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Monday, July 13, 2015

Mughal Record of Jauhar of Rajput Women & Saka of Rajput Warriors at 3rd Siege of Chittor(1567-68) + Mughal Victory Followed by Massacre of Rajput Civilians | Battle of Chittor Part-5 | With Portraits from Akbarnama & personal pictures of Chittor Fort

Hi All,

We have already gone through 4 articles in the Chittor Battle Series. In the last article, we read about the course of this fierce war that lasted almost six months.  

Now that the detailed background of this war is clear, let's discuss the details of the ultimate battle. The moment of ultimate 'annihilation'.This post also contains MANY pictures of Chittor Fort taken from fine angles, not present on the Internet.

In this post, we are going to see the events following the fall of the commander of the Chittor garrison - Raja Jaimal Rathore and the consequent Jauhar and Saka conducted by the Rajput women and defenders of the Fort of Chittor, as recorded in Mughal accounts. 

The next post will describe this war, as seen from Rajput & other accounts, so that a complete picture is presented to the readers for complete understanding. 

Other Posts in this Series

Here are the links to the previous parts of the Chittor Battle Series. Please do read these before reading the present post.  

1. Why did Akbar attack Chittor ? | Part-1
2. Preparation of Rajputs - Battle of Chittor | Part-2
3. Battles BEFORE the Battle of Chittor - At Kumbhalgarh, Rampur, Udaipur, Mandalgarh | Part-3

4. ACTUAL STRUGGLE between Mughal & Rajput Forces - Course of War BEFORE the Jauhar and Saka | Battle of Chittor Part-4 | With explained Portraits from Akbarnama

6. DETAILED Rajput Record of Jauhar, Saka & Massacre of Rajputs at 3rd Siege of Chittor(1567-68) | Description of Rajput Warriors & OLD pictures of Chittor Fort | Battle of Chittor Part-6

7. Fatehnama-i-Chittor, Comparison & Pictures of Mughal-Rajput Weapons, Assessment of Akbar and Maharana Pratap, Old Portraits of Udaipur & Path for the Future Struggle of Mughals - Mewar | LONG Detailed Concluding Assessment..Last Post on Battle of Chittor Part 7

History of Jaimal and Patta | HEROes of the 3rd Siege of Chittor

Slab present in the Fort giving information about the History of the Chittor Fort.

Before i start this post, i want to throw light on one person -  Ismail Khan. He was mentioned in the last post also, was the head of the Afghan forces who fought this war from the side of Mewar. He was an experienced musketeer and killed many Mughal soldiers through his terrific shots. He was even praised in the Mughal camp for his accurate shots. This has been noted in Akbarnama. He was shot dead by Akbar with his matchlock.

Battle of Chittor - Mughal Accounts of the Jauhar, Saka & Massacre of Rajputs

" The two armies raised their lances ; 
   They were all iron-fisted, they were all biters of steel,

   All were famous and were clad in iron ;  

   The heroes brandished swords red with blood ;

   They mowed down with swords the elephant-trunks ; 
   You'd say serpents were being rained down from the clouds ; 
   One paid off his debt of hate with lance and sword ; 
   Sometimes the heart was riven, sometimes the breast was consumed ; 

   Tulips were painted by his dagger ; 
   There was a rain of rings from the heroes' armour.  "   

                                                                          ---- Abu'l Fazl describing the Battle of Chittor in Akbarnama 

View of The Ruins of a Palace at the Fort of Chittor

Let's read about the war as described by the court chroniclers of Mughal Emperor Akbar. My explanations are in purple. I have made this post easy to follow by suitable explanations.

I. In Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh: By Mulla Abu'l Qa'adir Badayuni 

Reference: "The Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh of Badayuni, Vol.-2, Page-104/105 (Ranking, Haig, Lowe, Calcutta,1925)"

=> After waiting for a considerable time, six months, more or less, at last on the night of Tuesday 25th of Shaban in the aforesaid year ( 22nd/23rd February 1568), the Imperial troops advancing from all sides made a breach in the wall of the fortress and stormed it. The fierce face of Jaimal became visible through the flashing of the fire of the cannon and guns, which was directed against the soldiers of Islam.  

Here, Badayuni talks of the night when the FINAL breach was made in the Chittor Fort and Mughal forces stormed into the fort from all sides. The same night, Jaimal was hit by a bullet from the musket of Akbar. The duration of the siege mentioned here is approximately 6 months.!!!

At this juncture a bullet struck the forehead of Jaimal, who was distinctly recognizable, and he fell dead. It was as though a stone had fallen among a flock of sparrows, for, when the garrison of the fortress saw that their leader was dead, they fled every one to their own houses. Then they collected their families and goods together and burnt them, which is called in the language of Hind - Jauhar

One of the Sites of Jauhar

Badayuni mentions that Jaimal was killed by Akbar. However, Rajput sources contest this fact and claim that Jaimal died the next day at the entrance to the Chittor Fort while participating in the saka. Badayuni also mentions that Jauhar was performed by the Rajput families.

Entrance Steps to the Jauhar Site

Most of those that re­mained became "food for the crocodile of our blood-drinking sword", and a few of those who remained, who escaped the sword and the fire, were caught in the noose of tribulation. The whole night long the swords of the combatants desisted not from the slaughter of those base ones, and returned not to the scabbard, till the time for the afternoon siesta arrived. 8000 valorous Rajputs were slained by us.

Some of the remaining people were killed by the sword. The others experienced great suffering at the hands of the "combatants" (Mughals). The slaughter of the "base ones" (Rajputs) in the fort  continued till the afternoon of the next day. Badayuni proudly declares that the Mughals killed 8000 Rajputs.

After midday the Emperor ordered the sacking to cease, and re­turned to the camp. He remained there 3 days, and wrote letters announcing the victory, and despatched them in all directions. Then, having appointed Asaf Khan to the command of that district, moved towards Agra.

Akbar ordered the sacking to stop at mid-day the next day. For 3 days, he took charge of the situation in Chittor and dispatched "victory letters" to all his subahs proclaiming the end of Rajput supremacy over Chittor. Later he appointed Asaf Khan as the Governor of Chittor and returned to Agra.


II. Tabaqat-e-Akbari: By Nizam-ud-din Bakshi 

Reference: "The Tabaqat-e-Akbari of Nizam-ud-din Bakshi (excerpt from KCB, John, Vol.-5, Page-324/325, London, 1873)"

=> After this disaster, the pride of the Emperor be­came still more intent upon the reduction of the fort of Chittor. A sabat which had been laid down in the battery of Shuja'at Khan was now completed. On the night of Tuesday, 25th Sha'ban, 975 Hijri ( 22nd/23rd February 1568), the Imperial forces assembled from all sides, launching continuous assaults and the walls being breached, a grand struggle began with the Rajputs.

After the twin explosions in the towers of the fort, mentioned in the previous post, Akbar became even more determined to destroy the Fort of Chittor, which symbolised Rajput pride. Finally, in February 1568, after months of continuous fighting, the walls of the Fort were breached and then began a "grand struggle" between the two sides to decide the final outcome.

Jaimal, commander of the fortress, came into the breach to encourage his men. The Em­peror was seated in a gallery, which had been erected for him on the sabat, and he had a musket in his hand. The face of Jaimal was discernible by the light which was cast upon the spot by the fire of the guns and muskets. The Emperor took aim at him, and so wounded him that he died upon the spot. 

The Rajput commander Raja Jaimal Rathore came to encourage his men to fill the breach in the fort wall. Akbar was seated on the Sabat with his musket in his hand. It is said that from the same musket he fired a shot, which hit Jaimal.

The garrison was disheartened by the fall of their leader, and each man hurried to his own home. They collected their wives and children. The property and effects were assembled in one place, and burnt. This proceeding, in the language of the infidels of Hind, is called Jauhar.

After Jaimal was struck by a bullet, the garrison became disheartened and prepared for Jauhar by the women and children.

Jauhar Memorial - Palm Marks of Rajput Women Before Performing Jauhar

Suraj Pol - The picture below shows the entrance to the fort known as  Suraj Pol. It was here that Rawat Chundawat died while defending the Fort. 

Suraj Pol

Suraj Pol literally means The 'Door of Sun'. This was the site of one of the bloody battles that were fought, as the Mughal forces tried to enter the fort from all directions through the breaches made in the fort walls and the Rajputs tried valiantly to stop them.

A Close View of Suraj Pol

The royal forces were now massed, and they assaulted the breaches in several places. Many of the infidels rushed forward to defend them, and fought most valiantly. His Majesty, seated on the sabat, beheld the exertions of his men with an approving eye.

Adil Muhammad Kandahari and others exhibited great valour and daring, and received great praise. All that night the fighting went on, but in the morning, which was a glorious morning, the place was subdued.

The fighting continued the entire night. The numerical advantage was on Mughal side. The Rajputs tried their best to stop the Mughal forces. Akbar was watching this fight seated on a sabat. Mughals finally took over the fort the next morning.

The Emperor mounted on an elephant, and attended by his devoted followers on foot, entered the fortress. More than 8000 Rajputs who were in the place received the reward of their deeds. An order for a general massacre was issued by His Majesty.

Afternoon the slaughter was stayed, and the Emperor returned to his camp, where he remained 3 days. Asaf Khan was appointed to rule this country, and His Majesty started for the capital.

Akbar ordered his soldiers to massacre the Rajputs in the fort and nearly 30,000 Rajputs were slaughtered, in addition to the 8000 Rajputs, in this carnage ("rewarded for their deeds"). It is horrifying to read how Bakshi has described the killing of the Rajputs as a "reward" for their "deed" of defending their fort. 


The pictures below show the utter devastation caused in the fort by the victorious Mughal army. The first 2 pictures show the ruins of the women's residential apartments in the fort of Chittor.

Ruins of One of the Residences of the Royal Ladies

A Close View of the Ruins of the Ladies Quarters

The following picture shows the ruins of a palace complex in the fort. 

Ruins of a Palace complex at Chittorgarh

III. Akbarnama : By Abu'l Fazl 

Reference: "The Akbarnama of Abu'l Fazl, Vol.-2, Page-462 onward (Beveridge, Sr-910, ASB, Calcutta,1907)"


This is the MOST DETAILED account of the war and is very informative. 

=> The (Mughal) combatants strung up their hearts to the taking of the fort from all sides and destroyed its walls. The besieged Rajputs also displayed admirable bravery. 

His Majesty personally put his heart into the conflict and kept up a fusillade (firing a series of shots or missiles all at the same time or in quick succession). He took up a place on the sabat and watched the spectacle of the brave-hearted defenders (Rajputs) and of the chain-breaking tigers (Mughals). During these two nights and a day, those gallant men so engaged in conflict that they took neither sleep nor food. The strength of both the combating sides was exhausted, but none stopped fighting.

At length on the morning of 23rd February 1568, that sky-based (located at a great height) fortress was conquered. The account of this glorious event is that on the previous night, the fort was attacked from all sides, and several breaches were made in its walls. There were manifest indications that the fortress was ruined. Near the sabat, brave men of the conquering (Mughal) army had pressed forward and had destroyed much of the solid wall of the fort

Half of the night had passed when the Rajput garrison crowded into the breach and, while part of them gave them­selves up to destruction, the other brought muslin, cotton, wood and oil and were filling up the breach so that when the ghazis (Mughals) should approach they (Rajputs) should set fire to the heap and prevent anyone from entering into the fort. 

The Rajputs tried their best to repair the breaches in the fort walls, though they were being attacked from all sides. Half of the Rajputs tried to fill the breaches in the fort walls by stuffing muslin, cotton etc. there and setting them on fire when the Mughals tried to enter the fort from there. The remaining fought with the Mughals who were trying to enter the fort. This was a desperate attempt by the Rajputs to do anything to stop the Mughal forces from entering the fort. 

The reason for this is clear - A person can fight the enemy outside the home, but not in his own home, because home is the place where children and women also live. If the fight happens inside his home, the home and the inhabitants will also suffer. In that situation, what would the person do ? Fight the enemy or safeguard his children/women from the clutches of the enemy?  

The Rajputs knew that their chances of victory would be finished if the Mughals entered the fort because they were heavily outnumbered. From the fort, they could fend off the Mughal incursions. But they would not be able to defeat the vast Mughal army if they entered inside.

The fighting continued through the entire night. By morning, the fort was destroyed. 

At this time His Majesty perceived that a person clothed in a cuirass (pronounced kwiras and historically meaning a piece of armour covering the chest and back) known as the hazar mikhi (thousand nails), which is a mark of chieftainship among them, came to the breach and superintended the proceedings. It was not known who he was. His Majesty took his gun named 'Sangram', which is one of the special guns, and aimed it at him. 

Mughal Emperor Akbar Shoots Jaimal - Rajput Commander of the Fort of Chittor from his Matchlock called Sangram 
Explanation of the painting:

The left side depicts the Fort of Chittor. The muskets can be seen aiming at the Mughals forcing their way into the fort in large numbers, along with their 
armoured elephants. The Rajput defenders are trying their best to stop the Mughal army from entering the Fort using their spears, as seen in the picture.

The Mughal army succeeded in approaching the ramparts of the fort (upper left) along with their armoured elephants by constructing covered lines of attack 
called Sabats (centre left). The right side depicts the Sabat of the Mughal camp. Mughal soldiers are also seen firing their muskets from inside the Sabat.

Akbar can be seen (top right) surveying the battle from his apartments constructed on the top of a sabat with his matchlock Sangram in his hand. He took 
aim with his gun at a figure in the Rajput Fort whose studded blue coat indicated that he was a leading enemy soldier. The shot hit the target,  who was later
 discovered to be the Rajput hero Jaimal Rathore. 

Jaimal, the general of the defending army, in blue clothes and white beard, can be seen in the arms of his soldiers on the top left, in an injured position. 
Copyright : V & A Museum.


To Shuja'at Khan and Raja Bhagwant Das, His Majesty said that, from the pleasure and lightness of hand such as he experienced when he had hit a beast of prey, he inferred that he had hit the man. The Khan Jahan (Hussain Quli Beg, a Mughal general with a rank of 5000, was titled Khan-i-Jahan - Khan of the World by Akbar) represented that the man had been continually there during the night and been directing the operations; if he did not come back it was evident that he had been killed. 

After shooting the person, Akbar expressed his happiness to Shuja'at Khan and Raja Bhagwan Das. Khan Jahan informed Akbar that the man had been directing the repair of the breach through the night and if he did not appear again to continue the repairs, it would mean that he had been killed.

An hour had not passed when Jabbar Quli reported that the enemy had all disappeared within that space of time. Just at the same time fire broke out at several places in the fort. The courtiers had various ideas about this, but Raja Bhagwant Das represented that it was the fire of Jauhar. For it is an Indian custom that when such a calamity has occurred a pile is made of sandalwood, aloes, etc., as large as possible, and to add to this dry firewood and oil. Then they leave hardhearted confidants in charge of their women. As soon as it is certain that there has been a defeat and that the men have been killed, these stubborn ones reduce the innocent women to ashes.

The Mughal soldiers tried to guess the reason for fire breaking out at several places in the fort following the shooting incident. Then Raja Bhagwan Das of Amer explained that the Rajput women were performing Jauhar. It was the duty of the people ( whom Abu'l Fazl says were left incharge of women ) , to protect the honour of the Rajput women by guarding them, in case the victorious enemy soldiers could reach them, before the Jauhar was performed.

Here i want to highlight the cold description of Jauhar by Abu'l Fazl. He has "implicitly" tried to shift the blame of Jauhar on to the Rajputs by calling them "hardhearted" and "stubborn ones" who apparently forced their women to perform Jauhar. But, it is clearly understandable why the Rajput women preferred to die in Jauhar than be captured alive by the vanquishing army, when their men had been defeated and killed in the war. As their last mark, they only left the palm marks of their hands, on the walls of the fort before performing Jauhar. See picture of the palm prints above.

In contrast with the description of Abu'l Fazl, another Mughal chronicler, Mulla Ahmed, whose account has been posted at the end of this article, says that Rajput women preferred Jauhar when there was no escape for them and their children. He adds - This act they consider a "great devotion and service" to their land.

It is true that Rajput states also fought wars among themselves. But, I have not come across any Jauhar when a Rajput state or even others such as the Marathas attacked another Rajput state. If any of the readers have come across such an incident, please do share here.

And in fact on the morning when the breeze of victory and domin­ion arose, it was ascertained that the Shahinshah's musket had reached Jaimal, the governor of the fort, and had at once destroyed both him and the fort.

Although Mughal records credit Akbar with killing Jaimal, Rajput records mention that Jaimal was only wounded by Akbar and that he actually died later in the Saka, while fighting the Mughals between the Hanuman Pol and Bhairav Pol entrances to the fort.

The fires were of the Jauhar. They took place in -

a. the house of Patta who belonged to the Sisodia clan and was one of the principal servants of the Rana. 
b. Other Jauhar took place in the house of the Rathore chiefRao Sahib
c. But, the great Jauhar-fire was the one in the house of the Chauhan chief , whose name was Aissar Das Chauhan (or, Isar Das Chauhan, head of the archery division of Mewar's army). 

Ruins of Patta's Palace in Chittor Fort | One of the Jauhars happened here.
In it's prime, this palace had blue-colored Jharokhas, which can still be seen, if observed carefully.

Jauhar took place at many sites in the fort, notably in the houses of Patta Sisodia, Rao Sahib and Isar Das Chauhan. The following 4 pictures show the North Jauhar Gate which led to one of the sites in Chittor where Jauhar was conducted.

North Jauhar Gate
Entrance from North towards the Place where Jauhar was Performed

A Close View of North Jauhar Gate

Front View of North Jauhar Gate

As many as three hundred women were burnt in the destruc­tive fire of "those refractory men".

Abu'l Fazl continues with the cold description & estimates that 300 Rajput women died in Jauhar, though the number was in thousands. Rajputs are called "refractory men". Abu'l Fazl does not mentions the reason for the Jauhar nor it's significance in Rajput community.

Rajput Women Performing Jauhar During the 3rd Siege of Chittor
Explanation of the painting:

This page of the Akbarnama depicts the 'Jauhar', or burning, of the Rajput women following the fall of the fort of Chittor in 1568. The royal Mughal tents, identifiable by their red colour, are in the lower left of the composition, behind the firing lines of the Mughal cannon. At bottom left, the royal camp can be seen in a state of rejoicing, knowing they have won the day. Above a blank text panel, at top right, the women of the fort are about to be consumed by flames which spurt out into the margin of the page. The women preferred to perish rather than be captured alive by the enemy, and thousands of women died in the event. Akbar ordered thousands of Rajput men to be killed after the Mughal victory in retaliation for their fierce resistance. More than 30,000 civilians were killed in the fort of Chittor.

Though on that night no one remained in the breach and though every one had given up heart on the killing of Jaimal, and withdrawn to a corner of retreat, yet the rules of precaution were observed and the heroes and ghazis were collected from every side and directed to enter the fort at dawn.

Jaimal was not killed but seriously wounded at night. It became clear to the Rajputs that they could not win against the Mughals. Hence, the first thing which came to their minds was 'safeguarding' their women-folk from the clutches of the (to be) victorious enemy. Jauhar was commanded along with Saka, wherein the men would fight until death.

Abu'l Fazl says that though the fort appeared quiet, with the Rajputs losing hope of victory after Jaimal's injury, "rules of precaution" were observed and the Mughals entered the Fort at dawn in a large number to guard against any surprise Rajput attacks. This is in contrast to what Badayuni and Nizam-ud-din have mentioned in their accounts. They stated that the fighting continued the entire night and till the afternoon of the next day. It would appear strange if Mughals had waited till morning to enter the fort, especially when the Rajputs were known to be repairing the fort walls as soon as they were being breached.

Another notable fact is that 3 Jauhars took place in the royal palaces of the Rajputs (in the palaces of Patta, the Rathores, and the Chauhans, as mentioned above) and NOT in the actual "Jauhar Kunds". This indicates that the enemy had already entered the fort and there must have been no time left to arrange Jauhar in the kunds. It appears that Jauhar fires were lit up wherever possible at short notice, as mentioned earlier that fires broke out at several places in the fort and were identified as Jauhar fire by Raja Bhagwan Das. 


When the morning-breeze of dominion arose, the active young men and the bold warriors came from the batteries and entered the fort, and engaged in killing and binding (the Rajputs). The Rajputs gave up the thread of deliberation and fought and were killed.

This is the practice of Saka of the Rajputs, when they would fight to death, knowing that defeat was certain. Their only aim was to kill as many enemy soldiers as possible and to die an honourable death on the battlefield ; fighting for the honour of their kingdom rather than be captured alive and be humiliated by the enemy.

The Advent of the Mughal War Elephants:


An order was issued that the active and experienced elephants should be brought in from the front of the sabats into the fort. First, Girdbaz Dhokar was brought and stationed at the head of the wall. Then came Madhukar, and then Jangia, Sabdaliya and Kadira. Each (elephant) of them did things which surpassed imagination.

These were the especially trained armoured war elephants of the Mughals. Abu'l Fazl has listed the names of these elephants. They were brought in to wreak havoc on the defending Rajputs and assist Mughal forces in destroying the fort.

Verse. - { This is a brief description of this war, quoted at the beginning of this post too. }

    The two armies raised their lances
    They formed ambuscades, and drew up in line

    They were all iron-fisted, they were all biters of steel,
    All were famous and were clad in iron

    The heroes brandished swords red with blood
    One was yielding up his life, another was flying,

    They mowed down with swords the elephant-trunks
    You'd say serpents were being rained down from the clouds.*

* - The number of trunks of Mughal war elephants cut off by the Rajputs was so large that it appeared as if snakes were raining down from the sky - a sight which made even Akbar wonder for a moment at the fighting spirit of the Rajputs. These were his specially trained armoured war elephants and it was a most daring feat to confront and attack them.

    The Commander on a mighty, raging elephant
    Continually assailed the bow string*

* - The commanders sitting on these war elephants were continuously shooting arrows at the Rajputs who were attacking them and their elephants. The elephants were pushed into a fierce rage so that they would go on a rampage and cause maximum destruction.

    One paid off his debt of hate with lance and sword
    Sometimes the heart was riven, sometimes the breast was consumed

The weapons used included lances and swords, cutting through the hearts and chests of the warriors. 

    Tulips were painted by his dagger
    There was a rain of rings from the heroes' armour.

Flowers carved on the Fort walls were painted red from the blood of the bodies of the slain warriors. The manner in which blood came out from their  bodies resembled ripples / rings. 

At the white dawn, which was the morning of fortune for the imperial servants {victorious Mughals} and the evening of destruction for the enemy {defeated Rajputs}, the Shahinshah mounted on an elephant, majestic as heaven, and pro­ceeded to the fort. Several thousand devoted men accompanied him on foot. 

Akbar entered the Fort in the morning, seated on his elephant ; with him were several thousand soldiers on foot.

The Ist Mughal War Elephant - Madhukar combats with Isar Das Chauhan:

A wonderful thing which happened that time, was that the Chauhan chief - Aissar Das Chauhan (or, Isar Das Chauhan) , who was one of the distinguished brave men of the fort, saw the elephant Madhukar and asked its name. When they told him he, in a moment, with daring rashness, seized his tusk with one hand, and struck with his dagger with the other and said, “Be good enough to convey my respects to your world-adorning appreciator of merit.”

Abu'l Fazl describes a"wonderful thing" (as he says) - which was a daring attack by Isar Das Chauhan on one of the Mughal elephants Madhukar.  Isar Das asked the name of the elephant before seizing its tusk with one hand and stabbing it with his dagger in the other hand. Isar Das then coolly asked the elephant's commander to convey his (Isar Das') 'wishes' to Akbar ("world adorning appreciator of merit"). It is interesting to observe that even Fazl was forced to admire some of the courageous acts of the Rajputs, which were beyond imagination.

The IInd Mughal War Elephant - Jangia:

 The elephant Jangia displayed great deeds. One of them was that a Rajput ran and struck his trunk with his sword and cut it off. Though his trunk was severed, which makes life difficult, it made wonderful conflicts before it died. It had killed 30 distinguished men before it was wounded, and it slew 15 afterwards. The elephant Madhukar also displayed wonderful deeds. 

Here Fazl described one of Akbar's favorite Mughal elephants, "Jangia - the warrior", who killed 45 distinguished Rajputs before dying , despite its trunk being cut off by a sword!!

The IIIrd Mughal War Elephant - Kadira:

A wonderful thing was that the elephant Kadira ran away inside the fort on account of the noise and tumult, driving before it a number of doomed men who were coming to the breach. The lane was narrow, and it trampled and scattered them all. It was by the Divine aid that such a great boon was conferred. Aitamad Khan, who was riding on the elephant, was wounded, and died of his wounds a few days afterwards.

Description of another Mughal war elephant named Kadira. In Arabic, Kadira means - "the powerful". This elephant was disturbed by the battle sounds and ran helter-skelter towards a narrow lane and trampled many of the Rajput soldiers who were going to repair a breach in the fort walls. Abu'l Fazl calls this rampage by the elephant a "divine aid" and a "great boon".

The IVth Mughal War Elephant - Sabdiliya:

 The Shahinshah used to tell me that - " At this time, he was standing on the wall of the fort and contemplating the Divine aids. The elephant Sabdiliya came inside the fort and was engaged in casting down and killing the Rajputs.

A Rajput ran at him and struck it with his sword inflicting a slight wound. The elephant, however, did not regard it and seized him with its trunk. 

Just then another Rajput came in front of him and Sabdiliya turned to him while the first man escaped from his grasp and again daringly attacked him, but Sabdiliya behaved magnificently."

Description of another Mughal war elephant named Sabdiliya. This name means - the beautiful (perhaps the charming killer) ,  who was throwing away and killing the Rajputs. The incident mentioned here relates to the story of this elephant's fight with two Rajputs. Akbar was watching this encounter standing on the wall of the fort.

Some Talks of Chivalry and Bravery:

The Shahinshah also said that in the very heat of the conflict  - A Rajput hero, whom he did not recognise, came under his observation. A Rajput who was separated from him by a low wall challenged him to combat, and he joyfully went towards him. One of the soldiers, whom also the Shahinshah did not recognise, ran to the assistance of the other hero. He did everything to prevent him from helping him, and engaging personally with his opponent he disposed of him.

The Shahinshah used to say that, though he endeavoured to find out about this brave and chivalrous Rajput who died at his hands, but he did not succeed. 

Presumably he was one of the mysterious men who put on a bodily form in order to help the spiritually and temporally august one.

A Rajput soldier challenged Akbar to fight with him. Akbar went to fight with him and disposed him off on his own, in tune with the principles of chivalry. After killing him, Akbar tried to find the identity of this 'brave and chivalrous' Rajput, but was not successful.

The Young Rajput Chief - Patta Goes Down Fighting..
300 armoured Mughal War elephants launch attack in the Fort

In the beginning of the fight, there were 50 elephants and, at the end, as many as 300 entered the fort and began to trample down the enemy. 

The Shahinshah related that he had come near the temple of Gobind Shyam when an elephant-driver trampled a man under his elephant. 

The elephant then rolled that man in his trunk and brought him before the Shahinshah. 

The elephant driver said that he did not know the man's name, but that he told the Shahinshah that the man appeared to be one of the Rajput leaders, and that a large number of brave men had fought round with him with sacrificed their lives. 

At last it was found that this Rajput was Patta who had been trampled to death by the charging elephant. At the time he was produced, there was a breath of life left in him, but he shortly afterwards died.

As i have already said before, this battle was not among equals. 8000 Rajputs versus 60,000+ Mughal forces. Add to this, the number of war elephants brought into the Fort. Initially, there were 50 war elephants. Later, their number swelled to 300. These armoured elephants began to trample down or throw away the Rajputs in a frenzied state. We have already seen 4 special events described by Abu'l Fazl where Rajputs confronted these war elephants.

Abu'l Fazl also tells us about the death of Patta who was fighting near the temple of Gobind Shyam. Patta was trampled to near death by a charging elephant. He was not recognized initially. His body, with just a little life left in it, was brought before Akbar and presented as a war trophy. However, he died shortly.  

Patta is immortal in Rajasthan. His mother & a wife also died fighting in the battlefield. The names of Jaimal and Patta are never taken singly, but always together.

Akbar himself writes, after winning Chittor, in his victory farman -> "Patta was SINGLY equal to a thousand horsemen in intrepidity and prowess". Single-handedly, he sent waves of destruction among the Mughal ranks. When no solution seemed in sight to dispose him, an uncontrollable war elephant was sent charging against him. 


There were "8000 fighting Rajputs" collected in the fortress in all, but there were more than 40,000 peasants who took part in watching and serving them. 

When our royal standards entered the fort some of the garrison squeezed themselves into the temples, thinking that they were holy places and and that the idols would help them, and awaited the sacrificing of their lives. Others awaited their doom in their own houses.

A number of Rajputs lifted up their swords and shortened their lances and came forward to face our holy warriors (ghazis). The latter (Mughals) disposed of "those evil-fated ones"(Rajputs) by their swords and lances. 

A number of those who were in the temples (defenders) and in their houses (commoners) came out on seeing the ghazis, but were struck down before they could reach them.

8000 fighting Rajputs were present in the Fort, along with more than 40,000 peasants. Fazl says some of the Rajputs took shelter in temples, thinking that they would be safe there. However, those people went into the temples, NOT for their own protection, but for protecting the temples. Temples were seen as "places of authority" of the defenders and were bound to suffer damage by the invading armies.

Fazl further says - Rajputs came out to fight, on seeing the ghazis. Some were struck down by swords and lances and some were struck down before reaching the Mughals. This perhaps implies that they were shot dead by guns or by arrows...

Verse :
" No one ever saw such battles, 

Nor ever heard of such from the experienced, 
What shall I say of that battle and engagement, 
I cannot mention one item out of a hundred thousand. " 

The Unprecedented Massacre

This is a very BIG ground present in the Fort, said to be the site of the massacre. The original purpose of this site was to practice warfare and receive training.

From early dawn till midday the bodies of those ill-starred men were consumed by the majesty of our great warriors. Nearly 30,000 men were killed.

The reason of so many being killed was that on the former occasion on 16th August 1303, when Sultan Alau-d-din Khilji took the fort after 6 months and 7 days, the peasantry were not put to death. They had not engaged in fighting. 

This was the First Siege of Chittor, starting in January 1303. At that time, the ruler of Mewar was Rana Ratan Singh, (husband of the famed Rani Padmini, with whom is associated a legend) who resisted Ala-ud-din Khilji for 6 months, before the ultimate Jauhar and Saka. Khilji did not massacre the civilians after winning Chittor. Rana Ratan Singh had sent his family to safety but himself stayed back to defend the fort. This proved fatal for him because he was killed in this battle. This was a precedent for the future generations that the King should be kept safe in case of any war. 

But on this occasion they had shown great zeal and activity. Their excuses (lamentations) after the emergence of our victory were of no avail, and orders were given for a general massacre. A large number were made prisoners.

One of the wonderful things was that the Shahinshah's wrath had been greatly excited against the skilful musketeers, but though much search was made no trace of them could be found. At last it transpired that those evil-doers had, by means of the disguise of trickery, carried off their lives in safety from the fort. The way they got out was this: When the victorious army was hotly engaged in plundering and capturing the fort, these musketeers, who were 1000 in number, bound their wives and children as if they were prisoners and set off with them. The truth remained concealed from the searchers, and they thought that they were royal troops carrying off the prisoners. The stratagem was effectual at such a time and they escaped. 

These were the soldiers of the Afghan, Ismail Khan, who fought for Mewar. Abu'l Fazl says that they escaped the fort disguised as Mughal soldiers, with their wives and children pretending to be prisoners of war. This is what the Mughals "thought" and its veracity cannot be ascertained.


Though on that day there was no house or lane, or passage in the fort where there were not heaps of dead, yet there were 3 places where the numbers of the slain was very great. {those 3 places are listed below by Abu'l Fazl}

A Ruined Lane in the Fort of Chittor

1. A large number of Rajputs had collected in the house of the Rana in the fort. They came out by twos and threes, and threw away their lives. 

{See the pictures below}

Ruins of the Palace of the Rana, which was a site of Jauhar as well as one of the major bloodbaths of the 3rd Siege of Chittor.

Ruins of the Palace of Rana of Mewar - Side View
Ruins of the Palace of Rana - Close View

Ruins of the Palace of the Rana

Ruins of the Palace of the Rana 

Kirti Stambh - "The Tower of Fame" | An excellent piece of Rajputana architecture . One of the FEW monuments which escaped the wrath of the victorious Mughal army.

A Close View of the Base of the Kirti Stambh 

A Close View of Kirti Stambh

An Old photograph of Kirti Stambh with the rubble of damaged structures lying nearby..1870's....A destroyed part of this tower can be seen.

2. A large number collected in the temple of Mahadeo, who was much reverenced by them. 

{See the pictures below}

A 12th Century Temple Dedicated to Lord Shiva. This was the site of one of the most bloodiest combats in the Battle of Chittor.

Corner View of the Temple

One of the Gateways of this temple. Note the delicate carvings depicting scenes from various scriptures.

Ceiling of the Temple

This is the main Deity, Ekling Ji, in the temple's sanctum sanctorum. Note that along with the shrine, on the left below, a picture of Maharana Pratap is also present. This underscores the place that Maharana Pratap occupies in the hearts of the people of this land. 

In 'contemporary Rajputana text' - Amar YashVarnan, written around 1600-1610, Maharana Pratap is described as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who took birth to safeguard Mewar from the clutches of invading armies and maintain its 'honor'. 

Maharana Pratap is also referred to as being worthy of being remembered early in the morning - "prataha smarniya". These are Sanskrit words. Prataha means Early Morning and Smarniya means worthy of remembering.

3. A large number gave their bodies to the winds in the Ram­pura gateway. 

{See the pictures below.}

Ram Pol - The Door of Lord Ram. It is the site of one the most ferocious combats in the Battle of Chittor. Stains of blood can still be seen here on close inspection.

A Close View of Ram Pol - The picture shows the delicate beautiful carvings of elephants on this gate. 

Back View of Ram Pol
A glorious victory was obtained, such as might be an embroidery of increasing dominion, displayed itself from the ambuscades of for­tune, and the fumes of pride at once departed from the heads of the contumacious ones of India, and they adopted submission in a special fashion (by getting massacred).

Abu'l Fazl praises the Mughal victory for increasing the Mughal empire. He states that the "fumes of pride", that is, the feeling of pride and honor of the 'contumacious ones of India' (the Rajputs) left them after their defeat.

Except Darb Ali Tuwaci no one of the armies of fortune drank the cup of martyrdom on that day. The Shahinshah offered thanksgiving and after midday proceeded towards the camp. He remained there for three days arranging affairs, and made over the whole of the Sarkar to Khwaja Abdu-l-Majid Asaf Khan.

This seems like an understatement.!  Fazl says that only 1 Mughal soldier died on the final day of victory in the war, though he himself described the final combat as being so fierce that even the most experienced of the warriors had never seen such a fight like it either before or afterwards. 

The number of dead Mughal soldiers may have been between 30,000 and 40,000, as per various accounts. More details will be posted in the next part of this Chittor Battle series.


IV. Tarikh-i-Firistha : By Muhammed Qa'asim Firistha

Reference: "Tarikh-i-Firistha, Vol.-2, Page-230, English translation.  

The author lived in the reign of Akbar & in the beginning of Jahangir's reign. Firistha died in 1611.

This contemporary Mughal chronicler has called the mother of Salim / Jahangir as the favorite Sultana (wife) of Akbar. See more here : Facts about Akbar and Mariam Uz Zamani.

His account of the Battle of Chittor matches that of Abu'l Fazl. He may have consulted Abu'l Fazl's Akbarnama while writing his own account.

=> The new mines were directed to be constructed, and as the works were in progress, the King, while in the batteries, observed Jaimal, the governor of the place, superin­tending the repairing of the breaches, and giving his orders by torchlight. 

Akbar, seizing a matchlock from one of his attendants, fired at him, and was so fortunate as to lodge the ball in Jaimal's forehead. The spirit of the besieged (Rajputs) fell with their governor; and in their despair, they performed the ceremony of the Jauhar, their wives and children going to death.

The King (Akbar), perceiving what was in progress within the fort, advanced under the cover of night to the breaches, and found them abandoned, so that he entered the fort without opposition. Daylight appeared, and still not a soul was to be seen of the garrison; all had retired to their temples, and, as usual, refused quarter. 

Kalika Mata Temple - suffered a lot of damage in this war. 

Kalika Mata Temple - has been restored to a great extent now.

The King (Akbar) , mounting his elephant, or­dered the temples of the Fort to be stormed. Around 10,000 Rajputs fell in the assault, while, with the ex­ception of one Nusrat Ali, not a single Muhammedan (Muslim) lost his life. 

Most of this account is same as Abu'l Fazl's account, except the fact that Mughals entered the fort at night and Akbar ordered storming of temples. More details in the next post in this series.

The command of Chittor being con­ferred on Asaf Khan, the King returned to his capital.

V. The History of First Thousand Years of Islam : By Mulla Ahmed 
Reference: (KCB, John, Vol.-5, Page-170, London, 1873) 

This account was written during the reign of Akbar. I got my hands on this account only recently. Hence, posting the extracts here now. This is a short description of the entire war, which i found quite accurate. The author has written the events to the point without either any major flattery or ridicule of any side. A lot of things mentioned here match with the Rajput accounts. 

This account has been written in a very easy to understand language and is concise.

=> When the Emperor marched from Gagrun against the Rana, the Rana knew his own strength, he left with his family to the distant hills. He felt at ease about Chittor. The fort was set in order, great quantities of provisions were stored, and the garrison consisted of 8000 veteran Rajputs, which included the Rana's own men, with their wives and families.

The Emperor determined to attack Chittor, which is an exceedingly strong fortress of Hindustan defended by veteran Rajputs. When he came near the fort, the rains were so heavy, that for a time the fort was invisible; but as the weather cleared, he got a view of the place. The fortress is situated in the midst of a level plain, which has no other eminences. The circuit of this mountain at its base is 6 koss, and the ground upon which the walls of the fort stand is nearly 3 koss. Upon the top of the hill there is a fountain, but not content with that the ­constructors of this fort formed large reservoirs of stone and mortar on their own, which get filled in the rainy season. So with these supplies the garrison are never short of water. 

The eastern side of the fort, and towards the north, is faced with hard stone, and the garrison felt quite secure as to that portion. On the other sides if tops (it means canons/guns), zarb-zan (it means swivel guns), sang-r'ad (it means catapults) , and manjaniks (this was a mechanical artillery system through which fireballs, fire laden arrows, and rocks etc could be hurled on the enemy) are able to reach the fortress, they cannot do so much harm. 

Travellers of far do not speak of any fortress like this fort in the whole habitable world. At this time, all the space of 3 koss at the top of the mountain was full, and the houses of the people rose several storeys over each other. Great veterans (Rajputs) guarded the battlements at the top of the walls, and great quantities of ammunition were stored in the fortress. 

1 koss = 3.2 kilometres
1 mann = 38 kilograms

Mortar on Wheels present in the Artillery House in the Fort of Chittor
His Majesty carefully reconnoitred the place on every side, and saw that it would not fall without a long siege. The batteries were apportioned out among the amirs, and bakhshis were appointed and sent to those amirs who had not yet come up. Every day some one arrived and went to his battery, so that in a short time the whole fort was invested.

Asaf Khan went under orders to take Rampur. He took the place, and having plundered and ravaged the country, he returned victorious. Husain Kuli Khan went to attack Udaipur, the capital of the Rana and of his ancestors. He ravaged the country with fire and sword, and returned bringing great spoil and numerous prisoners from the fastnesses of the mountains.

The new mines were directed to be constructed, and as the works were in progress, the King, while in the batteries, observed Jaimal, the governor of the place, superin­tending the repairing of the breaches, and giving his orders by torchlight. 

From day to day the brave assailants carried their attacks closer to the fort on every side, and a great number of them suffered martyrdom, for the fort was very strong, and they made the most ex­cellent defence. 

Orders were given for digging ditches and for constructing sabats, and nearly 5000 builders, carpenters, stone­masons, smiths, and sappers were collected from all parts. 

Sabats are contrivances peculiar to Hindustan; for the strong forts like this (Chittor) of this country are replete with guns, muskets, and warlike appa­ratus, and can only be taken by means of sabats. 

It was Raja TodarMal's idea to use sabats, since he was aware of the method of warfare in Rajputana. This is a notable point because often people wonder how the Hindu ministers reacted to Mughal warfare tactics during the Chittor siege. But, he was completely opposed to the idea of massacring the civilians of Chittor, after the Mughals had conquered the fort. He tried to stop Akbar, but his pleas were sternly rejected. This will be described in the next post in this series.
A sabat is a broad (covered) way, under the shelter of which the assailants approach a fortress secure from the fire of guns and muskets. Two sabats were accordingly begun. The one which was oppo­site the royal quarters was so broad that two elephants and two horses could easily pass along it, and so high that an elephant-rider could carry his spear. The sabats were commenced from the middle of the hill, which is a fortress upon a fortress. 

The people of the fort had never seen a sabat, and were puzzled, but they endeavoured to stop the work. Seven or eight thousand horsemen and numerous gunners exerted themselves to the utmost in attacking them, and engaged in skirmishes with our army to destroy the sabats. 

And although the sabats had thick roofs of cow and buffalo hides (skin) to protect the workmen, no day passed without a hundred men more or less being killed. The bodies of the slain were used instead of stones and bricks. 

His Majesty's kindness and justice would not allow any man to be pressed for the work, but heaps of rupees and dams were scattered as hire, and each man went to work for what he could get. 

In a short time one sabat reached the walls, and was so high that it overlooked the Rajputs. On the top of it a seat was constructed for the Emperor, from which he could see at his ease the efforts of his warriors, and from which he could also take a part in the fight if so minded. While the men of the garrison were endeavouring to interrupt the progress of the sabats, the sappers formed several mines under the walls, and wherever stones were met with, the stonemasons opened a way through with their iron tools. 

The purpose of this site is not known. This is called the Royal Hill. Perhaps, this was used by guards to keep an eye on the movements at far-off places.

Two bastions in front of the royal battery were com­pletely undermined, and, according to order, both mines were filled with gunpowder. Three or four hundred brave men of the Imperial army were posted ready armed near these bastions, to rush in as soon as the explosion took place, before the defenders could rally to resist them. Both mines were fired, and one which took effect blew the bastion from its foundations into the air, and every stone fell at a distance. A great breach was visible, and the storming party instantly rushed forward shout­ing their war-cry (Allah-u-Akbar). 

A strong party of the garrison came forward to oppose them, and while the contest was at the hottest, and a great number of the faithful and of the infidels were struggling upon the other bastion, the mine exploded, and blew friend and foe together into the air, scattering their limbs in all directions. 

The quantity of gunpowder used was so enormous that even stones of fifty and a hundred manns were hurled to the distance of two and three koss. Many corpses also were found within a radius of two koss. Many braves of the Imperial army perished. Vast numbers of the Rajput garrison were also killed. The vast quantities of dust and smoke prevented all movement in the Imperial army for a time; stones, corpses, and limbs fell from the air, and the eyes of the soldiers were injured. But our enemy (Rajputs), concealing their loss, showed a brave front.

Artillery House - Fort of Chittor

When the Emperor perceived the state of affairs, he exerted himself more strenuously to take the place. He ordered the sabat in front of Shuja'at Khan's battery to be pushed forward.

The Rajput garrison was in sore distress, and ready to succumb, but no one proposed surrender to the Emperor.

The Emperor had determined that he would capture by storm this Chittor - the strongest fortress of Hindustan, so that in future no other fortress should DARE to resist our Imperial army.

He took his position on the top of the sabat, and his brave soldiers kept up such a discharge from their bows and muskets that no one could escape from the place. His Majesty also had his own musket, deadly as the darts of fate, with which he killed every moving thing (in the Rajput camp) that caught his eye. 

On the 5th Sha'ban 955 (night of 22nd/23rd February 1568) , the assault was made by the Emperor's command. The walls had been breached in several places, and the signs of victory were in favour of the assailants (Mughals).

Jaimal, the commandant of the fortress - an infidel yet valiant, all day long he struggled bravely in every part of the fortress, inciting his men to fight and resist our Imperial army.

At the time of evening prayer Jaimal came in front of the royal battery, where the Emperor, holding his musket, discharged it as often as light blazed out in the bastion. It so often happened that Jaimal was standing in that tower when His Majesty discharged his piece into a lighted place. The ball struck Jaimal in the forehead and killed him on the spot.

When the men of the garrison saw their leader fall, they felt that all further resistance was useless; they per­formed the Jauhar at their own homes. Jauhar is the name of a rite among the Hindus (Rajputs). When they know for certain that there is no escape for their wives and children, they all collect goods and chattels, heap fire-wood around the pile, and fire it with their own hands. After the burning is accomplished, they rush into the fight, and give themselves over to death. This they esteem a great act of devotion to their land.

The great flames of the Jauhar and the lull of the conflict on the bastions and walls showed the assailants that the garrison was reduced to extremity, so they began to make their way into the place in parties. 

Some of the boldest of the infidels, who had no wives and families left behind after Jauhar, stood to their posts resolved to sell their lives at the hands of our Imperial army. The Emperor witnessed the prowess of the warriors from the top of the sabat. 

Under his orders three elephants were taken through the breach into the city, and one of them, named Madkar, (Madhukar) on that day killed many infidels, and although he received many wounds, never turned tail. The second elephant, named Jagna, (Jangiya) was surrounded by infidels, and died of the numerous wounds he received from spears and swords. 

In the last watch of the night the assailants (Mughals) forced their way into the fortress in several places, and fell to slaughtering and plundering in the fortress.

At early dawn the Emperor went in mounted on an elephant, attended by his nobles and chiefs on foot. The order was given for a general massacre of the infidels as a punishment. 

The number of fighting men in the fortress exceeded a little over 8000. Some of them repaired to the idol temple, and there fought to the last breath. 

In every street and lane & bazaar there was desperate fighting by the infidel warriors (Rajput warriors) against our Imperial army. Every now and then a band of infidels, having thrown away all hope of life, would rush from the temple with swords and shields and from their homes, and so were dispatched by the warriors (Mughals) they encountered.

Those of the fortress who escaped the sword, men and women, were made prisoners, and their property came into the hands of the Mussalmans (Muslims, he means the Mughal army). The place being cleared of infidels (Rajputs), His Majesty remained there for three days, and then departed, leaving the government of the country in the hands of Asaf Khan.


    No one ever saw such battles, 

    Nor ever heard of such from the experienced, 
    What shall I say of that battle and engagement, 
    I cannot mention one item out of a hundred thousand

The verse by Abul Fazl describing the final Battle of Chittor captures vividly the intensity of the war and the zeal of the two combating armies to make the other bite dust.

    The two armies raised their lances
    They formed ambuscades, and drew up in line

    They were all iron-fisted, they were all biters of steel,
    All were famous and were clad in iron

    The heroes brandished swords red with blood
    One was yielding up his life, another was flying,

    They mowed down with swords the elephant-trunks
    You'd say serpents were being rained down from the clouds.

    The Commander on a mighty, raging elephant
    Continually assailed the bow string.

    One paid off his debt of hate with lance and sword
    Sometimes the heart was riven, sometimes the breast was consumed.

    Tulips were painted by his dagger
    There was a rain of rings from the heroes' armour.

Just reading the accounts of the war, even from one side only, makes our hearts beat faster and sends shivers of horror down our spine. The ferocity of the war in which man and beast alike were willing to kill and be killed for their cause, can only be imagined faintly.

We, who live in modern times, can hardly understand the emotions that must have run high in both the Mughals and the Rajputs during the course of the battle. 

Just what changed the course of the war in favour of the Mughals after months of a bitter and hostile face-off between the two equally poised sides? I say equally poised here because the Rajputs were equal to and even superior sometimes to the Mughals in their zest for victory, their courage and valour, their determination to keep out the enemy, and their willingness to sacrifice everything for Mewar. 

The Mughals were vastly superior in numbers, weaponry, and resources. They had free access to the outside world, which was denied to the entrapped Rajputs. In addition to a huge army whose ranks could be increased anytime by calling in more troops, the Mughals had over 5000 masons, miners, sappers etc just to help the army prepare for attack and defence both. This figure is more than half of the number of fighting Rajputs in the fort who also had to double up as workers whose job it was to close the breaches in the fort walls. 

Another thing which worked in favour of the Mughals was the presence of experienced Hindustani ministers on their side such as Raja Bhagwan Das and Raja TodarMal.  These warriors were well-versed in the art of warfare as practised in Rajputana and knew how to capture hill-forts equipped with guns and muskets, in addition to fierce artillery (to be explained in the next post). As mentioned in the post, it was Raja TodarMal who gave the idea of building sabats, covered channels of attack, to the Mughals. Without sabats, it would have been impossible for Mughal Emperor Akbar to capture the heavily guarded fort of Chittor.  

The third thing which worked for the Mughals and went against the Rajputs was the extremely HEAVY use of gunpowder to breach the fort walls all around and to destroy the fort, which made it easy for the Mughal troops to enter the fort and capture it.

The final factor that worked for the Mughals was breach of war rules. The Mughals attacked the fort and entered it at night when it was generally considered an unwritten rule of warfare that fighting should cease at sunset so that the combating armies can rest and recoup for the next day. Had the Mughals not entered the fort the night of 22/23 February, 1568 itself, it may have been possible for the Rajputs to repair the breaches in the walls and find another commander to replace the wounded Jaimal Rathore. 

The Mughal army also behaved in an extremely depraved manner after entering the fort. Instead of fighting man to man, they went on a rampage, destroying the fort complex and massacring civilians. Even the temples were not spared, many Rajputs died defending their temples. Patta himself fell near the Gobind Shyam Temple. The frenzy of the Mughal army reached such a crescendo that armoured, war-trained elephants were brought into the fort, almost 300 of them, and made to trample or pick up and throw away violently the people who were defending the fort. 

The Rajputs held the fort till their last breath, fighting with an army of seemingly barbaric soldiers who knew not what the principles of war were. They kept up a valiant defence, 8000 men facing 60000+ soldiers. The Rajputs tried everything they possibly could, attacking the sabats as they were being constructed, closing breaches in the fort walls as soon as they could and keeping up a fusillade of muskets and arrows, guns and stones against the invading forces. But in the end, they lost their commander, their fort was blown up at many places using mines, and they were attacked at night.

The Rajputs were still not ready to surrender. To the last fighting man, they went for Saka and preferred a glorious death over dishonourable laying down of arms. The women and children of the fort, who did not even get time to prepare for Jauhar, had to light fires wherever they could and submit themselves to the flames to maintain their honour and pride. Otherwise, who knows what horrors the victorious army would have unleashed on them, after killing 30,000 men in cold blood? There were still many women and children who did fall into the Mughal hands and underwent untold miseries. Those who survived the ordeal were taken as prisoners and sold as slaves. {More in next post.} 

The Turning Points

There were 3 major turning points during the final days of the battle.

1. Fall of Ismail Khan: Ismail Khan, the Afghan leader of the musketeers, was loyal to the Maharana and an extremely able shot. His death at the hands of Akbar proved to be one of the final nails in the coffin for the Rajputs. The only way to defend the fort from the Mughals who were inching closer everyday was through the use of muskets and guns.

2. Fall of Raja Jaimal Rathore: When Akbar injured / killed Raja Jaimal, a wave of despair passed through the Rajputs who felt that now victory was out of their reach and Saka / Jauhar was the only way out. The 61 year old Raja Jaimal Rathore was a highly experienced commander and influenced the Rajputs to dedicate themselves to fight for Mewar at any cost. Age was not a bar for him. The fighting Rajputs lost a fatherly figure who could persuade them to believe in their innate courage in order to defeat a superior enemy with Jaimal's fall. Raja Jaimal's fighting prowess has been estimated to be equal to a 1000 horsemen by Mughal Emperor Akbar in his victory farman.

However, it is to the credit of the other Rajput commanders like Patta Sisodia, Rawat Chundawat, Isar Das Chauhan, Rao Sahib, Kalla and others that the Rajputs still did not bend but kept fighting both the Mughal soldiers and their war elephants. 

A notable point is that Akbar is credited with achieving both these major turning points by shooting Ismail Khan and Raja Jaimal personally. Despite having a strong army and many able generals, it is a curious fact that Akbar himself took an active part in the war, so intent was he to win at any cost. 

3.  Unprecedented Carnage by Mughals: Never before had any other invading army wreaked as much havoc as the Mughals did during the 3rd siege of Chittor. By entering the fort from all directions at night, mowing down anyone they could and using elephants to trample down their foes, the Mughal army reached the lowest point in its history till then. What chance did the Rajputs have in the face of such barbaric warfare? 

What Does History Say ?

Mughal Emperor Akbar did win the war at Chittor and Chittor remained with the Mughals till Jahangir himself gave it back to the Mewar Rajputs later to end a struggle spanning almost half a century.  

This victory was the beginning of a long campaign to win over almost the entire Rajputana, the region that had refused to acknowledge him. It was a significant victory for Akbar because till the end, Mewar remained the only kingdom that refused to become a vassal of the Mughal empire. And the loss of Chittor, a stronghold of Mewar, sent shock waves among the other Rajput states, who did not dare to show much resistance afterwards, having witnessed the massacre at Chittor. 

a. It is mentioned in the post, by the authority of Mughal chronicler, Mulla Ahmed, that Akbar wanted to set a precedent by destroying the fort of Chittor so that no other Rajput state would dare defy his imperial army. 
b. Akbar's farman after the victory of Chittor says that he asked Rana Udai Singh and his son to surrender before him in person, and pay their respects to him ; but they refused. As a result, Akbar decided to 'humble' them..
c. Rajputana tradition maintain that Akbar wanted the surrender of Ranas of Mewar at his feet.

But if Akbar thought this victory would bring him laurels, he was vastly mistaken. On the contrary, this war became the eternal blemish of his personality, one that refused to go away even after Akbar became a noble, tolerant king who preached Sulh-i-Kul.

This was perhaps one of the major wars that he fought as a "ghazi" and massacred the defeated "infidels" to push the boundaries of his empire further. But it back-fired on him badly. Even today, historians tie themselves into knots trying to find (non-existent) justification for someone like Akbar - " The Great's " actions in Chittor..

This war will remain most notable for being the starting of:
1. A relentless campaign by Akbar to conquer Rajputana
2. An unceasing struggle between Akbar and Maharana Pratap , which ended only with their death.

In the Next Post:

The present post was from the point of view of the Mughals. Some of the accounts have even recorded the names of Mughal War elephants who took part in this war. These accounts were written in the court of Mughal Emperor Akbar. The next post will narrate this war as described in the Rajput and some other accounts of this battle. It will also contain the details of the warriors on the Rajput side who fought in this battle. Many of the lesser known names need to recognized for the valor they demonstrated in this war.

Thanks to Radhika for her contribution to this post.
The article has been posted under the Rajputs and Mughals (Akbar) section of this history BLOG.

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