In 1567, extending his campaign against Rajputana, Akbar laid siege to the fort of Chittorgarh. Through their valour & sacrifice in defence of the fort, Jaimal & Patta became synonymous with house of mewar and chittor. The battle witnessed the third jauhar of chittorgarh & massacre that Abkar ordered after the victory.
The mughal engagement with marwar during the period of 1556-66, gave Rana Udai Singh free hand to strengthen his power and position. In 1562, Jaimal was ousted from Merta, at orders of emperor Akbar. Rana Udai Singh II of Mewar gave refugee to Jaimal and was given jagir of Bednore, along with position in his court. In 1563, after defeat at hands of Akbar, Baz Bahadur of Malwa also fled to chittor. Rana Udai Singh gave refuge to Baz Bahadur at utmost displeasure to Akbar.
After handling the rebellions of the Mirzas and the Uzbek nobles in 1567, Akbar turned his eyes towards the prestigious kingdom of Mewar.
Siege of Chittorrgarh 1567
Akbar marched towards fort of chittor and laid seige. Rana Udai Singh was compelled to quit and escaped the seige, giving the responsibility of defence to Jaimal of Merta. The imperial sappers were able to reach the walls of Chittorgarh fort after 58 days of siege.
Sahidas, heading the Chundawats of Salumbar stood as the first line of defence at his post “gate of the sun”. When Sahidas fell, the command was taken over by Putta of Kailwa. Finally, on the night of 22 February 1568, the Mughals were able to breach the walls at several locations simultaneously to begin a coordinated assault. In the ensuing battle, Akbar was able to kill the Rajput commander, Jaimal, with a musket shot. The fatal Jauhar (third jauhar of chittor) was commanded, 8,000 Rajput soldiers ate their last beera together and prepared for Saka, while women folk prepared for jauhar.
The Mughal army killed all the Rajputs who walked out the fort. Akbar entered Chittorgarh and massacred around 30,000 of its inhabitants. As per Col. Tod Akbar measured the success of this conquest by quantity of zinar taken from necks of rajputs, 74 & 1/2 half mans. To eternise the memory of this disaster, the numerals 74.5 are accursed and labelled as sins of the slaughter of chittor.
The fort of Chittor was assigned to Khwaja Abdul Majid Asaf Khan. However, Udai Singh II, found refugee with Gohil in the forests of Rajpipili & Girwa in aravalli. He continued to remain at large until his death four years later. Akbar did not stop at Chittor and started marching towards the fort of Ranthambore.
However, Akbar acknowledged the bravery & courage of Jaimal & Putta and erected statutes of Rao Jaimal and Patta, mounted on a pair of black marble elephants, outside outside one of the gates of Fatehpur Sikri, Agra. Some time later the statutes were moved to the Delhi Gate at the Red Fort, where they are still.
The conquest of Chittor was quite significant for Akbar as soon after this victory almost all important states of Rajputana such as Jodhpur, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Bundi, Sirohi and Dungarpur accepted the overlordship of Akbar.
Another hero in this battle was: Isar Das Chauhan
Akbar had sent elephants to spread rampage and destruction in the battle-field. Initially, 50 and then about 300 elephants armed with swords in their trunks were let loose in the battle-field. As Abu’l Fazl records, Isar Das Chauhan – fought an elephant with a bare knife. He took hold of it’s tusk and stabbed it with a dagger and asked him to “convey Isar Das’s regards to Akbar” in the following words – “Be good enough to convey my respects to your world adorning appreciator of merit”