The Battle of Umberkhind took place on February 3, 1661 in the Sahyadri mountain range near Pen, Maharashtra, India. The war was fought between the Maratha army led by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the Mughal Empire’s General Kartalab Khan. The Mughal armies were decisively defeated by the Marathas.
This was an outstanding example of guerrilla warfare. Shahista Khan dispatched Kartalab Khan and Rai Bagan to assault Rajgad Fort on the orders of Aurangzeb. The men of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj came across them in the Umberkhind forest, which was located in the mountains.
Following Aurangzeb’s accession to the throne in 1659, he appointed Shaista Khan as viceroy of the Deccan and dispatched a huge Mughal army to implement the Mughal treaty with the Adilshahi of Bijapur.
This region, however, was fiercely contested by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, a Maratha ruler who gained notoriety after killing an Adilshahi general, Afzal Khan, in 1659. Shaista Khan arrived in Aurangabad in January 1660 and advanced rapidly, capturing Pune, the capital of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s kingdom.
After hard combat with the Marathas, he also took the forts of Chakan and Kalyan, as well as the north Konkan. The Marathas were forbidden from entering Pune. Shaista Khan’s campaign was entrusted to Kartalab Khan and Rai Bagan. Kartalab Khan and Rai Bagan were dispatched by Shaista Khan to capture Rajgad Fort. As a result, they set out with 20,000 troops for each of them.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj wanted Kartalab and Rai Bagan (Royal Tigress), the wife of Deshmukh of Mahur Sarkar of Berar Subah Raje Udaram, to join Umberkhind so that they would be easy prey for his guerilla tactics. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s men began blowing horns as the Mughals approached Umberkhind, a 15-mile passage.
The Mughal army as a whole was shocked. The Marathas then launched an arrow bombardment against the Mughal Army. Mughal soldiers like Kartalab Khan and Rai Bagan tried to retaliate, but the forest was so thick and the Maratha Army was so quick that the Mughals couldn’t see the enemy.
Mughal soldiers were being killed by arrows and swords without even seeing the enemy or knowing where to aim. A significant number of Mughal soldiers perished as a result of this. Kartalab Khan was then told by Rai Bagan to surrender himself to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and beg for mercy. “You made a mistake by putting the whole army in the lion’s jaw,” she said. The lion is Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. You should not have assaulted Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in this manner. You must now surrender yourself to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in order to save these dying soldiers.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, unlike the Mughals, grants amnesty to all who surrender.” The fight lasted about an hour and a half. Then, on the advice of Rai Bagan, Kartalab Khan dispatched soldiers bearing a white flag of truce. They yelled “truce, truce!” and were encircled by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s men within a minute. Kartalab Khan was then allowed to return on the condition of paying a large ransom and surrendering all of their weapons. If the Mughals returned, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj stationed Netaji Palkar in Umberkhind to keep an eye on them.