Battle of Sinhagad

The Battle of Sinhagad, also known as Battle of Kondhana, took place during the night of 4 February 1670 at the fort of Sinhagad (then Kondhana),[3] near the city of Pune, Maharashtra, India.[4][unreliable source?]

Battle of Sinhagad (Kondhana)
Part of Imperial Maratha Expansion
Sinhagad.jpg
Sinhagad fort
Date4 February 1670
Location
Fort Sinhagad, near Pune, India
Result Maratha victory
Territorial
changes
Fort Sinhagad captured by Marathas
Belligerents
Maratha Empire Mughal Empire
Commanders and leaders
Tanaji Malusare  
Suryaji Malusare
Shelar Mama
Udaybhan Singh Rathore  
Beshak Khan[1]
Strength
1,000 Mavalas[2] 1800+[1]
12 sons of Udaybhan Singh Rathore[1]
Chandravali an elephant[1]
Casualties and losses
300 killed or wounded[2]

500 killed or wounded[2]
Few surrendered[2]

Several hundreds killed or wounded while escaping over steep rocks[2]

BackgroundEdit

 
A 20th century depiction of Tanaji Malusare's famous vow during Kondana campaign by painter M.V. Dhurandhar

In the 1650s, Aurangzeb sent Shahiste Khan to subdue Shivaji Maharaj. Khan captured Poona (Now Pune) and took residence in Lal Mahal. Shivaji and his soldiers made a surprise attack on the Khan, wherein they killed his wives and wounded him. He eventually escaped. Shivaji went on to loot and plunder the wealthy port city of Surat, which at that time was a centre of great riches and wealthy merchants. This greatly increased Aurangzeb's anger against the Marathas. He sent his General Mirza Rajah Jai Singh with a large army to subdue Shivaji. Jai Singh besieged Purandar fort, and blocked entry and exit points. The Maratha tried to break the siege but were not successful. In the meantime Diler Khan defeated the armies at Vajragad, near Purandar. The Mughals plundered villages in the Maratha kingdom. For the welfare of his subjects, Shivaji decided to sign a treaty with Jai Singh. They met and signed the Treaty of Purandar. According to the treaty, Shivaji was to give 23 forts to the Mughals and agree to fight for them whenever needed. He would be allowed to retain control of 12 forts. Later, he agreed to meet Aurangzeb at Agra.[5]

Upon reaching Agra , Aurangzeb put him under house arrest, but the Maharaj managed to escape. Shivaji then kept a low profile for some years until Aurangzeb increased activities in the north. Also, Jai Singh died at Burhanpur, and a weak prince, Muazzam, became governor of Deccan. Considering all these points, Shivaji felt that this was a good opportunity to reclaim what had belonged to the Swarajya. He broke the terms of the treaty and started recapturing the forts that he had previously given the Mughals under the treaty.[5]

BattleEdit

Sinhagad was one of the first forts which Shivaji recaptured from the Mughals. The capture was made possible by scaling the walls at night with rope ladders. In this battle both Udaybhan Rathore and Tanhaji were killed, but the fort was captured by the Marathas. The battle and Tanhaji's exploits are still a popular subject for Marathi ballads.[6]

Attack on the garrisonEdit

Assisted by some Koli guides, who knew the place well, Tanaji Malusare and 300 hand-picked Mavle infantry scaled the hillside one night by means of rope ladders and advanced into the fort, slaying the sentinels. The alarm was given and the Mughals took some time to arm themselves and come out, but in the meantime, the Marathas secured their footing.[5]

During the attack, Malusare scaled a steep cliff that led to the fort with the assistance of a monitor lizard called Yashwanti (also referred to as ghorpad in Marathi language).[7][additional citation(s) needed][unreliable source?] This type of lizard had been tamed[clarification needed]since the 15th century, and Yashwanti was trained to pull the rope up the cliffs for Malusare and wind it around the fort's bastion.[8] Climbing up the fort, the Marathas were intercepted by the garrison and combat ensued between the guards and the few infiltrators that had managed to climb up. The Kondhana fort had two main gates, so Tanaji and his Mavala infantrymen climbed by Kalyan darwaza (transl. Gate). The garrison fought desperately, but the Maratha Mavales with their war cry of "Hara! Hara! Mahadev!" wreaked havoc in their ranks.[5] Tanaji and Udaybhan fought each other intensely. Tanhaji lost one hand during the fight.[dubious ] Tanaji and Udaybhan challenged each other, and the chiefs fought and fell dead after a single combat.[5] During the battle Tanaji's shield broke, and he tied his turban's cloth around his arm to defend himself from the enemy's strokes.[9] The Marathas were disheartened by the fall of their leader Tanaji and were rallied by his brother Suryaji Malusare, who opened the Kalyan gate to their supporting columns and took complete control of the garrison. After that many Maratha were slain. Many more perished in attempts to escape down the hillside.[5] Beshak Khan, a Mughal general who was with Udaybhan, was attacked by Suryaji Malusare. Beshak Khan fell with heavy wounds, and escaped from the battle.[1] The overwhelmed Maratha forces with Shelar Mama managed to capture the fort after the reinforcements penetrated the gateway of the fort from another route.[citation needed][needs copy edit]

The Maratha soldiers set fire to the huts of cavalry lines, and the blaze informed Shivaji at Raigad that Kondhana has been captured. Shivaji named Kondhana as Sihagad (lit.'Lion fort') the lion-heart for having won.[5]

AftermathEdit

It is said that when Shivaji got the information about the victory and the loss of Tanaji's life during the battle, he exclaimed "Gad aala pan sinh gela" (Devnagari: गड आला पण सिंह गेला) (transl. "The fort has been captured but we lost the lion"). A bust of Tanaji Malusare was established on the fort in memory of his contribution and sacrifice.[10] The fort was also renamed Sinhagad to honor his memory.[3]

In popular cultureEdit

LegacyEdit

  • Balbharati's school history textbook for the 4th class has a chapter about the Kondhana battle.[11]

BibliographyEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e Charles Augustus Kincaid; Dattatraya Balwant Parasnis; Dattātraya Baḷavanta Pārasanīsa (1918). A history of the Maratha people. H. Milford, Oxford University Press. p. 296.
  2. ^ a b c d e A Handbook for Travellers in India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon. J. Murray. 1892. p. 296. ISBN 9788126003655.
  3. ^ a b Meena, R. P. India Current Affairs Yearbook 2020: For UPSC, State PSC & Other Competitive exams. New Era Publication.
  4. ^ Sorokhaibam, Jeneet (1 January 2013). Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj: The Maratha Warrior and His Campaign. New Delhi: Vij Books India Pvt Ltd. p. 185. ISBN 978-93-82573-49-4.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Sarkar, Jadunath (1920). Shivaji And His Times. USA.
  6. ^ Gordon, Stewart (1993). The Marathas 1600-1818. Vol. 2. Cambridge University Press. p. 79. ISBN 9780521033169.
  7. ^ Kale, Rohit (2018). Rajwata: Aavishkar Gad Killayacha. FSP Media Publications.
  8. ^ Sehgal, Supriya (2019). A Tigress Called Machhli and Other True Animal Stories from India. Hachette India. ISBN 978-93-88322-16-4.
  9. ^ तानाजी: गोष्ट कोंढाण्याची, जेव्हा 'गड आला पण सिंह गेला' होता.... BBC News (in Marathi). Retrieved 26 May 2022.
  10. ^ Verma, Amrit (2003). Forts of India. New Delhi: The Director, Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. pp. 83–86. ISBN 81-230-1002-8.
  11. ^ गड आला पण सिंह गेला. इतिहास (in Marathi). Pune, Maharashtra: Balbharti.