1576: Battle of Haldighati- Akbar vs Maharana Pratap

Battle of Haldighati, Maharana Pratap, Chetak, Akbar

The Battle of Haldighati was a battle fought on 18 June 1576 between Maharana Pratap and the Mughal emperor Akbar’s forces. While technically the mughals won the battle but it was futile one as they failed to capture Pratap, who continued the war and was able to take back most of the lost areas.

Background of Battle of Haldighati

After losing Chittor in siege of 1567, Udai Singh took refuge in forest of Rajpipili.  In 1572, Rana Udai Singh died and after a brief war of succession Rana Pratap succeeded as the ruler of Mewar at Gogunda. Akbar dispatched a series of diplomatic embassies to Pratap, asking the Rajput king to become his vassal.

  • In 1572, the first emissary sent was Jalal Khan Qurchi.   He failed to convince Pratap to accept the overlordship of the Mughals and returned disappointed.
  • Next in June 1573, Raja Man Singh of Amer was sent by Akbar. Although he was courteously received by Rana Pratap but he also failed to convince.
  • In Oct. 1573,  Akbar made another attempt and dispatched Raja Bhagwant Das, the Kachhwaha chief and the leading Rajput noble at the Mughal court. Bhagwant Das was more successful then his predecessors Pratap agreed agreed to send his son Amar Singh(Umra) to Mughal court. But Pratap did not agree to personal presence at the mughal court, which was, deemed unsatisfactory by Akbar.
  • A final emissary, Todar Mal, was  also sent to Mewar but returned without any favourable outcome.

With all diplomatic options having no result, war was getting inevitable.

Battle of Haldighati

Akbar deputed Raja Man Singh against Maharana Pratap, who had set up the capital at Kumbhalgarh from Gogunda. Raja Man Singh setup his base at Mandalgarh. On 18th of June 1576, three hours after the sunrise the battle commenced at Haldighati, around 23 kms north of Gogunda.

Rana Pratap was assisted by Hakim Khan Sur  of Suri dynasty, Bhim Singh of Dodia, Ramdas Rathor (son of Jaimal, who defended Chittor), Bida Mana and his clansmen of Jhala.

However, the forces of Rana Mewar were outnumbered against the imperial mughal forces and the Mughal forces defeated Rana Pratap in the battle of Haldighati. Rana Pratap however, escaped from the battle field and took shelter at Koliyari a hilly town in the west of Gogunda (southern Mewar).

Consequences of Battle of Haldighati

The loss in battle of haldighati was followed by capture of castles of Gogunda, Kumbhalgarh & Udaipur by Mughals. However, Rana was still at large in Aravalli’s and vowed to continue his struggle for independence. By 1579,  focus of Mughals shifted to other parts of the empire and seizing opportunities one by one, Maharana Pratap was able to recover much of the lost territory in the western parts of his kingdom. Chittor, continued to be in Mughal control.

Trivia: Battle of Haldighati

  • When tide of the battle shifted and Rana Pratap found himself wounded by arrow and spear. Bida Jhala seized the royal umbrella from his commander and charged at the Mughals, claiming to be the Rana himself. His sacrifice, and that of 350 other soldiers who stayed behind and fought to buy time, allowed their Rana and the remnants of their army to escape.