Battle of Haldighati and Khanwa: Did Rajput win


Battle of Haldighati is one the most important battles ever fought in Rajputana. The battle was fought between Maharana Pratap of Mewar and the armed forces of Mughal emperor Akbar in June 1576. The leading cause of the battle was a denial of submission to Mughals by Maharana Pratap. Till today the result of the battle is unknown. The battle was declared inconclusive as neither Mughals won nor Mewar lost.

Battle of Haldighati depicting Maharana Pratap fighting

Akbar wanted to expand his empire throughout India. To do so, he started allying with Rajput by marrying their daughters. The battle was inevitable as Akbar sent many of his men including Man Singh I, Todar Mal, one of the nine gems, but still, Maharana refused to the terms of surrender.

Army Strength

Mughals outnumbered the Rajputs as with the inclusion of alliances in Mughal, the army constituted of 80,000 men while with support of Afghans and Bhils, the Rajput army consisted of 20,000 men. Mughal forces were led by Asaf Khan I and Man Singh I while Rajputs were led by Maharana Pratap himself.

Heroic Chetak in Battle of Haldighati

battle of haldighati maharana pratap on chetak fighting against mughals

At the battlefield, a heroic incident took place Maharana Pratap’s horse Chetak did something unbelievable. To kill Man Singh I, Maharana Pratap with his horse chetak, went closer to him. Man Singh was on an elephant, Chetak jumped upon the elephant while Maharana aimed for Man Singh. He threw his spear with all his power but missed the target.

Chetak was badly injured losing one of his leg from the sword, Maharana Pratap was also badly injured in the battlefield. One of his soldiers asked Maharana Pratap to give away his crown to him as then Maharana Pratap could easily escape. Chetak took his master away from Haldighati to a safe place where Mughals were out of reach. Chetak did succeed in saving his master’s life but sacrificed himself in doing so.

Result of the Battle of Haldighati

Maharana Pratap photo- Rajput king

The battle was inconclusive as Maharana Pratap and Akbar were still alive, and the victory of one was still uncertain. Maharana Pratap survived months in Jungles and attacked the Mughal forces again with the tribal king Raja Punja Bhil and Bhamashah.

Conclusion of Battle of Haldighati

The battle of Haldighati turned out to be a testimony that animals are the most generous and loyal friends of humans. The battle was more Hindu versus Muslim than Maharana Pratap versus Akbar. The battle outcome would have been different if the other Rajputs, who were
with Akbar, had supported Maharana Pratap.

The battlefield Haldighati on the day of battle became Lalghati as there was an immense loss of human life and blood was all over the field. The life of the common Rajputs of Chittorgarh, who supported Maharana Pratap, became miserable as they had to leave their homeland.

Many Rajputs left in jungles, and their survival became very difficult. Unavailability of food was the major concern for Rajputs till they managed somehow. They were supported by the tribal people.

To know more – Who won in Battle of Haldighati


The battle was fought between Rajput forces and Mughals. The Rajput forces were led by Rana Sanga and Mughal forces led by Babur. After the first battle of Panipat, it was evident that Babur was threatened by the alliances of the Rajputs and Afghans.

battle of khanwa between rajputs and mughals

Army strength

The armed forces of Mughals were well experienced as they had fought 9-10 wars previously. But Rana Sanga had the support of many Rajputs and Afghans. Rana Sanga outnumbered the army of Mughals by a ratio of 5:1. Babur waited for the army of Rana Sanga to lead the initial attack. The army of Mughals was well-coordinated, and they followed the same strategy of battle as in Panipat.

The defeat of Rajputs in Battle of Khanwa

The Rajputs attacked the center but were unsuccessful as there was a lack of coordination within the allied forces. Rana Sanga was wounded on the battlefield, but he still urged to fight. It is also believed that one of his own men poisoned him. The Rajput were defeated and ultimately Mughals turned out victorious.

Cause of Defeat

The main cause of defeat was the advanced artillery of Mughals, and Babur was a great diplomat. Moreover, the Mughal army was well disciplined. Babur chopped the head of Rajputs and made up a pile of chopped heads. This incident established fear in every part of northern India. The superiority of Rajputs declined, and Afghans also lost their power.

Conclusion of Battle of Khanwa

The battle laid the foundation stone of Mughal rule in India. If Rana Sanga could hold his nerves and would have led the attack patiently, then today, the Mughal rule wouldn’t have been established in India. Taj Mahal, Agra forts, and many others wouldn’t have been present now.

Statue of Chetak and Maharana Pratap in Udaipur
Chetak – Wikipedia

The battle shaped Indian history entirely. The common people of India and Afghans lived in fear of Mughals, and nobody questioned the taxation system. The Mughals thus gained control not only on the lands but also on the people of India. Many other rulers surrendered due to fear of miserable death.

If you are interested in Indian History and Battles then check out other posts on Battles

Battle of Plassey and Buxar, Battle of Panipat



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