for Ahmad Shah". Abdali appointed his son, Timur Shah Durrani, as his governor in Punjab and Kashmir. In 1758 the Maratha Empire's Gen. Raghunathrao marched onwards, attacked and conquered Lahore and Peshawar and drove out Timur Shah DurraniLahoreMultanKashmir and other subahs on the south and eastern side of Peshawar were under the Maratha rule for the most part. In Punjab and Kashmir the Marathas were now major players.

Rise of the Marathas

The Marathas had gained control of a considerable part of India in the intervening period (1707–1757). In 1758 they occupied Delhi, captured Lahore and drove out Timur Shah Durrani, the son and viceroy of the Afghan ruler, Ahmad Shah Abdali. This was the high-water mark of the Maratha expansion, where the boundaries of their empire extended in the north to the Indus and the Himalayas, and in the south nearly to the extremity of the peninsula. This territory was ruled through the Peshwa, who talked of placing his son Vishwasrao on the Mughal throne.However, Delhi still remained under the nominal control of Mughals, key Muslim intellectuals including Shah Waliullah and other Muslim clergy in India who were alarmed at these developments. In desperation they appealed to Ahmad Shah Abdali, the ruler of Afghanistan, to halt the threat.


"The lofty and spacious tents, lined with silks and broadcloths, were surmounted by large gilded ornaments, conspicuous at a distance... Vast numbers of elephants, flags of all descriptions, the finest horses, magnificently caparisoned ... seemed to be collected from every quarter ... it was an imitation of the more becoming and tasteful array of the Mughuls in the zenith of their glory." – Grant Duff, describing the Maratha army.
Ahmad Shah Durrani (Ahmad Shah Abdali), angered by the news from his son and his allies, was unwilling to allow the Marathas' spread go unchecked. By the end of 1759 Abdali with his Afghan tribes and his Rohilla ally Najib Khan had reached Lahore as well as Delhi and defeated the smaller enemy garrisons. Ahmed Shah, at this point, withdrew his army to Anupshahr, on the frontier of the Rohilla country, where he successfully convinced the Nawab of Oudh Shuja-ud-Daula to join his alliance against the Marathas—in spite of the Marathas time and again helping and showing sympathy towards Shuja-ud-daula. The Nawab’s mother was of the opinion that he should join the Marathas. The Marathas had helped Safdarjung (father of Shuja) in defeating Rohillas in Farrukhabad. However, Shuja was very much ill-treated in the Abdali camp. Abdali was an Afghan Sunni Muslim and Shuja was a Persian Shia Muslim.
The Marathas under Sadashivrao Bhau (referred to as the Bhau or Bhao in sources) responded to the news of the Afghans' return to North India by raising a big army, and they marched North. Bhau's force was bolstered by some Maratha forces under HolkarScindiaGaikwad and Govind Pant Bundela. Suraj Mal, the Jat ruler of Bharatpur, also had joined Bhausaheb but left midway. This combined army of over 100,000 regular troops captured the Mughal capital, Delhi, from an Afghan garrison in December 1759. Delhi had been reduced to ashes many times due to previous invasions, and in addition there being acute shortage of supplies in the Maratha camp. Bhau ordered the sacking of the already depopulated city.He is said to have planned to place his nephew and the Peshwa's son, Vishwasrao, on the Mughal throne. The Jats did not support the Marathas. Their withdrawal from the ensuing battle was to play a crucial role in its result.

Initial skirmishes

After the Marathas failed to prevent Abdali's forces from crossing the Yamuna River, they set up defensive works in the ground near Panipat, thereby blocking his access back to Afghanistan, just as his forces blocked theirs to the south. However, on the afternoon of 26 October Ahmad Shah's advance guard reached Sambalka, about halfway between Sonepat and Panipat, where they encountered the vanguard of the Marathas. A fierce skirmish ensued, in which the Afghans lost 1000 men killed and wounded but drove the Marathas back to their main body, which kept retreating slowly for several days. This led to the partial encirclement of the Maratha army. In skirmishes that followed, Govind Pant Bundela, with 10,000 light cavalry who weren’t formally trained soldiers, was on a foraging mission with about 500 men. They were surprised by an Afghan force near Meerut, and in the ensuing fight Bundela was killed. This was followed by the loss of another 2,000 Maratha soldiers who were delivering the army's payroll from Delhi. This completed the encirclement, as Ahmad Shah had cut off the Maratha army's supply lines.
With both sides poised for battle, there followed much maneuvering, with skirmishes between the two armies fought at Karnal and KunjpuraKunjpura, on the banks of the Yamuna River 60 miles to the north of Delhi, was stormed by the Marathas and the whole Afghan garrison was killed or enslaved. Marathas achieved a rather easy victory at Kunjpura, although there was a substantial army posted there. Some of Abadali's best generals were killed. Ahmad Shah was encamped on the left bank of the Yamuna River, which was swollen by rains, and was powerless to aid the garrison. The massacre of the Kunjpura garrison, within sight of the Durrani camp, exasperated him to such an extent that he ordered crossing of the river at all costs. Ahmed Shah and his allies on 17 October 1760, broke up from Shahdara, marching south. Taking a calculated risk, Abdali plunged into the river, followed by his bodyguards and troops. Between 23 and 25 October they were able to cross at Baghpat(a small town about 24 miles up the river), as a man from the village, in exchange for money, showed Abdali a way through Yamuna, from where the river could be crossed, unopposed by the Marathas who were still preoccupied with the sacking of Kunjpura.
With supplies and stores dwindling, tensions rose in the Maratha camp as the mercenaries in their army were complaining about not being paid. Initially the Marathas moved in almost 150 pieces of modern long-range, French-made artillery. With a range of several kilometres, these guns were some of the best of the time. The Marathas' plan was to lure the Afghan army to confront them while they had close artillery support.

Before the battle

During the next two months of the siege constant skirmishes and duels took place between units and individual champions from either side. In one of these Najib lost 3,000 of his Rohillas and was very nearly killed but ran away. Facing a potential stalemate, Abdali decided to seek terms, which Bhau was willing to consider. However, Najib Khan delayed any chance of an agreement with an appeal on religious grounds and sowed doubt about whether the Marathas would honour any agreement.
After the Marathas moved from Kunjpura to Panipat, Diler Khan Marwat, with his father Alam Khan Marwat and a force of 2500 Pashtuns, attacked and took control of Kunjpura, where there was a Maratha garrison of 700–800 soldiers. At that time Atai Khan Baluch, son of the Wazir of Abdali, came from Afghanistan with 10,000 cavalry and cut off the supplies to the Marathas.The Marathas at Panipat were surrounded by Abdali in the south, Pashtun Tribes (Yousuf Zai, Afridi, Khattak) in the east, Shuja, Atai Khan and others in the north and other Pashtun tribes (Gandapur, Marwat, Durranis and Kakars) in the west. Abdali had also ordered Wazir Shaha Wali Khan Afridi and others to keep a watch in the thorny jungles surrounding Panipat. Thus, all supplies lines were cut.
The Marathas’ difficulty in obtaining supplies worsened as the local population became hostile to them, since in the Marathas' desperation to secure provisions they had pillaged the surrounding areas.
While Sadashivrao Bhau was still eager to make terms, a message was received from the Peshawa insisting on going to war and promising that reinforcements were under way. Unable to continue without supplies or wait for reinforcements any longer, Bhau decided to break the siege. His plan was to pulverise the enemy formations with cannon fire and not to employ his cavalry until the Afghans were thoroughly softened up. With the Afghans broken, he would move camp in a defensive formation towards Delhi, where they were assured supplies.


The Maratha lines began a little to the north of Kala Amb. They had thus blocked the northward path of Abdali's troops and at the same time were blocked from heading south—in the direction of Delhi, where they could get badly needed supplies—by those same troops. Bhau, with the Peshwa's son and the household troops, was in the centre. The left wing consisted of the gardis under Ibrahim Khan. Holkar and Sindhia were on the extreme right.


The Maratha line was to be formed up some 12 km across, with the artillery in front, protected by infantry, pikemen, musketeers and bowmen. The cavalry was instructed to wait behind the artillery and bayonet-wielding musketeers, ready to be thrown in when control of the battlefield had been fully established. Behind this line was another ring of 30,000 young Maratha soldiers who were not battle-tested, and then the roughly 30,000 civilians entrained. Many were middle-class men, women and children on their pilgrimage to Hindu holy places and shrines. Behind the civilians was yet another protective infantry line, of young, inexperienced soldiers.
On the other side the Afghans formed a somewhat similar line, probably a few metres to the south of today's Sanauli Road. Their left was being formed by Najib and their right by two brigades of Persian troops. Their left centre was led by two Viziers, Shuja-ud-daulah with 3,000 soldiers and 50–60 cannons and Ahmad Shah's Vizier Shah Wali with a choice body of 19,000 mailed Afghan horsemen. The right centre consisted of 15,000 Rohillas under Hafiz Rahmat and other chiefs of the Rohilla Pathans. Pasand Khan covered the left wing with 5,000 cavalry, Barkurdar Khan and Amir Beg covered the right with 3,000 Rohilla cavalry with the choicest Persian horses. Long-range musketeers were also present during the battle. In this order the army of Ahmed Shah moved forward, leaving him at his preferred post in the centre, which was now in the rear of the line, from where he could watch and direct the battle.

Early phases

Before dawn on 14 January 1761, the Maratha troops broke their fast with the last remaining grain in camp and prepared for combat, coming from their lines with turbans disheveled and turmeric-smeared faces. They emerged from the trenches, pushing the artillery into position on their prearranged lines, some 2 km from the Afghans. Seeing that the battle was on, Ahmad Shah positioned his 60 smooth-bore cannon and opened fire. However, because of the short range of the Afghan weapons and the static nature of the Maratha artillery, the Afghan cannons proved ineffectual.
The initial attack was led by the Maratha left flank under Ibrahim Khan, who in his eagerness to prove his worth advanced his infantry in formation against the Rohillas and Shah Pasand Khan. The first salvos from the Maratha artillery went over the Afghans' heads and did very little damage. Nevertheless, the first Afghan attack was broken by Maratha bowmen and pikemen, along with a unit of the famed Gardi musketeers stationed close to the artillery positions. The second and subsequent salvos were fired at point-blank range into the Afghan ranks. The resulting carnage sent the Rohillas reeling back to their lines, leaving the battlefield in the hands of Ibrahim for the next three hours, during which the 8,000 Gardi musketeers killed about 12,000 Rohillas.
In the second phase, Bhau himself led the charge against the left-of-center Afghan forces, under the Afghan Vizier Shah Wali Khan. The sheer force of the attack nearly broke the Afghan lines, and soldiers started to desert their positions in the confusion. Desperately trying to rally his forces, Shah Wali appealed to Shuja ud Daulah for assistance. However, the Nawab did not break from his position, effectively splitting the Afghan force's center. Despite Bhau's success, the overenthusiasm of the charge and a phenomenon called "Dakshinayan" on that fateful day, the attack itself failed because the sunlight shone directly into the eyes of the attackers' horses, many of them half-starved Maratha mounts who were exhausted long before they had traveled the two kilometers to the Afghan lines; some simply collapsed.

Final phase

In the final phase the Marathas, under Scindia, attacked Najib. Najib successfully fought a defensive action, however, keeping Scindia's forces at bay. By noon it looked as though Bhau would clinch victory for the Marathas once again. The Afghan left flank still held its own, but the centre was cut in two and the right was almost destroyed. Ahmad Shah had watched the fortunes of the battle from his tent, guarded by the still unbroken forces on his left. He sent his bodyguards to call up his 15,000 reserve troops from his camp and arranged them as a column in front of his cavalry of musketeers (Qizilbash) and 2,000 swivel-mounted shutarnaals or Ushtranaal—cannons—on the backs of camels. The shaturnals, because of their positioning on camels, could fire an extensive salvo over the heads of their own infantry at the Maratha cavalry. The Maratha cavalry was unable to withstand the muskets and camel-mounted swivel cannons of the Afghans. They could be fired without the rider having to dismount and were especially effective against fast-moving cavalry. He therefore sent 500 of his own bodyguards with orders to raise all able-bodied men out of camp and send them to the front. He sent 1,500 more to any those front-line troops who attempted to flee the battle and kill without mercy any soldier who would not return to the fight. These extra troops, along with 4,000 of his reserve troops, went to support the broken ranks of the Rohillas on the right. The remainder of the reserve, 10,000 strong, were sent to the aid of Shah Wali, still labouring unequally against the Bhao in the centre of the field. These mailed warriors were to charge with the Vizir in close order and at full gallop. Whenever they charged the enemy in front, the chief of the staff and Najib were directed to fall upon either flank.
With their own men in the firing line, the Maratha artillery could not respond to the shathurnals and the cavalry charge. Some 7,000 Maratha cavalry and infantry were killed before the hand-to-hand fighting began at around 14:00. By 16:00 the tired Maratha infantry began to succumb to the onslaught of attacks from fresh Afghan reserves, protected by armoured leather jackets.


Sadashivrao Bhau, seeing his forward lines dwindling and civilians behind, had not kept any reserves, and upon seeing Vishwasrao disappear in the midst of the fighting, he felt he had no choice but to come down from his elephant and lead the battle. Taking advantage of this, some Afghan soldiers who had been captured by the Marathas earlier during the siege of Kunjpura revolted. The slaves deliberately spread rumours about the defeat of the Marathas. This brought confusion and great consternation to loyal Maratha soldiers, who thought that the enemy had attacked from their rear. Some Maratha troops, seeing that their general had disappeared from his elephant, panicked and began to flee.
Abdali had given a part of his army the task of surrounding and killing the Gardis under Ibrahim Khan Gardi, who were at the leftmost part of the Maratha army. Bhausaheb had ordered Vitthal Vinchurkar (with 1500 cavalry) and Damaji Gaikwad (with 2500 cavalry) to protect the Gardis. However, after seeing the Gardis fight, they lost their patience, became overenthusiastic and decided to fight the Rohillas themselves. Thus they broke the round—they didn’t follow the idea of round battle and went all out on the Rohillas, and the Rohilla riflemen started accurately firing at the Maratha cavalry, which was equipped only with swords. This gave the Rohillas the opportunity to encircle the Gardis and outflank the Maratha centre while Shah Wali pressed on attacking the front. Thus the Gardis were left defenceless and started falling one by one.[11]
Vishwasrao had already been killed by a shot to the head. Bhau and his loyal bodyguards fought to the end, the Maratha leader having three horses shot out from under him. At this stage Holkar, realising the battle was lost, broke from the Maratha left flank and retreated.The Maratha army was routed and fled under the devastating attack. While 15,000 soldiers managed to reachGwalior, the rest of the Maratha forces—including large numbers of non-combatants—were either killed or captured.


The Afghans pursued the fleeing Maratha army and civilians. The Maratha front lines remained largely intact, with some of their artillery units fighting until sunset. Choosing not to launch a night attack, many Maratha troops escaped that night. Bhau's wife Parvatibai, who was assisting in the administration of the Maratha camp, escaped to Pune with her bodyguard (Janu Bhintada).

Reasons for the outcome

Durrani had both numeric as well as qualitative superiority over Marathas. The combined Muslim army was much larger than that of Marathas. Though the infantry of Marathas was organized along European lines and their army had some of the best French-made guns of the time, their artillery was static and lacked mobility against the fast-moving Afghan forces. The heavy mounted artillery of Afghans proved much better in the battlefield than the light artillery of Marathas.
The main reason for the failure of the Marathas was that they went to war without good allies. They were expecting support from their allies- RajputsJats and Sikhs, but none of them supported Marathas in the battle. The Marathas had interfered in the internal affairs of the Rajput states (present-day Rajasthan) and levied heavy taxes and huge fines on them. They had also made large territorial and monetary claims upon Awadh. Their raids in the Jat territory had resulted in the loss of trust of Jat chiefs like Suraj Mal. They had, therefore, to fight their enemies alone. Marathas treated Sikhs, who assisted them in their north-west conquest as a non-entity in Punjab affairs. According to an assessment, the Sikhs were ever ready to co-operate with the Marathas, but it goes to the discredit of the Marathas that they did not make a proper confederacy with Sikhs. Kirpal Singh writes.
"Unlike Ahmad Shah Abdali who subsequently raised a cry of jihad, the Marathas couldn't mobilize their resources and make a common cause with the Sikhs in order to pay the Afghan Emperor in his own coin."
Moreover, the senior Maratha chiefs constantly bickered with one another. Each had ambitions of carving out their independent states and had no interest in fighting against a common enemy.[21]Some of them didn't support the idea of a round battle and wanted to fight using guerilla tactics instead of charging the enemy head-on.The Marathas were fighting alone at a place which was 1000 miles away from their capital Pune.
The Maratha army was also burdened with over 300,000 pilgrims who wished to worship at Hindu places of worship like Mathura, Prayag, Kashi, etc. The pilgrims wanted to accompany the army, as they would be secure with them. Apart from just fighting the battle, the Maratha troops had the responsibility to protect the non-combatants from Afghans. That was the reason why Marathas suffered heavy losses even after the battle. They could not retreat quickly as they were to protect the non-combatants who were accompanying them.
Peshwa's decision to appoint Sadashivrao Bhau as the Supreme Commander instead of Malharrao Holkar or Raghunathrao proved to be an unfortunate one, as Sadashivrao was totally ignorant of the political and military situation in North India.
If Holkar had remained in the battlefield, the Maratha defeat would have been delayed but not averted. Ahmad Shah’s superiority in pitched battle could have been negated if the Marathas had conducted their traditional ganimi kava, or guerrilla warfare, as advised by Malharrao Holkar, in Punjab and in north India. Abdali was in no position to maintain his field army in India indefinitely. Marathas had used guerrilla warfare in North India. The Turki horses could not have handled the plundering and cutting of supply lines by the Marathas.
Najib, Shuja and the Rohillas knew North India very well and that most of North India had allied with Abdali. Abdali used shaturnals, camels with mobile artillery pieces at his disposal. He was also diplomatic, striking agreements with Hindu leaders, especially the Jats and Rajputs, and former rivals like the Nawab of Awadh, appealing to him in the name of religion. He also had better intelligence on the movements of his enemy, which played a crucial role in his encirclement of the enemy army.

Massacres after the battle

Mass of surrendered Maratha soldiers were handcuffed and then murdered, their heads chopped off by Afghans. The Afghan cavalry and pikemen ran wild through the streets of Panipat, killing tens of thousands of Maratha soldiers and civilians. The women and children seeking refuge in streets of Panipat were hounded back in Afghan camps as slaves. Children over 14 were beheaded before their own mothers and sisters. Afghan officers who had lost their kin in battle were permitted to carry out massacres of 'infidel' Hindus the next day also, in Panipat and the surrounding area. They arranged victory mounds of severed heads outside their camps. According to the single best eye-witness chronicle- the bakhar by Shuja-ud-Daula's Diwan Kashi Raj, about 40,000 Maratha prisoners were slaughtered in cold blood the day after the battle.According to Mr. Hamilton of Bombay Gazette about half a million Marathi people were present there in Panipat town and he gives a figure of 70,000 prisoners as executed by Afghans. Many of the fleeing Maratha women jumped into the Panipat wells rather than risk rape and dishonour.
Abdali's soldiers took about 22,000 Hindu women and young children and brought them to their camps. The women were raped in the camp, many committed suicide because of constant rapes perpetrated on them. All of the prisoners were exchanged or sold as sex slaves in Afghanistan, transported on bullock carts, camels and elephants in bamboo cages.
Siyar-ut-Mutakhirin says .
The unhappy prisoners were paraded in long lines, given a little parched grain and a drink of water, and beheaded... and the women and children who survived were driven off as slaves - twenty-two thousand, many of them of the highest rank in the land.


Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao, uninformed about the state of his army, was crossing the Narmada with reinforcements when a tired charkara arrived with a cryptic message: "Two pearls have been dissolved, 27 gold coins have been lost and of the silver and copper the total cannot be cast up". The Peshwa never recovered from the shock of the total debacle at Panipat. He returned to Pune and died a broken man in a temple on Paravati Hill.
The bodies of Vishwasrao and Bhau were recovered by the Marathas and were cremated according to Hindu custom. Bhau's wife Parvatibai was saved by Holkar, per the directions of Bhau, and eventually returned to Pune.
Jankoji Scindia was taken prisoner and executed at the instigation of Najib. Ibrahim Khan Gardi was tortured and executed by enraged Afghan soldiers, when they caught him performing the last rites of his master Sadashivraobhau and Vishwasrao. The Marathas never fully recovered from the loss at Panipat, but they remained the predominant military power in India and managed to retake Delhi 10 years later. However, their claim over all of India ended with the three Anglo-Maratha Wars, almost 50 years after Panipat.
The Jats under Suraj Mal benefited significantly from not participating in the Battle of Panipat. They provided considerable assistance to the Maratha soldiers and civilians who escaped the fighting. Suraj Mal himself was killed in battle against Najib-ud-Daula in 1763. Ahmad Shah's victory left him, in the short term, the undisputed master of North India. However, his alliance quickly unravelled amidst squabbles between his generals and other princes, the increasing restlessness of his soldiers over pay, the increasing Indian heat and arrival of the news that Marathas had organised another 100,000 men in the south to avenge their loss and rescue captured prisoners. Before departing, he ordered the Indian chiefs, through a Royal Firman (order) (including Clive of India), to recognise Shah Alam II as Emperor.
Ahmad Shah also appointed Najib-ud-Daula as ostensible regent to the Mughal Emperor. In addition, Najib and Munir-ud-daulah agreed to pay to Abdali, on behalf of the Mughal king, an annual tribute of four million rupees. This was to be Ahmad Shah's final major expedition to North India, as he became increasingly preoccupied with the increasingly successful rebellions by the Sikhs.
Shah Shuja was to regret his decision to join the Afghan forces. In time his forces became embroiled in clashes between the orthodox Sunni Afghans and his own Shia followers. He is alleged to have later secretly sent letters to Bhausaheb through his spies regretting his decision to join Abdali.
After the Battle of Panipat the services of the Rohillas were rewarded by grants of Shikohabad to Nawab Faiz-ullah Khan and of Jalesar and Firozabad to Nawab Sadullah Khan. Najib Khan proved to be an effective ruler. However, after his death in 1770, the Rohillas were defeated by the British East India Company.
Marathas re-captured Delhi and restored their power in North India after ten years of the battle by 1771 under Peshwa Madhavrao.


The Third Battle of Panipat saw an enormous number of deaths and injuries in a single day of battle. It was the last major battle between indigenous South Asian military powers until the creation of Pakistan in 1947.
To save their kingdom, the Mughals once again changed sides and welcomed the Afghans to Delhi. The Mughals remained in nominal control over small areas of India, but were never a force again. The empire officially ended in 1857 when its last emperor, Bahadur Shah II, was accused of being involved in the Sepoy Mutiny and exiled.
The Marathas' expansion was stopped in the battle, and infighting soon broke out within the empire. They never regained any unity. They recovered their position under the next PeshwaMadhavrao I and by 1771 were back in control of the north, finally occupying Delhi. However, after the death of Madhavrao, due to infighting and increasing pressure from the British, their claims to empire only officially ended in 1818 after three wars with the British.
Meanwhile the Sikhs—whose rebellion was the original reason Ahmad invaded—were left largely untouched by the battle. They soon retook Lahore. When Ahmad Shah returned in March 1764 he was forced to break off his siege after only two weeks due to a rebellion in Afghanistan. He returned again in 1767, but was unable to win any decisive battle. With his own troops complaining about not being paid, he eventually abandoned the district to the Sikhs, who remained in control until 1849.
The Marathi term "Sankrant Kosalali"  meaning "Sankranti has befallen us", is said to have originated from the events of the battle. There are some verbs in the Marathi language related to this loss as "Panipat zale" [a major loss has happened]. This verb is even today used in Marathi language. A common pun is "Aamchaa Vishwaas Panipataat gela" [we lost our own (Vishwas) faith since Panipat]. Many historians, including British historians of the time, have argued that had it not been for the weakening of Maratha power at Panipat, the British might never have gotten a strong foothold in India.
The battle proved the inspiration for Rudyard Kipling's poem "With Scindia to Delhi".
"Our hands and scarfs were saffron-dyed for signal of despair,
When we went forth to Paniput to battle with the ~Mlech~ (Muslims),
Ere we came back from Paniput and left a kingdom there."
It is, however, also remembered as a scene of valour on both sides. Santaji Wagh's corpse was found with over 40 mortal wounds. The bravery of Vishwa Rao, the Peshwas son, was acknowledged even by the Afghans. Yashwantrao Pawar also fought with great courage, killing many Afghans.
Afghan military prowess was to inspire hope in many orthodox Muslims and Mughal royalists and fear in the British.

MAHARASTRA ....continue

Shivaji Bhosale  (19 February 1627 – 3 April 1680), was the founder of the Maratha Empire, which lasted until 1818, and at its peak covered much of the Indian subcontinent. An aristocrat of the Bhosle Maratha clan, Shivaji led a resistance to free the Maratha people from the Adilshahi sultanate of Bijapur and the Mughal Empire and established a Hindavi Swarajya ("self-rule of Hindu people"). He created an independent Maratha kingdom with Raigad as its capital, and was crowned chhatrapati ("paramount sovereign") of the Marathas in 1674.
Shivaji established a competent and progressive civil rule with the help of a disciplined military and well-structured administrative organisations. He innovated military tactics, pioneering the guerilla Shiva sutra or ganimi kava methods, which leveraged strategic factors like geography, speed, and surprise and focused pinpoint attacks to defeat his larger and more powerful enemies. From a small contingent of 2,000 soldiers inherited from his father, Shivaji created a force of 100,000 soldiers; he built and restored strategically located forts both inland and coastal to safeguard his territory. He revived ancient Hindu political traditions and court conventions, and promoted the usage of Marathi and Sanskrit, rather than Persian, in court and administration.

Early life
Shivaji's father Shahaji Bhosale was the leader of a band of mercenaries that serviced the Deccan Sultanates. His mother was Jijabai, the daughter of Lakhujirao Jadhav of Sindkhed. At the time of Shivaji's birth, the power in Deccan was shared by three Islamic sultanates: Bijapur, Ahmednagar, andGolconda. Shahaji often changed his loyalty between the Nizamshahi of Ahmadnagar, the Adilshah of Bijapur and the Mughals, but always kept hisjagir (fiefdom) at Pune and his small army with him. Following a treaty between the Mughals and the Bijapur Sultanate, Shahaji was posted to aBangalore-based jagir, while Jijabai and Shivaji remained in Pune.

Shahaji, meanwhile had married a second wife, Tuka Bai Mohite, and moved to take an assignment in Karnataka, leaving Shivaji and his mother in Pune. Shahaji entrusted the two to his friend Dadoji Kondadev Kulkarni, who provided them a mansion to live in, profitably administered the Pune jagir, and mentored the young Shivaji. The boy was a keen outdoorsman, but had little formal education, and was likely illiterate. Shivaji drew his earliest trusted comrades and a large number of his soldiers from the Maval region, including Yesaji Kank, Suryaji Kakade, Baji Pasalkar, Baji Prabhu Deshpande and Tanaji Malusare.In the company of his Maval comrades, Shivaji wandered over the hills and forests of the Sahyadri range, hardening himself and acquiring first-hand knowledge of the land, which was to later prove applicable to his military endeavours.Shivaji was extremely devoted to his mother Jijabai, who was deeply religious. This religious environment had a great impact on Shivaji, and he carefully studied the two great Hindu epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata; these were to influence his lifelong defence of Hindu values. Throughout his life he was deeply interested in religious teachings, and regularly sought the company of Hindu and Sufi saints.
At the age of 12, Shivaji was taken to Bangalore where he, his elder brother Sambhaji and his stepbrother Ekoji I were further formally trained. He married Saibai, a member of the prominent Nimbalkar family in 1640. At age of 14, he returned to Pune with a rajmudra (sovereign seal) and a ministerial council.Around 1645-6, the teenage Shivaji first expressed his concept for Hindavi swarajya, in a letter to Dadaji Naras Prabhu.

Conflict with Adilshahi sultanate
In 1645, the 16 year old Shivaji bribed or persuaded the Bijapuri commander of the Torna Fort, Inayat Khan, to hand over the possession of the fort to him. Firangoji Narsala, who held the Chakan fort professed his loyalty to Shivaji and the fort of Kondana was acquired by bribing the Adilshahi governor. On 25 July 1648, Shahaji was imprisoned by Baji Ghorpade under the orders of the current Adilshah, Mohammed Adil Shah, in a bid to contain Shivaji.
Adilshah sent an army led by Farradkhan against Shivaji's brother Sambhaji at Bangalore, where Sambhaji defeated them in battle. Another army led by Fattekhan was defeated by Shivaji in the Battle of Purandar. Meanwhile, Shivaji had petitioned the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan's son, Murad Baksh, who was governor of Deccan, pledging his loyalty to the Mughals to seek his support in securing the release of his father. The Mughals recognised Shivaji as a Mughal sardar and pressured Adilshah to release Shahaji. Accounts vary, with some saying Shahaji was conditionally released in 1649 after Shivaji and Sambhaji surrendered the forts of Kondhana, Bangalore and Kandarpi,Others saying he was imprisoned until 1653 or 1655; during this period Shivaji maintained a low profile.After his release, Shahaji retired from public life, and died around 1664-1665 during a hunting accident. Following his father's death, Shivaji resumed raiding, seizing the kingdom of Javali from a neighbouring Maratha chieftain in 1656.

Combat with Afzal Khan

The two met in a hut at the foothills of Pratapgad fort on 10 November 1659. The arrangements had dictated that each come armed only with a sword, and attended by a follower. Shivaji, either suspecting Afzal Khan would attack him or secretly planning to attack, wore armour beneath his clothes, concealed a bagh nakh (metal "tiger claw") on his left arm, and had a dagger in his right hand. Accounts vary on whether Shivaji or Afzal Khan struck the first blow the Maratha chronicles accuse Afzal Khan of treachery, while the Persian-language chronicles attribute the treachery to Shivaji. In the fight, Afzal Khan's dagger was stopped by Shivaji's armour, and Shivaji's weapons inflicted mortal wounds on the general; Shivaji then signalled his hidden troops to launch the assault on the Bijapuris.
In 1659, Adilshah sent Afzal Khan, an experienced and veteran general to destroy Shivaji in an effort to put down what he saw as a regional revolt. Afzal Khan desecrated Hindu temples at Tuljapur and Pandharpur, hoping to draw Shivaji to the plains where the superior Bijapuri army could destroy him. Shivaji, however, sent a letter to Afzal Khan requesting a meeting to negotiate.

Battle of Pratapgarh
To counter the loss at Pratapgad and to defeat the newly emerging Maratha power, another army, this time numbering over 10,000, was sent against Shivaji, commanded by Bijapur's Abyssinian general Rustamjaman. With a cavalry force of 5,000 Marathas, Shivaji attacked them nearKolhapur on 28 December 1659. In a swift movement, Shivaji led a full frontal attack at the center of the enemy forces while two other portions of his cavalry attacked the flanks. This battle lasted for several hours and at the end Bijapuri forces were soundly defeated and Rustamjaman fled the battlefield. Adilshahi forces lost about 2,000 horses and 12 elephants to the Marathas. This victory alarmed Aurangazeb, who now derisively referred to Shivaji as the "Mountain Rat", and prepared to address this rising Maratha threat.

Siege of Panhala

During the bombardment of Panhala, Siddhi Jahuar had purchased grenades from the British at Rajapur to increase his efficacy, and also hired some English artillerymen to bombard the fort, conspicuously flying a flag used by the English. This perceived betrayal angered Shivaji, who in December would exact revenge by plundering the English factory at Rajapur and capturing four of the factors, imprisoning them until mid-1663.
In 1660, Adilshah sent the his general Siddi Jauhar to attack Shivaji's southern border, in alliance with the Mughals who planned to attack from the north. At that time, Shivaji was encamped at Panhala fort near present-day Kolhapur with his forces. Siddi Jauhar's army besieged Panhala in mid-1660, cutting off supply routes to the fort. Shivaji escaped from the encircled fort, and withdrew to RangnaAli Adil Shah arrived in person at Panhala, and the fort fell after four months of siege; Shivaji would later re-take Panahal in 1673.

Battle of Pavan Khind

In the ensuing Battle of Pavan Khind, the smaller Maratha force, dual-wielding dand patta swords, held back the larger enemy for seven hours to buy time for Shivaji to escape. Baji Prabhu Deshpande was wounded but continued to fight until he heard the sound of cannon fire from Vishalgad, signalling Shivaji had safely reached the fort, on the evening of 13 July 1660.The battle resulted in the death of 300 Marathas and 3,000 Adilshahi troops.
Observing that enemy cavalry was fast closing in on them, Shivaji sought to avoid defeat and capture. Baji Prabhu Deshpande, a Maratha sardar of Bandal Deshmukh along with 300 soldiers, volunteered to fight to the death to hold back the enemy at Ghod Khind to give Shivaji and the rest of the army a chance to reach the safety of the Vishalgad fort.
Thereafter a truce was made between Shivaji and Adilshah through Shahaji. Per the accord, Panhala Fort was awarded to Siddi Jauhar.Ghod Khind (khind meaning "a narrow mountain pass") was renamed Paavan Khind ("sacred pass") in honour of Bajiprabhu Deshpande, Shibosingh Jadhav, Fuloji, and all other soldiers who fought in there.

Clash with the Mughals
Up until 1657, Shivaji maintained peaceful relations with the Mughal Empire. Shivaji offered his assistance to Aurangzeb in conquering Bijapur and in return, he was assured of the formal recognition of his right to the Bijapuri forts and villages under his possession. Shivaji's confrontations with the Mughals began in March 1657, when two of Shivaji's officers raided the Mughal territory near Ahmednagar. This was followed by raids in Junnar, with Shivaji carrying off 300,000 hun in cash and 200 horses. Aurangzeb responded to the raids by sending Nasiri Khan, who defeated the forces of Shivaji at Ahmednagar. However, the countermeasures were interrupted by the rainy season and the battle of succession for the Mughal throne following the illness of Shah Jahan.

Attack on Shaista Khan
Upon the request of Badi Begum of Bijapur, Aurangzeb sent his maternal uncle Shaista Khan, with an army numbering over 150,000 along with a powerful artillery division in January 1660 to attack Shivaji in conjunction with Bijapur's army led by Siddi Jauhar. Shaista Khan, with his better equipped and provisioned army of 300,000 seized Pune and the nearby fort of Chakan, besieging it for a month and a half until breaching the walls. Shaista Khan pressed his advantage of having a larger, better provisioned and heavily armed Mughal army and made inroads into some of the Maratha territory, seizing the city of Pune and establishing his residence at Shivaji's palace of Lal Mahal.
In April 1663, Shivaji launched a surprise attack on Shaista Khan in Pune; accounts of the story differ in the popular imagination, but there is some agreement that Shivaji and band of some 200 followers infiltrated Pune, using a wedding procession as cover. They overcame the palace guards, breached the wall, and entered Shaista Khan's quarters, killing those they found there. Shaista Khan escaped, losing his thumb in the melee, but one of his sons and other members of his household were killed. The Khan took refuge with the Moghul forces outside of Pune, and Aurangzeb punished him for this embarrassment with a transfer to Bengal.
An Uzbek general, Kartalab Khan, was sent by Shaista Khan to attack and reduce the number of forts under Shivaji's control in the Konkan region on 3 February 1661. The 30,000 Mughal troops left Pune, marching through the back-country in an attempt to surprise the Marathas. In the Battle of Umberkhind, Shivaji's forces ambushed and enveloped them with infantry and light cavalry in the dense forests of Umber Khind pass near present-day Pen. With defeat inevitable, the Mughal commander, a Maratha woman named Raibagan, advised Kartalab to parley with Shivaji, who allowed the Mughals to surrender all their supplies and arms, and depart with safe passage.In retaliation for Shaista Khan's attacks, and to replenish his now-depleted treasury, in 1664 Shivaji sacked the city of Surat, a wealthy Mughal trading centre.

Treaty of Purandar
In the Treaty of Purandar, signed between Shivaji and Jai Singh on 11 June 1665, Shivaji agreed to give up 23 of his forts and pay compensation of 400,000 rupees to the Mughals. He also agreed to let his son Sambhaji become a Mughal sardar, serve the Mughal court of Aurangzeb and fight alongside the Mughals against Bijapur. He actually fought alongside Jai Singh's against Bijapur's for a few months. His commander Netaji Palkar joined the Mughals, was rewarded very well for his bravery, converted to Islam, changed his name to Quli Mohammed Khan in 1666 and was sent to the Afghan frontier to fight the restive tribes. He returned to Shivaji's service in 1676 after ten years with the Mughals, and was accepted back as a Hindu on Shivaji's advice.

Arrest in Agra and escape
In 1666, Aurangzeb invited Shivaji to Agra, along with his nine-year-old son Sambhaji. Aurangzeb's plan was to send Shivaji to Kandahar, now in Afghanistan, to consolidate the Mughal empire's northwestern frontier. However, in the court, on 12 May 1666, Aurangzeb made Shivaji stand behind mansabdārs (military commanders) of his court. Shivaji took offence and stormed out of court, and was promptly placed under house arrest under the watch of Faulad Khan, Kotwal of Agra. Shivaji's spies informed him that Aurangzeb planned to move Shivaji to Raja Vitthaldashaveli and then to possibly kill him or send him to fight in the Afghan frontier, so Shivaji planned his escape.
Shivaji feigned severe illness and requested to send most of his contingent back to the Deccan, thereby ensuring the safety of his army and deceiving Aurangzeb. Thereafter, on his request, he was allowed to send daily shipments of sweets and gifts to saints, fakirs, and temples in Agra as offerings for his health. After several days and weeks of sending out boxes containing sweets, Shivaji and Sambhaji hid themselves in two of the boxes escaped on 22 July 1666. Shivaji and his son fled to the Deccan disguised as sadhus (holy men). After the escape, rumours of Sambhaji's death were intentionally spread by Shivaji himself in order to deceive the Mughals and to protect Sambhaji. Other sources claim that Shivaji simply disguised himself as a Brahmin priest after performance of religious rites at the haveli grounds and escaped by mingling within the departing priestly entourage of Pandit Kavindra Paramananda.


Dealings with the English
After Shivaji's escape, hostilities ebbed and a treaty lasted until the end of 1670, when Shivaji launched a major offensive against Mughals, and in a span of four months recovered a major portion of the territories surrendered to Mughals. During this phase, Tanaji Malusare won the fort of Sinhgad in theBattle of Sinhgad on 4 Feb 1670, dying in the process. Shivaji sacked Surat for second time in 1670; while he was returning from Surat, Mughals under Daud Khan tried to intercept him, but were defeated in the Battle of Vani-Dindori near present-day Nashik.

In October 1670, Shivaji sent his forces to harass the British at Bombay; as they had refused to sell him war materiel, his forces blocked Bombay's woodcutting parties. In September 1671, Shivaji sent an ambassador to Bombay, again seeking materiel, this time for the fight against Danda-Rajpuri; the British had misgivings of the advantages Shivaji would gain from this conquest, but also did not want to lose any chance of receiving compensation for his looting their factories at Rajapur. The British sent Lieutenant Stephen Ustick to treat with Shivaji, but negotiations failed over the issue of the Rajapur indemnity. Numerous exchanges of envoys followed over the coming years, with some agreement as to the arms issues in 1674, but Shivaji was never to pay the Rajpur indemnity before his death, and the factory there dissolved at the end of 1682.

Battle of Nesari
In 1674, Prataprao Gujar, the then commander-in chief of the Maratha forces, was sent to push back the invading force led by the Adilshahi general, Bahlol Khan. Prataprao's forces defeated and captured the opposing general in the battle, after cutting-off their water supply by encircling a strategic lake, which prompted Bahlol Khan to sue for peace. In spite of Shivaji's specific warnings against doing so Prataprao released Bahlol Khan, who started preparing for a fresh invasion.

Shivaji sent a displeased letter to Prataprao, refusing him audience until Bahlol Khan was re-captured. In the ensuing days, he learnt of Bahlol Khan having camped with 15,000 force at Nesari near Kolhapur. Not wanting to risk losing his much smaller Maratha force entirely, Prataprao and six of his sardards attacked in a suicide mission, buying time for Anandrao Mohite to withdraw the remainder of the army to safety.The Marathas avenged the death of Prataprao by defeating Bahlol Khan and capturing his jagir (fiefdom) under the leadership of Anaji and Hambirao Mohite. Shivaji was deeply grieved on hearing of Prataprao's death; he arranged for the marriage of his second son, Rajaram, to Prataprao's daughter. Anandrao Mohite became Hambirrao Mohite, the new sarnaubat (commander-in-chief of the Maratha forces). Raigad Fort was newly built  byHiroji Indulkar as a capital of nascent Maratha kingdom.

Shivaji was crowned king of the Marathas in a lavish ceremony at Raigad on 6 June 1674.In the Hindu calendar it was on the 13th day (trayodashi) of the first fortnight of the month of Jyeshtha in the year 1596.Pandit Gaga Bhatt officiated, holding a gold vessel filled with the seven sacred waters of the rivers YamunaIndusGangesGodavariKrishna and Kaveri over Shivaji's head, and chanted the coronation mantras. After the ablution, Shivaji bowed before Jijabai and touched her feet. Nearly fifty thousand people gathered at Raigad for the ceremonies. Shivaji was bestowed with the sacred thread jaanva, with the Vedas and was bathed in an abhisheka. Shivaji was entitled Shakakarta ("founder of an era")and Kshatriya Kulavantas ("head of Kshatriyas"),and Chhatrapati ("paramount sovereign").
Shivaji had acquired extensive lands and wealth through his campaigns, but lacking a formal title was still technically a Mughal zamindar or the son of an Adilshahi jagirdar, with no legal basis to rule his de facto domain. A kingly title could address this, and also prevent any challenges by other Maratha leaders, to whom he was technically equal; it would also would provide the Hindu Marathas with a fellow Hindu sovereign in a region otherwise ruled by Muslims.
His mother Jijabai died on 18 June 1674, within a few days of the coronation. Considering this a bad omen, a second coronation was carried out 24 September 1674, this time according to the Bengali school of Tantricism and presided over by Nischal Puri.
The state as Shivaji founded it was a Maratha kingdom, but over time it was to increase in size and heterogeneity, and by the time of the Peshwas in the early 18th century was a full-fledged empire, with Shivaji as its historical founder

Conquests in Southern India

In the run-up to this expedition Shivaji appealed to a sense of Deccani patriotism, that the "Deccan" or Southern India was a homeland that should be protected from outsiders.[40] His appeal was somewhat successful and he entered into a treaty with the Qutubshah of the Golconda sultanate that covered the eastern Deccan. Shivají's conquests in the south proved quite crucial during future wars; Gingee served as Maratha capital for nine years during the Maratha War of Independence.
Beginning in 1674, the Marathas undertook an aggressive campaign, raiding Khandesh (October), capturing Bijapuri Phonda (April 1675), Karwar (mid-year), and Kolhapur (July). In November the Maratha navy skirmished with the Siddis of Janjira, and in early 1676 Peshwa Pingale, en route to Surat, engaged the Raja of Ramnagar in battle. Shivaji raided Athani in March 1676, and by years-end besieged Belgaum and Vayem Rayim in modern-day northern Karnataka. At the end of 1676, Shivaji launched a wave of conquests in southern India, with a massive force of 30,000 cavalry and 20,000 infantry. He captured the Adilshahi forts at Vellore andGingee, in modern-day Tamil Nadu.
Shivaji intended to reconcile with his stepbrother Venkoji (Ekoji I), Shahji's son by his second wife, Tukabai of the Mohite clan which ruled Thanjavur (Tanjore) after Shahaji. The initially promising negotiations were unsuccessful,so whilst returning to Raigad Shivaji defeated his stepbrother's army on 26 November 1677 and seized most of his possessions in the Mysore plateau. Venkoji's wife Dipa Bai, whom Shivaji deeply respected, took up new negotiations with Shivaji, and also convinced her husband to distance himself from Muslim advisors. In the end Shivaji consented to turn over to her and her female descendants many of the properties he had seized, with Venkoji consenting to a number of conditions for the proper administration of the territories and maintenance of Shivaji's future tomb.

Death and succession
In late March 1680, Shivaji fell ill with fever and dysentery,dying around 3–5 April 1680 at the age of 52, on the eve of Hanuman Jayanti. Rumours followed his death, with Muslims opining he had died of a curse from Jan Muhammad of Jalna, and some Marathas whispering that his second wife, Soyarabai, had poisoned him so that his crown might pass to her 10-year old son Rajaram.
After Shivaji's death, the widowed Soyarabai made plans with various ministers of the administration to crown her son Rajaram rather than her prodigal stepson Sambhaji. On 21 April 1680, ten-year old Rajaram was installed on the throne. However, Sambhaji took possession of the fort after killing the commander, and on 18 June acquired control of Raigad, and formally ascended the throne on 20 July. Rajaram, his wife Janki Bai, and mother Soyrabai were imprisoned, and Soyrabai executed on charges of conspiracy that October.

Development of the empire
Aurangzeb's son Muhammad Akbar had a falling-out with his father and joined forces with Sambhaji, thereafter Aurangzeb personally led his army to attack the Maratha forces. Sambhaji was captured, tortured and executed at Tulapur in 1689 by the Mughals. Leadership of the disarrayed Marathas then returned to Rajaram, who served as regent during the minority of his stepbrother's son Shahu, and was forced to move his capital from Raigad to Gingee.
Thereafter the Maratha forces stabilised and began to undertake raids on the Mughal columns. Able generals such as Dhanaji Jadhav and Santaji Ghorpade took the initiative and effectively bogged down the powerful but slow-moving Mughal army in to the protracted Maratha War of Independence, or War of 27 Years. In the last few years of this war both the Maratha generals delivered severe blows to the Mughals in Maharashtra. In 1697 Aurangzeb, in poor health, withdrew from the Deccan for the last time, and recalled his full army a few years later, ending the Mughal's significant threat to the Marathas.
In 1752, the Maratha Peshwa signed a treaty with Mughal emperor Ahmad Shah Bahadur, giving the Marathas significant control and revenues within the remaining Mughal territories, in exchange for their protecting the Mughals from their enemies. This treaty brought the Maratha into conflict with the Mughal's opponent, Ahmad Shah Durrani, founder of an Afghan empire. The Durrani forces defeated the Maratha at the 1761 Battle of Panipat, checking the Maratha's northward expansion. The Maratha empire continued despite internal turmoil until their defeat in the 1818 Third Anglo-Maratha War, which effectively ended the empire.


Though Persian was a common courtly language in the region, Shivaji replaced it with Marathi in his own court, and emphasised Hindu political and courtly traditions.[48] The house of Shivaji was well acquainted with Sanskrit and promoted the language; his father Shahaji had supported scholars such as Jayram Pindye, who prepared Shivaji's seal. Shivaji continued this Sanskrit promotion, giving his forts names such asSindhudurg, Prachandgarh, and Suvarndurg. He named the Ashta Pradhan (council of ministers) as per Sanskrit nomenclature with terms such asnyayadhish, and senapat, and commissioned the political treatise Rajyavyavahar Kosh. His rajpurohitKeshav Pandit, was himself a Sanskrit scholar and poet.
Shivaji was an able administrator who established a government that included modern concepts such as cabinet (Ashtapradhan mandalcomposed of eight ministers), foreign affairs (Dabir) and internal intelligence.
Promotion of Marathi and Sanskrit

Religious policy

Shivaji allowed his subjects freedom of religion and opposed forced conversion.Shivaji also promulgated other enlightened values, prohibiting slavery in his kingdom, and applying a humane and liberal policy to the women of his state. Kafi Khan, the Mughal historian and Francois Bernier, a French traveller, spoke highly of his religious policy. He also brought converts like Netaji Palkar and Bajaji back into Hinduism.
Shivaji was a devout Hindu, but respected all religions within the region. Shivaji had great respect for other contemporary saints, especiallySamarth Ramdas, to whom he gave the fort of Parali, later renamed as 'Sajjangad'. Among the various poems written on Shivaji, Ramdas'Shivastuti ("Praise of King Shivaji") is the most famous.Shivaji's son Sambhaji later built a samadhi for Ramdas Swami on Sajjangad upon the latter's death. Samarth Ramdas had also written a letter to Sambhaji guiding him on what to do and what not to do after death of Shivaji.
Shivaji's contemporary, the poet Kavi Bhushan stated: Had not there been Shivaji, Kashi would have lost its culture, Mathura would have been turned into a mosque and all would have been circumcised”.
Though many of Shivaji's enemy states were Muslim, he treated Muslims under his rule with tolerance for their religion. Shivaji's sentiments of inclusivity and tolerance of other religions can be seen in an admonishing letter to Aurangzeb, in which he wrote:
Verily, Islam and Hinduism are terms of contrast. They are used by the true Divine Painter for blending the colours and filling in the outlines. If it is a mosque, the call to prayer is chanted in remembrance of Him. If it is a temple, the bells are rung in yearning for Him alone.
Shivaji had many Muslims in his military and ministries, and his most trusted general in all his campaigns was Haider Ali KohariDarya Sarang was chief of armoury; Ibrahim Khan and Daulat Khan were prominent in the navy; and Siddi Ibrahim was chief of artillery.Shivaji had particular respect for the Sufi tradition of Islam, and used to pray at the mausoleum of the Sufi Muslim saint Baba Sharifuddin. He also visited the abode of another Sufi saint, Shaikh Yacub of the Konkan, and took his blessings. He called Hazrat Baba of Ratnagiri as bahut thorwale bhau, "great elder brother".
The French traveller Francois Bernier wrote in his Travels in Mughal India:
"I forgot to mention that during pillage of Sourate, Seva-ji, the Holy Seva-ji! Respected the habitation of the reverend father Ambrose, the Capuchin missionary. 'The Frankish Padres are good men', he said 'and shall not be attacked.' He spared also the house of a deceased Delale or Gentile broker, of the Dutch, because assured that he had been very charitable while alive."


A standing army belonging to the state, called paga.
Shivaji demonstrated great skill in creating his military organisation, which lasted till the demise of the Maratha empire. He also built a powerful navy.Maynak Bhandari was one of the first chiefs of the Maratha Navy under Shivaji, and helped in both building the Maratha Navy and safeguarding the coastline of the emerging Maratha Empire. He built new forts like Sindhudurg and strengthened old ones like Vijaydurg on the west coast. The Maratha navy held its own against the BritishPortuguese and Dutch.He was one of the pioneers of commando actions, then known as ganimi kava (Marathi"enemy trickery") His Mavala army's war cry was Har Har Mahadev ( Har and Mahadev being common names of Hindu God Shiva).Shivaji was responsible for many significant changes in military organisation:
  • All war horses belonged to the state; responsibility for their upkeep rested on the Sovereign.
  • Creation of part-time soldiers from peasants who worked for eight months in their fields and supported four months in war for which they were paid.
  • Highly mobile and light infantry and cavalry excelling in commando tactics.
  • The introduction of a centralized intelligence department; Bahirjee Naik was the foremost spy who provided Shivaji with enemy information in all of Shivaji's campaigns.
  • A potent and effective navy.
  • Introduction of field craft, such as guerrilla warfare, commando actions, and swift flanking attacks.
  • Innovation of weapons and firepower, innovative use of traditional weapons like the tiger claw (vaghnakh) and vita.
  • Militarisation of large swathes of society, across all classes, with the entire peasant population of settlements and villages near forts actively involved in their defence.
Shivaji realised the importance of having a secure coastline and protecting the western Konkan coastline from the attacks of Siddi's fleet. His strategy was to build a strong navy to protect and bolster his kingdom. He was also concerned about the growing dominance of British Indian naval forces in regional waters and actively sought to resist it. For this reason he is also referred to as the "Father of Indian Navy".

Shivaji captured strategically important forts at Murumbdev (Rajgad), Torana, Kondana (Sinhagad) and Purandar and laid the foundation of swaraj or self-rule. Toward the end of his career, he had a control of 360 forts to secure his growing kingdom. Shivaji himself constructed about 15-20 totally new forts (including key sea forts like Sindhudurg), but he also rebuilt or repaired many strategically placed forts to create a chain of 300 or more, stretched over a thousand kilometres across the rugged crest of the Western Ghats. Each were placed under three officers of equal status lest a single traitor be bribed or tempted to deliver it to the enemy. The officers (sabnis, havladar, sarnobhat) acted jointly and provided mutual checks and balance.


Shivaji built a strong naval presence across long coast of Konkan and Goa to protect sea trade, to protect the lands from sack of prosperity of subjects from coastal raids, plunder and destruction by Arabs, Portuguese, British, Abyssinians and pirates. Shivaji built ships in towns such as KalyanBhivandi, and Goa for building fighting navy as well as trade. He also built a number of sea forts and bases for repair, storage and shelter. Shivaji fought many lengthy battles with Siddis of Janjira on coastline. The fleet grew to reportedly 160 to 700 merchant, support and fighting vessels. He started trading with foreigners on his own after possession of eight or nine ports in the Deccan. Shivaji's admiral Kanauji Angre is often said to be the "Father of Indian Navy".

Nineteenth century Hindu revivalist Swami Vivekanada considered Shivaji a hero and paid glowing tributes to his wisdom.When Indian Nationalist leader, Lokmanya Tilak organised a festival to mark the birthday celebrations of Shivaji, Vivekananda agreed to preside over the festival in Bengal in 1901. He wrote about Shivaji :
Today, Shivaji is considered as a national hero in India, especially in the state of Maharashtra, where he remains arguably the greatest figure in the state's history. Stories of his life form an integral part of the upbringing and identity of the Marathi people. Further, he is also recognised as a warrior legend, who sowed the seeds of Indian independence.
Shivaji is one of the greatest national saviours who emancipated our society and our Hindu dharma when they were faced with the threat of total destruction. He was a peerless hero, a pious and God-fearing king and verily a manifestation of all the virtues of a born leader of men described in our ancient scriptures. He also embodied the deathless spirit of our land and stood as the light of hope for our future.


Statues and monuments of Shivaji are found in almost every town and city in Maharashtra, and across different Indian cities outside Maharashtra, such as a statue in BangaloreVadodaraSurat, a monument in Agra, a memorial in Delhi a statue inside the premises of the National Defence Academy (NDA)Pune, and an equestrian statue inside the Parliament House complex in Delhi.]In deference to his pioneering contributions to naval warfare in India, the Indian Navy has named one of its bases after Shivaji, christening it as INS Shivaji. The Government of India has issued a postage stamp commemorating Shivaji,and the The Reserve Bank of Indiais considering issuing currency notes having his picture.