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The Battle of Chamkaur, also known as Battle of Chamkaur Sahib, was fought between the Khalsa led by Guru Gobind Singh and the coalition forces of the Mughals led by Wazir Khan and 22 Hindu Rajput Hilly chieftains. Guru Gobind Singh makes a reference to this battle in his victory letter Zafarnama.

Battle of Chamkaur
Part of Mughal-Sikh Wars
DateDecember 6, 1704

Mughal victory.[1][2]

Alam of the Mughal Empire.svg Mughal Empire Nishan Sahib.svg Khalsa
Commanders and leaders

Alam of the Mughal Empire.svg Emperor Aurangzeb

  • Subedar Wazir Khan
  • General Zabardast Khan
  • General Khwaja Mohammed. (WIA)[3]
  • General Nahar Khan 
  • Mu'nim Khan.[4]
  • General Ghairat Khan 

Nishan Sahib.svg Guru Gobind Singh

Unknown, but much larger[7] (Gobind Singh's Zafarnama metaphorically states that the Mughal soldiers numbered 1 million) 42
Casualties and losses
  • General Khwaja Mohammed injured.
  • General Nahar khan killed.
  • General Ghairat Khan killed.
  • Thousands of Mughal soldiers killed.
  • Sahibzada Ajit Singh killed.
  • Sahibzada Jujhar Singh killed.
  • Bhai Mohkam Singh killed.
  • Bhai Himmat Singh killed.
  • Bhai Sahib Singh killed.
  • 33 other Sikh-Soldiers killed[8]
  • The Zafarnama of Guru Gobind Singh


    Preamble to the battleEdit

    After Guru Gobind Singh left Anandpur Sahib on the night of December 5 and 6, 1704,[9] they crossed the Sarsa river and stopped in Chamkaur. They asked permission of the city chief for shelter to rest for the night in their garhi or haveli. The older brother thought giving him shelter would be dangerous so he refused. But the younger brother gave permission to let them stay there for the night.[10]

    The battleEdit

    Despite giving assurance of safe conduct, the Mughals soldiers were looking for Guru Gobind Singh, to take his head as a trophy. After learning that the party of Sikhs had taken shelter in the haveli, they laid siege upon it.[10] The actual battle is said to have taken place outside the haveli where the Guru was resting.[10] Negotiations broke down and the Sikh soldiers chose to engage the overwhelming Mughal forces, thus allowing their Guru to escape. A gurmatta or consensus amongst the Sikhs compelled Gobind Singh to obey the will of the majority and escape by cover of night. Another Sikh who resembled the Guru, Sangat Singh, donned the Guru's clothes and remained with the soldiers. The next morning the remaining Sikhs were killed by Mughal forces.[11]

    It is alleged that the Sikh warriors were able to engage the Mughal troops in majority due to training in the Sikh martial art of Gatka.


    After finding out that the Guru had escaped, the Mughals started searching the woods and the area surrounding Chamkaur.[2]

    The Mughals hastily chased after the Guru once they realised he had escaped. Guru Gobind Singh made a last stand [12] against the Mughals at Muktsar,[citation needed] but by then Aurangzeb lost interest in chasing him thus he started negotiations to sue for peace.[13] The Battle of Muktsar was the last battle fought by Guru Gobind Singh.

    There he wrote Zafarnama, ("the epistle of victory"), a letter to Aurangzeb in which he wrote


    SHAH-E SHAB BAR-AAMAD HAMEH JALWA JOSH[14] ... But still when the lamp of daylight (sun) set and the queen of night (moon) came up, then my protector (God) gave me passage and I escaped safely, not even a hair on my body was harmed.[15]

    The Guru emphasised how he was proud that his sons had died fighting in battle, and that he had 'thousands of sons – the Singhs'. He also said that he would never trust Aurangzeb again due to his broken promises[16] and lies.


    Zafarnama or "Epistle of Victory" is a letter that was written by Guru Gobind Singh to the then Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Zafarnama vividly describes what happened at Chamkaur, and also holds Aurangzeb responsible for what occurred and promises he broke:

    13: Aurangzeb! I have no trust in your oaths anymore. (You have written that) God is one and that He is witness (between us).
    14: I don't have trust equivalent to even a drop (of water) in your generals (who came to me with oaths on the Quran that I will be given safe passage out of Anandgarh Fort). They were all telling lies.
    15: If anyone trusts (you) on your oath on the Quran, that person is bound to be doomed in the end.

    After his escape from Chamkaur, the exhausted Guru is said to have been carried by two Pathans (Ghani Khan and Nabi Khan) to Jatpur where he was received by the local Muslim chieftain. He later went to Dina, and stayed at Bhai Desa Singh's house, where he is said to have written "Zafarnama" in Persian, in 111 verses.


    1. ^ Louis E. Fenech, The Sikh Zafar-namah of Guru Gobind Singh, (Oxford University Press, 2013), 66; "The Ẓafar-nāmah in this light assumes the form of an intriguing tautology: certainly the Guru was routed by Mughal forces at both Anandpur and Chamkaur; put bluntly, he and his Sikh were militarily defeated and left scattered."
    2. ^ a b "Chamkaur Sahib". Retrieved September 24, 2013.
    3. ^ Jacques, Tony. Dictionary of Battles and Sieges. Greenwood Press. p. 221. ISBN 978-0-313-33536-5. Archived from the original on June 26, 2015.
    4. ^ Louis E. Fenech (2013). The Sikh Zafar-namah of Guru Gobind Singh: A Discursive Blade in the Heart of the Mughal Empire. Oxford University Press. p. 87. ISBN 978-0-19-993145-3.
    5. ^ "Panj Pyare the Five Beloved of Sikh History - Guru Gobind Singh Creates the Original Panj Pyare of 1699". Retrieved April 27, 2012.
    6. ^ Raj Pal Singh (2004). The Sikhs : Their Journey Of Five Hundred Years. Pentagon Press. p. 34. ISBN 9788186505465.
    7. ^ name="Singha2000">Singha, H. S (2000). The encyclopedia of Sikhism (over 1000 entries). Hemkunt Press. p. 31. ISBN 978-81-7010-301-1. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
    8. ^ Dhillon, Dr Dalbir Singh (1988). Sikhism – Origin and Development. Atlantic Publishers and Distributors. p. 151. Archived from the original on 17 September 2016.
    9. ^ Singha, H. S (2000). The encyclopedia of Sikhism (over 1000 entries). Hemkunt Press. p. 43. ISBN 978-81-7010-301-1. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
    10. ^ a b c Gurmukh Singh. "Chamkaur Sahib". Encyclopaedia of Sikhism. Punjabi University Patiala. Archived from the original on May 8, 2014. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
    11. ^ Dogra, R. C.; Mansukhani, G. S. Encyclopaedia of Sikh Religion and Culture. Vikas Publishing House. p. 100. ISBN 0706983688.
    12. ^ Singh, Prof Satbir (2004) [1973]. Purakh Bhagwant (biography of Guru Gobind Singh). Mai Heeran Gate Jalandhar India: New Book Company. p. 203.
    13. ^ Singh, Prof Satbir (2004) [1973]. "Chamkaur ton Mukatsar". Purakh Bhagwant(Biography of Guru Gobind Singh) (in Punjabi). Mai Heeran Gate Jalandhar, India: New Book Company. p. 200. ਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਦਾ ਪੱਤਰ ਪੜ੍ਹਨ ਉਪਰੰਤ ਉਸ ਨੇ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਦੇ ਹਾਕਮਾਂ ਪਾਸ ਹਿਦਾਇਤਾਂ ਭੇਜੀਆਂ ਕਿ ਉਹ ਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਨਾਲ ਸਿਦਕ ਸਫ਼ਾਈ ਨਾਲਪੇਸ਼ ਆਉਣ।
    14. ^ Singh, Guru Gobind. "Zafarnamah stanza 42" (PDF). Retrieved September 24, 2013.
    15. ^ Singh, Guru Gobind. "Zafarnamah English translation stanza 42". Retrieved September 24, 2013.
    16. ^ Singh, Guru Gobind. "Zafarnama stanza 45" (PDF). Retrieved September 24, 2013.

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