War Between: Hindu Rajputs Vs Mughal Forces
Battle Leaders: Jaimal Meratia (Rajput's) Vs Akbar (Mughal's)
Battlefield: Chittorgarh Fort, Bharatpur District, Rajasthan, Bharat (India)
Weapons Used: Cannons, Swords, Armour, Muskets, Elephants
Once again Mughal forces under the command of Akbar had their eye on expanding their territory so they could secure the ports of Gujarat, to the West for future raids. Akbar needed cooperation from the Rajputs and some did heed. But the Kingdom of Melwar stood a proud Hindu state, its leader Udai Singh, the Maharana of Melwar was happy to cooperate but never to bow his head to Akbar. This along with the fact that Udai Singh had given refuge to some of Akbar's foes really wound up the Mughal King. Maharana Udai Singh had decided to retreat from the fortress leaving some 9,000 troops behind to protect the fortress and its people.
On the morning of 20th of October, 1567 Akbars army showed up and made an encampment near the fort and began preparations. The Mughals began a direct attack at first, but the Fort proved to be very strong and they lost many men. Akbar realised the only way in was to weaken its defensive walls or somehow get under them. He tasked an army of 5,000 engineers, carpenters and masons to construct trenches and mines. Although sustaining innumerable losses the Mughals were successful building 2 mines and one trench.
The fort garrison leader believing all hope is lost actually offered to surrender to the Mughals, but Akbar wanted the surrender of Udai Singh and himself. 58 days into the siege, the walls were finally breached as 2 mines were exploded, costing the Mughals another 200 men. The brave Rajputs managed to seal up the breaches and breathed a short sigh of relief. Akbar would now bring his siege cannon into use, heavy cannons had previously had little effect on the Forts walls, which towered above on a 152 foot hill, so Akbar had a mound constructed to raise them. It is said that each of his men were offered a gold coin to place a handful of dirt on the mound. Most would never make it given the volley of Rajput arrows and shots. Finally on 22nd February, 1568 Akbar managed to breach the walls at several places and killed the Rajput commander Jaimal Meratia and reduce the morale of the surviving defenders. The Rajputs fought till the very end, but the 1,000 or so Musketeers made an escape.
Then came the slaughter of all 8,00 Rajput in hand to hand combat against the larger Mughal forces. Fighting until their deaths for the 40,000 innocent civilians remaining in the fort. Noble women set themselves on fire or threw themselves into wells, rather than be raped and dishonoured by the Mughal troops. It is said up to 25,000 were butchered by the savage Mughals in preceding days.
"Rising pillars of smoke soon signalled the rite of jauhar as the Rajputs killed their families and prepared to die in a supreme sacrifice. In a day filled with hand-to-hand struggles until virtually all the defenders died. The Mughal troops slaughtered another 20-25,000 ordinary persons, inhabitants of the town and peasants from the surrounding area on the grounds that they had actively helped in the resistance."
John F. Richards Book, The Mughal Empire
Hand Prints of the Women that committed 'Jauhar' and burnt themselves rather than be raped
9,000 Total Forces
8,000 Hindu Rajputs
40,000 Non Combatant Peasants, made up men, women & children
8,000 Hindu Rajputs
20,000 to 30,000 Non Combatants
Unknown Total Forces
Unknown but Huge