Battle of Panipat

Battle of Panipat (1526)


  • The First Battle of Panipat (April 1526) was fought near Panipat. Panipat is the place where many decisive battles were fought over control of North India from the twelfth century onwards.
  • The First War of Panipat laid the foundation of the Mughal Empire in India. 
  • It was one of the first battles in which the Mughals used gunpowder, firearms and cannons.
  • The first battle of Panipat was fought between Zaheer-uddin Babur and Sultan Ibrahim Lodi of the Lodi dynasty of Delhi. 
  • Lodi was defeated by Zaheer-ud-din Babur in this war.

military force 

  • Babur’s army consisted of about 15,000 soldiers and 20 to 24 cannons. 
  • Ibrahim Lodi’s army consisted of about 30,000 to 40,000 soldiers and at least 1000 elephants.

Babur’s strategy

  • Not only the Asra-Shastra, but Babur’s strategy of Tulugama and Araba also inspired him to victory.
    • Tulugama War Policy: This meant dividing the entire army into various units – left, right and middle.
      • Split the left and right parts forward and the other units in the back.
      • In this, a small army could be used to surround the enemy from all sides.
    • Arba War Policy: The Central Forward Division was then provided with bullock carts (arba) which were placed in a row facing the enemy and tied to each other by animal-skinned ropes.
    • Cannons were placed behind Arba, so that the enemy could be hidden from behind.

Result of war

  • The Timurid Ruler of Kabulistan of Kabulistan defeated the vast army of Ibrahim Lodi, the Sultan of Delhi, by the Mughal army of Babur.
    • This victory enabled Babur to lay the foundation of the Indian Mughal Empire.
  • Ibrahim Lodi died on the battlefield and feudal lords and generals (soldiers who were kept for fighting in other countries) left Lodi there.
    • Most of them accepted the suzerainty of the new ruler of Delhi.

Second Battle of Panipat (1556)

Battle of Panipat
Battle of Panipat

The Second Battle of Panipat was fought on November 5, 1556 between the Hindu ruler of North India, Emperor Hemachandra Vikramaditya (popular name- Hemu) and Akbar’s army in the Panipat plain. This was a decisive victory for Akbar’s generals Khan Zaman and Bairam Khan.

  • As a result of this war, in the struggle between the Mughals and the Afghans for supremacy over Delhi, the final decision was made in favor of the Mughals and the power remained with the Mughals for the next three hundred years.

The background

  • Emperor Hemachandra Vikramaditya or Hemu was the last Hindu emperor of Delhi who defeated Akbar / Humayun’s army in the battle for Delhi.
    • Hemu was from Rewari in present-day Haryana. Hemu was also an advisor to Sher Shah Suri’s son Islam Shah from 1545 to 1553.
    • He won 22 wars during 1553 to 1556 as Prime Minister of Islam regime and Chief of Army of Islam Shah, which was fought to end the rebellion of Afghan rebels against Suri regime. .
  • On 24 January 1556, the Mughal ruler Humayun died in Delhi and his son Akbar was succeeded. At that time Akbar was only thirteen years old. 
    • Akbar was crowned at Kalanaur in Punjab on 14 February 1556.
    • At the time of the coronation, the Mughal rule was confined to Kabul, Kandahar, Delhi and parts of Punjab.


  • Akbar and his patron Bairam Khan did not participate in the war and were stationed 5 Kos (8 mi) away from the battlefield.
    • Bairam Khan did not allow the 13-year-old Bal Raja to personally appear on the battlefield, instead he was provided with a special guard of 5,000 well-trained and most loyal soldiers and he was on the battlefield. Was stationed at a safe distance from 
    • A frontline army of Mughals consisted of 10,000 cavalry, of which 5,000 were experienced soldiers who were ready to fight Hemu’s frontline army.
  • Hemu himself led his army. Hemu’s army was equipped with 1500 elephants and excellent artillery.
    • Hemu advanced in excellent order with a well-trained Rajput and Afghan cavalry force of 30,000.

Result of war

Hemu was on his way to victory in the war with his military force but Akbar’s army wounded Hemu with an arrow in his eye, causing him to faint and the incident led to Hemu’s defeat leading to victory in the war. . 

Not seeing Hemu on the Hauda (riding on horseback), Hemu’s army was disturbed and lost due to this confusion.

Several hours after the war ended, Hemu was found dead and brought to Akbar’s camp by Shah Quli Khan Mahram at a camp in Panipat.

Hemu’s supporters built a memorial at his beheading site which still exists in the village of Saundhapur (Saudhapur) on Jind Road in Panipat.

Third Battle of Panipat (1761) Battle of Panipat

The third battle of Panipat took place on January 14, 1761, between the Maratha Empire and Ahmed Shah Abdali of Afghanistan, also known as Ahmed Shah Durrani, about 60 miles (95.5 km) north of Delhi in Panipat.

  • In this war, Rohila Afghans of Doab and Nawab Shuja-ud-Daula of Awadh supported Ahmed Shah Abdali.

military force

  • In military terms, the army defeated the artillery and cavalry of the Marathas with French supplies, led by the heavy cavalry and artillery (Zaburak and Jezile) of Afghans and Rohils led by Ahmad Durrani and Najib-ud-Daula.
    • It is considered to be the largest war in the wars of the 18th century in which the largest number of deaths occurred on a single day in a war between two armies.

The background

  • After the 27-year Mughal-Maratha War (1680–1707), the Maratha Empire expanded rapidly due to the decline of the Mughal Empire.
    • Peshwa Bajirao had controlled Gujarat and Malwa.
    • Ultimately, in the year 1737, Bajirao defeated the Mughals on the outskirts of Delhi and captured most of the former Mughal territories in the south under Maratha control.
  • This led to a direct confrontation of the Marathas with Ahmad Shah Abdali’s Durrani empire.
  • In the year 1759, he created an army of Pashtun tribes which benefited from action against the small Maratha chieftains in Punjab.
    • He then, along with his Indian allies, included the Rohilla Afghans of the Gangetic Doab in a broad coalition against the Marathas.

Role of Shuja-ud-daula

  • The Marathas as well as the Afghans also tried to include Shuja-ud-daula, the Nawab of Awadh, in their camp.
    • By the end of July Shuja-ud-Daula decided to join the Afghan-Rohilla alliance, known as the ‘Army of Islam’.
  • This was strategically a major loss for the Marathas, as Shuja-ud-daula provided finance for the Afghan army’s long stay in northern India.
  • This raised doubts as to whether the Marathas would be able to continue their struggle without the support of Shuja-ud-Daula after the Afghan-Rohilla alliance.

Food supply bottleneck 

  • Ultimately, in August 1760, the Maratha camp reached Delhi and attacked the city.
    • This was followed by an encounter along the banks of the Yamuna River and a battle at Kunjpura, in which the Marathas defeated the Afghan army of about 15,000 to win the battle.
  • However, Abdali crossed the Yamuna River at Baghpat in October to form his original Maratha camp in Delhi.
    • Finally, a two-month-long siege led by Abdali against the Marathas in Panipat city.
    • During the siege, both sides tried to disrupt each other’s essential supplies. The Afghans became more effective in this and by the end of November 1760 they had disrupted almost all the food supplies to the Maratha camp.
  • In the Maratha camp, by the end of December or the beginning of January, the food was exhausted and thousands of cattle died.
    • There were reports about soldiers dying of starvation in early January.


  • The Maratha chiefs urged their general, Sadashiv Rao Bhau, to allow them to die in war instead of starving.
  • The battle lasted for several days and involved over 125,000 soldiers.
    • This war went on for a long time, with the losses and advantages of the armies on both sides.
  • The army under the leadership of Ahmad Shah Durrani emerged victorious after ending many Maratha sides.
  • The damage of both sides in the war has been assessed as follows:
    • Between 60,000–70,000 soldiers were killed in the war, while a considerable difference was found in the number of wounded and prisoners. The next day of the war, around 40,000 Maratha prisoners were slaughtered.

Result Battle of Panipat

  • The result of the war was to prevent further Maratha progress in the north and destabilization of their territories for about 10 years.
    • This period of 10 years is marked by the rule of Peshwa Madhavrao, who is credited with the resurgence of Maratha supremacy after the defeat in the Battle of Panipat.
  • 10 years after the Third War of Panipat (year 1771) Peshwa Madhavrao sent a large Maratha army to North India in an expedition, which meant:
    • Re-establishing Maratha supremacy in North India.
    • Maratha supremacy was shaken by either partisan demolition powers with the Afghans, such as after the Rohils or the Battle of Panipat. 
  • The success of this campaign can be seen as the final story of the long story of Panipat.


  • The most important thing that appears in all the three wars of Panipat is that the city of Panipat has never been the cause of controversy or war.
  • Panipat was always the gateway to Delhi.
    • Historically any aggressor from the north-west who wanted to capture Delhi had to pass through the Khyber Pass and then through Punjab.


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