1680: Battle of Udaipur and Aravalli Hills
In 1680, Mughal ruler Aurangzeb attacked Mewar, result of which, multiple battles took place in Aravalli region, major being battle of Udaipur. While Aurangzeb plundered the city of Udaipur destroying temples & forts, eventually, Rana Raj Singh of Mewar and Durga Das Rathore were able to defeat the enemy.
Background of the Battles of Aravalli Hills
Rana Raj Singh I mounted the throne of Mewar in 1654 A.D. (Wikipedia 1652). He was the maternal uncle of Ajit Singh of Marwar and promised to be the guardian of Ajit Singh’s rights. Aurangzeb was engaged in a relentless battle against Durgadas Rathore of Marwar and followed a policy of fanatical and impolitic conduct. Subsequently, he promulgated the famous edict, Jizya, against the whole Hindu race. This cemented into one compact union all who cherished either patriotism or religion. Rana Raj Singh I also came against the emperor and Rathores & Sisodias united against the tyrant.
Battle of Udaipur & Aravalli Hills
The Rathores of Jodhpur forged an alliance with the neighbouring Rajput state of Mewar (Sisodia clan). Maharana Raj Singh of Mewar withdrew his army to the western portion of his kingdom, marked by the rugged Aravalli hills and secured by numerous hill-forts.
Aurangzeb attacked the capital of Mewar, Udaipur. However, Rana Raj Singh safely escorted the citizens to the aravalli hills but 63 temples in and around Udaipur were plundered and Aurangzeb’s general Taj Khan burned down many villages. The Mughal army was eventually starved out of Mewar because of the scorched earth techniques and guerrilla warfare used by the Rana.
In the second half of 1680, after several months of such setbacks, Aurangzeb decided on an all-out offensive. Niccolao Manucci, an Italian gunner in the Mughal army, says: “for this campaign, Aurangzeb put in pledge the whole of his kingdom.” Aurangzeb called prince Akber from Bengal province, Azim from Kabul & Mauzum from Deccan. With this formidable army Aurangzeb entered Mewar and obtained Chittorgarh, Mandelgarh, Maundsaur without much difficulty.
Rana Raj Singh, assisted by his son Jai Singh, prepared for defence in passes of Girwa. Aurangzeb marched till Debari but instead of enetering the valley through narrow George, halted and sent 50,000 men under prince Akbar directly to capital Udaipur. However, soon prince Akber was cutoff from Aurangzeb’s main army and he was forced to retreat. The Mughals lost their artillery effectiveness while being dragged around the rugged hills and the Rajputs under Durgadas Rathore and Rana Raj Singh defeated both Azim & Muazzam.